Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Benefits of Face Steaming

Although it might sound scary, but it is a relatively simple procedure in one of the many steps in ensuring your skin reap some benefits from it. If you happened to be someone who is suffering from mild acne from time to time, the biggest benefit of facial steaming is that, it helps clear up your skin. Because the gentle heat softens the surface layer of dead skin cells called the stratum corneum, this simple process helps to free any dead cells, dirt, bacteria and other trapped gunk that could be causing that breakout that keeps showing up unexpectedly. Facial steaming actually helps and allow the skin to better absorb any other products you are using immediately after the steaming, in short it opens up the pores for cleaning while cleaning it at the same time. But if you suffer from a bad case of severe acne, steaming might make it worse on the other hand, so it's best to check with your doctor or a dermatologist first.

Face Steaming
~Image Source: Only My Health~

The gentle warm humidty from steaming may increase perspiration and at the same time stimulate blood circulation, depending on how easy it is for your skin to "sweat". To look at a human body's natural cooling system in a little more detail, our sweat consists mostly of water. But it is also mixed with a small amount of our body's waste and toxins, hence sweating literally washes these waste and toxins away. And also, increasing blood circulation in our facial skin can help to give a warm and colorful glow, all complimentary of a facial steaming. This is better than layering on layers of blush repeatedly throughout the day.

But also be aware, skin that is suffering from sweating or blood circulations, such as rosacea or fungal infections may actually do more harm than good. So, always check and check with your doctor and/or dermatologist. It helps if you are aware of your latest skin conditions in the event that you are considering facial steaming.

If you're someone like me who tend to want to save money via the do-it-yourself route, the other benefits wil be the cost and convenience of facial steaming. There are plenty of at-home facial steaming products, like the one you can buy at any Watsons outlet in Singapore, and it's less than S$30 the last time I checked. And the best part, you don't even need any special lotions just to do a DIY facial steaming in the comforts of your own home. Even if you do not have the intention to plonk down S$30 for it, as long as you have running water, a kettle, a small wash basin large enough for your face and a big towel, you're already set to start doing a facial steaming immediately.

Facial steaming might sound easy, but at the same time, there is a wrong way and a right way to go about doing it. Below are a couple of steps to steam your face without doing your skin any harm.

DIY Face Steaming
~Image Source: Afrophire Magazine~

Method 1: Steaming your Face

  • Because a basic DIY steam involves only water and your skin, it doesn't require much water
  • Simply fill up a small pot with 1 - 2 cups of water and bring it to a full boil

  • While the water is boiling, wash your face using a gentle cleanser to thoroughly remove all traces of makeup, dirt, oil and sweat that is sitting on the surface of your skin
  • It is very important that your skin is clean prior to steaming it. As your pores will open wide during the steaming process, any dirt or makeup on your skin will actually cause irritation. Avoid cleansing your face with exfoliating scrubs or using harsh soap, as this is to reduce the chance of the steam treatment further irritating your skin. Simply pat dry with a soft towel after cleansing.

  • Pour the boiling water into a bowl and let it cool for a minute or two. If you're doing the steam treatment as a follow up to any at-home spa treatment, pour the water into a big ceramic or glass bowl. The prettiness of the bowl is optional
  • If it's only a quick steam that does not involve any DIY at-home spa treatment, you can just leave the water in the pot and place the pot on a flat surface. Avoid using a plastic bowl to hold the water as you do not want small plastic molecules getting involved in your facial steam.

  • Add your favorite essential oils or herbs to make the treatment a little special and luxurious. Be sure to add extras after you've taken the water off the oil as the scents will evaporate quickly
  • If you do not have any special oils or herbs nearby, try using tea instead. Put a few herbal tea bags in the water, mint, chai, chamomile are excellent choices.

  • Place a towel over your head and drape it so that it drops down on either side of your face. This traps the steam so that it will concentrate near your skin. Place your face just close enough to feel the steam on your face, but not too close to the point where your skin feels like it's burning or you are having trouble breathing in fresh air
  • A typical steam lasts for only 10 minutes, even if you have a 5 minute facial steaming, you can still receive many benefits as if you are doing a 10 minute steam. Don't steam past 10 minutes as steam can cause the face to swell while can exacerbating acne, especially if you have acne or other known skin issues.

  • As the steam treatment leaves your pores wide open, this is the perfect time to draw out dirt and other impurities by following up your steam treatment with a clay mask suitable for your skin type. Simple apply the mask over your face in a thin layer, let sit for 10-15 minutes and wash away with warm water before patting dry with a soft towel
  • If you do not want to use a clay mask, use plain honey or a honey and oatmeal mask instead. If you do not wish to use any mask treatment, just simply wash your face with warm water after the steam treatment. Do not use a strong exfoliant or harsh soap on your skin after steaming, especially if you have acne problems. Since your face will be slightly swollen and your pores will be open, scrubbing it could cause it to become inflamed.

  • After rinsing your mask away, use a facial toner to help your pores close back up. Apply gently to your face using a cotton ball
  • Lemon juice makes a great natural toner. Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 cup of water. Apple cider vinegar is another great option. Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 cup of water.

  • Steam and heat can cause our skin to dry out, so it's the most important step to follow up after your steam treatment with a good moisturizer that is right for your skin type. Use a moisturizer that has soothing oils, such as aloe vera or butter to prevent your skin from getting too dry after the steam treatment. Let the moisturizer completely absorb into your skin before applying makeup

Method 2: Cold Relief Steam

Steams can help to clear sinuses when you have a cold, especially when your nose is so blocked that you are practically breathing through your mouth like a koi. Not a pretty sight, right? Simply use herbs such as Mint, Chamomile or Eucalyptus and/or essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Bergamot or Mint. Follow the steps in Method 1 while using the forementioned herbs or essential oils.

Method 3: Stress Relief Steam

Herbs such as Lavender, Chamomile and Lemon Verbena and essential oils such as Bergamot, Sandalwood and Passionflower are wonderful scents to help you to alleviate your stress while calming and soothing your nerves, mind and emotions. Steaming can also help soothe the soul as it is a relaxing procedure that lets your breathe in wonderful scents while you sit back and relax. Again, follow Method 1 and use the forementioned herbs and/or essential oils for a stress-relieving steam.

Method 4: Sleeping Aid Steam

If you are someone who tend to lose sleep easily, suffer from insomnia once-in-a-while, doing a facial steaming for at least 10 minutes can actually help you to relax and sleep more peacefully. You can consider using herbs such as Chamomile, Lavender, Valerian or essential oils such as Geranium Rose, Lavender, Patchouli. You can add all of the herbs/essential oils or add the the scents you referred to help you to sleep more easily. Best of all? No sleeping drugs needed.

NOTE: You should steam your face no more than once a week. If your pores are particularly clogged, you can steam your face twice a week until your condition improves. Steaming your face too often can actually lead to more breakouts.


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