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Should You Steam Your Skin?

24 July, 2022 - 07:09am by - Head Pixie | 12 Comments

by BR Kellie

The nineties were a wild time in Beautyland. Plucking your brows into oblivion was big. Caking your face in foundation was the only way we knew how to apply the stuff. And when it came to skincare, if you weren't stripping your skin with harsh cleansers in order to avoid acne, you were throwing your head over a bowl of boiling hot steaming water in order to open up the pores before a squeezing session. The things we did wrong... let me count the ways. But was it all really that bad? Yes, overplucking had irreversible effects, and stripping your skin resulted in more breakouts... But was steaming the WORST thing we could have done? 

You see, recently I came across a facial steamer that my husband has been known to use before doing voicework as it helps relax the vocal chords, and a long-distant pre-child memory reminded me that the beauty therapist I'd see for facials would set a steamer on my face before going in with cleansers and serums and exfoliants and moisturisers, so I couldn't help but wonder... is there still a place for getting your steam on in modern BeautyLand? There was one way to find out, and that was to get my pros and cons on...

The Pros

A gentle ten minute steam using hot (not boiling) water can open up your pores and loosen any debris that's gunked up in there so that when you go in with a cleanser it's more easily removed. It also helps any serums you use penetrate more deeply.

Steaming helps with blood circulation, which gives the skin a lovely post-steam glow. Increased circulation can also help promote the production of collagen and elastin, which can result in plumper, firmer looking skin.

The sweat that's released while steaming also helps remove any toxins trapped in the skin.

Oh, and then there's the pamper factor - sitting still while breathing in and out deeply for ten minutes is an excellent way to enjoy a little chilled out me-time.

The Cons

The steam. It burns. Actually, truly, really. A steam burn is super painful, so if you're going to go the old-fashioned route of steaming over a bowl with hot water while a towel is draped over your head, don't make it boiling water - hottish/warm water is best - and be sure to test your skin's tolerance for the steam after a minute or so, so that you can be sure you're not causing damage.

Steaming too often or for too long can cause skin irriration and redness.

And, if you experience any skin condition - from severe acne to to rosacea to eczema - it is best to back away from DIY steaming and leave it to the professionals, or be sure to check with a skin professional before trying it at home.

Final Thoughts...

Like so many things, moderation is the key when it comes to facial steaming. Once a week for around ten minutes is all you need to do, and it's really important that you cleanse your face first, then follow your steam up with a good moisturiser to protect and nourish the skin's barrier.

So, do I intend to indulge every now and then when my skin is in need of a pamper session? Yes sirree - I think steamings for me! Now to convince the husband his facial steamer is considered marital property...

So, my beauties, have you steamed your skin before? What did you find to be the pros and cons of doing so? Or is steaming your skin something you're happy to skip? Get chatting below!


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7th August, 2022

I remember this from the 90s! I haven't done it since then, but luckily I do not suffer from breakouts.

5th August, 2022

In beauty therapy I steamed a client's skin and it was very satisfying getting so many black heads out of her skin and knowing she was going to see the difference

2nd August, 2022

I haven't done it myself but I've seen beauty therapists do it and it looks quite nice. I wouldn't try to do it myself at home. I have a bit of a penchant for burning myself on things so the less opportunity the better.

1st August, 2022

In my younger days lol but not now

31st July, 2022

I used to steam my skin to help with acne when I was younger and while I’m not sure if it helped I did love the feeling. I’ve done it a few times with Vicks in the water to help relieve a blocked nose (think Crocodile Dundee but with actual Vicks) and I always feel so fresh afterwards. Definitely one of those guilty beauty pleasures.

31st July, 2022

Have done the bowl of steaming water as a kid for Asthma, but not for beauty purposes.

29th July, 2022

Like a steam with a face mask

27th July, 2022

Have not tried it myself though know other people swear by it. Probably not something I'll try either.

26th July, 2022

Used to do this in the past for my sinuses and head colds , seemed to work to give a degree of relief , l think it would definitely help open pores as well Thanks

26th July, 2022

Like Annielovestoshop I do eucalyptus steams for sinuses sometimes. Bit rough on my sensitive, reactive skin though. I look and feel like a boiled tomato afterwards.

25th July, 2022

The only time I have my head over a bowl of slightly steaming water is when my sinuses are so blocked and sore, it's a great relief for a blocked nose especially with a few drops of eucalyptus oil added to the water.

25th July, 2022

Years ago I would steam my face. Firstly I'd add rosemary then boiled water and wait for it to cool. I didn't have any skin issues but found it very relaxing.


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