In the time of COVID, enjoying a little self care in the comfort of your own home is not just a luxury—it’s an essential. An easy way to spoil yourself (and do your skin some serious favors) is with the best facial steamer. When turned on, these little doohickeys produce steam by evaporating water from their built-in tanks to raise your skin’s temperature and loosen gunk in your pores, allowing you to unclog them faster. Some of these steamers even double as working room humidifiers, towel warmers or aromatherapy diffusers.
WHAT DOES A FACIAL STEAMER DO?
A facial steamer has a lot of benefits for your skin. The first, and most obvious, is that the heat from the steam can loosen the excess dirt and dead skin building in your pores, making it easier to clear away. Heat has also been shown to improve the permeability of one’s complexion, so all your best tinctures and salves are likely to reach far deeper into your epidermis after a steam than they otherwise might have.
On a cellular level, the heat from the steam can raise your internal temperature, and in turn, increase your blood circulation. That’s important, because doing so causes your face to be flooded with nutrient-rich oxygen to feed your new cells. As if all of that wasn’t impressive enough, steam increases oil production (which in turn helps to keep your face hydrated), feels great and can even aid in lessening sinus congestion.
HOW TO USE A FACIAL STEAMER
While specific instructions will vary from steamer to steamer, the general premise is the same. You’ll first want to fill the device’s water tank to the appropriate fill line. From there, you can simply place your machine on a flat surface and turn it on. You’ll want to be sure to position your face roughly 8 to 12 inches away from the gadget to ensure you don’t get burned. (Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of a steamer—steam transfers more heat than boiling water because of the addition of latent condensation, which means there’s potential for an even more serious injury when mishandled.)
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU USE A FACIAL STEAMER?
It is important to avoid using a facial steamer too frequently, as it can ultimately dry your complexion out and cause inflammation. Worse still, it can cause overheating if used too often. You can indulge in this kind of steam bath for about nine to 10 minutes once a week, taking care to keep your eyes closed.
IS STEAMING GOOD FOR ACNE?
Facial steaming is a multipurpose solution that can generally be used on any type of skin. People who have skin that is acne-prone may benefit even more from the use of a facial steamer. This is because the steam helps to soften and loosen the dirt that collects on the skin. As such, steamers can be highly effective at unclogging pores and removing remaining debris that accumulates there.
SHOULD I WASH MY FACE AFTER STEAMING?
The process of steaming the face causes oils, debris and dirt to soften. Thus, once the steaming session is over, it is important that you wash your face with lukewarm water to effectively help remove the softened substances from your skin and washes away any oils created in the process. This ensures these oils do not harden on your skin again. Afterwards, you should apply your favorite moisturizing cream or serum while your pores are still permeable for deeper penetration.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FACIAL STEAMER AND A HUMIDIFIER?
A facial steamer and humidifier have some features that make the two look very similar. Both of these devices use water, often alongside some oils, to produce a fine mist. There is a major difference between the two, however. The primary goal of a humidifier is to add more moisture to the entire room. The mist is spread throughout the air to ensure everyone in the area can benefit from its hydration. A facial steamer also creates a mist, but the mist is pushed out of a smaller hole and only moves in one direction. This creates a more targeted and concentrated stream of mist that is sprayed onto the face directly without affecting the air around you.
CAN I USE TAP WATER IN MY FACE STEAMER?
While instructions will vary based on the facial steamer you use, distilled water is often favored, as water is never heated to the point of boiling in these devices. This means pathogens, heavy metals and other contaminants may remain present in the tap water, so it’s a better idea to rather use purified or filtered water in the process.
You can indulge in this kind of steam bath for about nine to 10 minutes, two to three times a week, taking care to keep your eyes closed. Afterwards, it’s a good idea to rinse your skin with lukewarm water and apply your favorite moisturizing cream or serum while your pores are still open for deeper penetration.