How Often Should You Facial Steam for Better Skin?
Main image – Jorgefuentes/Stocksy
Just imagine a luxurious spa experience right in the comfort of your own home – those fluffy towels, essential oils, relaxing music and a feeling of the ultimate in self-care.
That’s *exactly* what a facial steamer promises to deliver.
Used in various ways over generations – from simple bowls of hot water and essential oils to high-tech machines found at spas and clinics – facial steaming is often praised for soothing, hydrating and brightening the skin.
However, like most skincare products and devices, moderation is key with facial steaming.
Whether you’re a seasoned skincare aficionado or just embarking on your beauty journey, understanding the optimal usage of a facial steamer is essential for achieving that coveted, radiant complexion.
That’s why we’re going to explore the science behind this skincare marvel and provide you with practical tips on how to incorporate it into your routine.
We’ve got *all* of the expert advice on this from three skincare specialists. Introducing the owner and aesthetic consultant of Your Aesthetic Edit Sarah Tucker, nurse practitioner and regular advisor to LTG HQ Deidre ‘Dee’ Albanese, and skincare expert and celeb aesthetician Jenette Serrins, as we move through the mist on all things facial steaming.
So, prepare to unveil the secrets of this celestial skincare ally and embark on a journey to your most luminous, hydrated self!
How often can I use a facial steamer?
This one is a *bit* tricky because the frequency with which we should use certain products and devices can all depend on your skin type – and facial steaming is no exception.
Serrins tells us that “it really comes down to your skin type and lifestyle. Usually, everyone can get a good facial steam in their monthly facial detox and release anything unwanted from their pores.”
But what about advice on the type of skin you have and the frequency experts advise you to use a facial steamer?
“For someone with extremely sensitive skin, prone to redness and/or broken capillaries I would be careful not to overheat or oversteam, and never more than a few minutes at a time.
“For the oilier/acne-prone skin types, they can usually handle more steam and probably once a week,” advises Serrins.
Albanese echoes this, explaining that “the frequency of using a facial steamer can vary depending on personal preference and the specific needs of your skin. Using a facial steamer too frequently can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause dryness or irritation.
“On the other hand, not using it frequently enough may reduce the potential benefits for your skin. It’s important to note that each individual’s skin is unique, so it’s recommended to pay attention to how your skin reacts to the steaming sessions.
“If you notice any signs of irritation or excessive dryness, it’s best to reduce the frequency or discontinue using the facial steamer altogether,” she advises.
How do you facial steam?
You might be pleased to know that there actually isn’t a right or wrong way to use a facial steamer, and they’re pretty self-explanatory – bonus!
What you’ll need:
- Facial steaming device or a bowl of steaming water
- Clean towels
- Distilled water
- Essential oils (optional)
- Aftercare products such as moisturiser and serum
Here’s how to use a facial steamer in 5 super-simple steps:
1. Prepare Your Equipment
Like with most beauty treatments, you’ll want to start by gathering all the right equipment. This includes the facial steamer/bowl of hot water, distilled water, a clean towel, and any skincare products you plan to use afterwards.
2. Clean Your Face:
Before using the facial steamer, make sure your face is clean and free from makeup, oils and dirt. Use a gentle facial cleanser to wash your face and pat it dry with a clean towel.
3. Fill the Steamer with Water:
Open the water compartment of the facial steamer and fill it with distilled water. Avoid using tap water or mineral water as they can contain impurities that may damage the steamer (think limescale etc).
Turn the steamer on according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer and allow it to heat up for a few moments until it produces steam.
4. Steam Your Face:
Position your face a comfortable distance (usually around 6-8 inches) from the steamer’s nozzle. Close your eyes and relax while the steam envelops your face for about 5 – 10 minutes. You can use this time to inhale the steam gently, which can be soothing for your sinuses and respiratory system – BLISS.
Be cautious not to get too close to avoid burning yourself, and if the steam feels too hot or uncomfortable, adjust the distance.
5. Treat Your Skin:
After steaming, you can apply skincare products such as a mask, serum, or moisturiser tailored to your skincare needs.
*Remember, once you’re done, turn off the facial steamer and unplug it. Allow it to cool down for a few minutes before emptying any remaining water and cleaning the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent mineral buildup.
What are the benefits?
Serrins tells us, “With a monthly or biweekly steam session, your skin can keep a healthy glow as you are regularly ridding your skin of toxins that collect in your dermis each day.
“We are now walking through a world of microplastics. The cleanest air in the world was in the Swiss Alps, where just last year they found microplastics floating. Not to mention the pollution, dust, and dirt that we are exposed to in our daily lives – get on a healthy facial plan every 4 weeks (preferably with steam) and keep those pores clean and non-existent!”
Sounds good to us!
Tucker tells us that steaming the face can also “open up pores to make extractions easier and products applied afterwards will penetrate better.”
It’s also great for those of us who don’t regularly have the disposable cash to splash, “You don’t need to dish out big bucks for a steam facial at a spa to enjoy the benefits; it can be done at home using items you already have,” says Healthline.
And the drawbacks?
There aren’t many downsides to facial steaming, according to the experts. Tucker tells us that she “can’t think of any unless the temperature is too hot, and you end up burning your skin or causing damage to your blood vessels.”
This is something Serrins also says you should be careful of, as well as recognising that, “Steaming in excess can dehydrate you,” she says.
“If you do need to steam regularly, please make sure to drink even more water that day and put an extra layer of hydration on your face.
Having said that, anyone with more serious skin conditions, or who has been advised not to use a steamer, should avoid steaming altogether.
Should I steam my face in the morning or evening?
“You can steam either time of day, but I always prefer to do so in the evening before applying my PM regimen so that everything penetrates better,” Tucker tells us.
“Also, your skin repairs itself while you’re sleeping so this just makes good sense to let all of the ingredients do their thing. In the morning, I am often applying makeup after my skincare so steaming doesn’t really make sense.”
Albanese echoes this sentiment about steaming at night explaining that “it can help relax and soothe the skin after a long day, and prepare it for the application of other skincare products, such as serums or moisturisers.”
For those who prefer steaming in the morning, Albanese says it can “help wake up and refresh their skin for the day. Facial steaming in the morning can also help open up pores and remove any impurities that may have accumulated overnight.”
However, Serrins does say that “steaming can be done in the morning as long as you are not going to overheat throughout the day. You do not want to overstimulate your skin, as that can cause an overproduction of oil or it can strip and rob your skin of essential nutrients, knocking off your microbiome.
“I always encourage my clients to avoid hot showers or excessive sweating for the next 24 hours after steaming. This ensures that their skin stays calm, balanced and heals quickly,” she advises.
Ultimately, it’s really up to you guys!
Albanese says the main thing is to “consider your own schedule, skin type, and how your skin responds to the steaming session. Experiment with both morning and evening steaming to see which time works best for you and fits into your routine effectively.”
Steaming is the ultimate in at home pampering, taking you off into a world of mist and moisture that can hydrate skin, leaving it soft, smooth and clean.
It’s also a great way to prime your face for serums, masks, moisturisers and peptides. And, post-steaming, the aim is to give back to the skin with ingredients that nourish it and can help to lock in any hydration introduced.
You don’t want to irritate your skin though or strip it of essential natural oils, so listen to how it reacts after your first steam and tailor your routine depending on this. If you’re ever in any doubt though, just ask your dermatologist whether they think it’s suitable for your skin.
Otherwise, sit back, relax and let the steaming and self care begin!
Meet the experts
Sarah Tucker is the owner and aesthetic consultant at Your Aesthetic Edit.
Deidre ‘Dee’ Albanese is a nurse practitioner who founded Nu Glow Aesthetics in 2019. With her conservative approach to injectables, Deidre has a passion for making people look and feel like the best version of themselves.