Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.
 • Skincare  • Skincare Reviews  • Should I Wash My Face Before or After Steaming (or Both)?
Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Should I Wash My Face Before or After Steaming (or Both)?

Share the love!
Main image – Jade/Adobe

Are there many things better than the feeling you get from reviving skin that’s tired and dull (thanks, late nights in the office) and transforming it into glowing perfection with your own at-home facial?

Thought not.

Aside from slathering on the masks and acids though, steaming is one of *the* best ways to achieve a celeb-like radiance pretty fast.

That’s because facial steaming increases blood circulation, loosens clogged pores and improves hydration (at the same time as being pretty relaxing).  A beauty win.

If you’ve never done it before though you might not know where to start, how to safely steam and what skincare you need to do around steaming to get the best results.

That’s why we’ve asked experts aesthetician Amber Shal and beauty expert Ian Michael Crumm to answer your most common skincare related steaming questions to get skin glowing in time for your summer vacay.

Let’s dive in, starting with whether you should be cleansing your skin before or after steaming.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – AnnaSchlosser/Adobe


Should I wash my face after steaming: The short answer

This one’s easy.  In short; you should definitely be cleansing your face before steaming.  Whether you clean it afterwards too though is entirely a matter of choice.

If you’re worried about all that sweat being left on your face after steaming then you can either splash your face with lukewarm water, use a toner to remove any residual sweat and dirt, or do another gentle cleanse.

Ian tells us, “generally, it’s best to cleanse your face before steaming. Cleansing your face beforehand helps remove any makeup, dirt, or impurities from the surface, allowing the steam to penetrate your pores more effectively and provide a deeper cleanse.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – MarinaKaiser/Adobe


“After steaming and cleansing a second time, you can continue with your regular skincare routine, such as applying toner, serums, and moisturiser.”

Just be careful not to overdo it with harsh cleansers (which can irritate skin and ultimately nix your glow) and avoid ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids around steaming.  The combination of heat and these strong actives can easily cause redness and dryness.

Instead, stick to a gentle cleanser suited to your skin type.


The benefits of facial steaming

But before you go full steam ahead (yes, we went there), let’s dig a bit deeper into exactly why you might like to try steaming.

Although it’s been around for literally centuries (we’re looking at you, Romans), facial steaming has particularly taken the beauty world by storm in the last few years, with TikTok tutorials and high-end spas alike touting its benefits.

And that’s partly down to it being easy enough for anyone to do at home and partly because it really does help to tackle a whole series of skin issues.

As Amber explains, “steaming softens the skin and opens pores, and a few benefits of facial steaming include increasing circulation and hydration.

“After you steam, your pores open up, which makes them more receptive to your other products.”

Take a look at some of our favourite benefits of facial steaming.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Tatyana/Adobe


Increased blood flow

Facial steaming increases blood flow, helping with a brighter complexion and generally healthier-looking skin. 


Unclog pores

Clogged pores are a major cause of acne, breakouts and blackheads. Facial steaming helps to relax your pores, which makes it easy to remove dirt.  The hot steam also loosens hardened sebum and dirt, making it easier to extract and keep skin clear.

For more ideas on how to safely tackle acne, take a look at our interview with celebrity dermatologist Dr Anthony Rossi MD.


Better product absorption

When our skin has build-up or textured areas, it can be difficult for products to stick or absorb past the outer layer. After steaming, your skin is softer and more receptive to product absorption, which is crucial for dehydrated skin.

Medical News Today backs this up, saying that “increasing the temperature of the skin can allow the components of creams, serums, and masks to absorb further across the skin barrier. The clinical benefits of applying skincare products to warm skin are uncertain.”


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Deidre/Adobe


Hydrate skin

Hot steam helps add extra hydration to dry skin and can bring back some of the amino acids that our sebaceous glands produce to maintain skin health.



You might not know it but all those stuffy noses may be more than just annoying.  Blocked sinuses can actually increase facial puffiness but steam can help to loosen the fluid blocking your sinuses, potentially reducing puffiness at the same time.

Bye bye, under eye bags!



Finally, facial steaming can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing! Taking time out of your day to treat yourself to a little self-care never hurts, and facial steaming can be a great way to unwind (particularly if you involve some aromatherapy like lavender or orange).

“Many people describe feeling calm and relaxed when using facial steamers. People use steam rooms in gyms and spas to relieve stress.

“Many natural hot springs are found across North America and around the world. People visit hot springs and soak in the thermal baths to relax,” says Medical News Today.

Our own – albeit small – hot spring at home? Sign us up!


What is facial steaming?

As Amber explains, “facial steaming is exactly what it sounds like. It involves exposing the skin on your face to steam produced by water.”

The general idea is to create steam from hot water (just below boiling) and keep your face near to the source of it (not too near, keep at least 30 centimetres back) for up to 10 minutes at a time.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Dimid/Adobe


Steaming isn’t always limited to the face too, as people have used steam baths and saunas to benefit their skin and overall well-being for years.

Facial steaming takes the same concept and applies it to the face. This process lasers in on the delicate skin of your face, allowing for more intense hydration.


How to steam your face

An at-home facial steaming session doesn’t have to stick to one set of rules and there are a few different ways you can create a truly personalised experience.

Below are our favourite ways to steam your skin.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Adobe


Facial steaming with hot water


Step1: Cleanse your skin to make sure it is free of dirt and makeup before you start your session.


Step 2: Boil a small pot of one or two cups of water or use the microwave to heat up a bowl of water. Take the hot water off the stove and carefully pour it into a bowl.


Step 3: Add any essential oils, dried herbs, or witch hazel that you want to add to your steaming session.


Step 4: Place your face over the bowl of hot water and cover your head with a clean towel to create a steam room effect.


Step 5: Keep your head over the bowl for five to ten minutes and let the warm steam spread over your skin.


Step 6: When you’re finished, pat your face with a clean towel and apply any masks or other skin care products. You can cleanse and tone your skin afterwards if you really like- just make sure not to overdo the cleansing.



Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – NewAfrica/Adobe


Using a steamer

There are some great steamers online and they don’t have to be particularly expensive to work well.


Step 1: Start off by cleansing your skin to remove dirt and makeup


Step 2: Fill the water tank with distilled water (trust us, it’s easier just to use distilled water as all that calcium in your tap water can clog your machine).


Step 3: Follow your machine’s instructions on exactly where to position your face and for how long.


Step 4: Pat skin down and finish with your skincare routine.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – LightfieldStudios/Adobe


A steam room or hot shower

Step 1: Start off by cleansing your skin to remove dirt and makeup.


Step 2: Depending on the type of steam room or hot shower you have, adjust the temperature to a comfortable setting.


Step 3: Sit in the steam room or stand in the hot shower for 5-10 minutes so the steam can open up your pores and hydrate your skin.


Step 4: When you are done steaming, remove excess water from your skin with a clean towel and apply any masks or other serums. Lastly, finish your routine by cleansing and toning your face to remove any product residue and lock in moisture.


Steaming acne-prone skin

Facial steaming can be an effective way to clear acne-prone skin. This is because steam can help your products penetrate more deeply and declog pores.

Be conscious that steaming too often can cause irritation for some, which in turn can lead to more breakouts, so it’s best to add this treatment to your routine slowly if your skin is prone to acne.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Jade/Adobe


Steaming dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin is one of the types most likely to benefit from facial steaming as the hot steam can seriously help to increase skin hydration levels and help moisturisers and other products to penetrate deeper.

Over-steaming can lead to excessive dryness though, so it’s important to slowly incorporate it into your routine and find a balance that works for your skin.


Sensitive skin types

Sadly this is one of those treatments that sensitive, rosacea and eczema-prone skin type shouldn’t do since steaming can irritate and dry out already-impaired skin.


How long should I steam my face?

Everyone’s facial steaming session will be different depending on their skin type and goals. Generally, your session should last between five to ten minutes, with your face hovering near the steam for the entire duration.

Steaming for longer risks of over-drying the skin or causing redness and irritation. To determine what time works best for you, start with five minutes and increase or decrease the time accordingly based on how you feel and your skin reacts.


What skincare should I do before steaming my face?

While you don’t have to do your complete skincare routine before steaming, it is important to cleanse then exfoliate your skin for the best results. If not, you risk mixing sweat with dirt, oil and makeup and opening yourself up to more breakouts.

Use a gentle but effective cleanser, like an oil-based one, to really remove dirt and makeup before you start.  Double cleanse if you feel skin still isn’t clean after a first wash.

When it comes to exfoliating, either use gentle physical scrub (no harsh beads, please) or a chemical exfoliator like glycolic acid or lactic acid to remove dead skin cells.


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Mafffi/Adobe


What should I do after steaming?

After steaming your face, keeping your skin hydrated and protected is important.

If you’re worried about sweat, or think your skin might still have some dirt or makeup after steaming, cleanse again (go gentle!), or splash with water or toner.

Amber explaind, “after you steam, your pores open up, which makes them more receptive to your other products.

“If steaming your face during the day, be sure to follow your skincare regime with SPF. If steaming your face in the evening, be sure to apply an evening skincare regimen.”


Wait, should I wash my face after steaming?

Image – Puhhha/Adobe


This means you can make the most of you post-steam skin’s receptiveness by either applying a mask or moving straight to the serums and moisturisers.

Clay masks in particular are a fun way to treat your skin after steaming. Choose one that is packed with hydrating and brightening ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin if you’re dehydrated or go for a gently detoxing clay mask if you’re breakout prone.

Next, move on to your any serums before applying a moisturiser to lock in all that new hydration.

Look for products that contain humectants (ingredients which attract moisture from the air and bind it to your skin) ingredients like hyaluronic acid, as well as emollients (like shea butter) to moisturise.

The skincare products you use can be just as influential on the results you get from facial steaming as the steam itself so choose well.


Can I steam my face every day?

Facial steaming is such a relaxing skin treatment that indulging in a session every day can feel tempting but it’s seriously not a good idea.

For most skin types, it’s best to keep steaming to once or twice a week because frequent steaming can dry out and irritate skin, leading to dehydration or even worsening skin conditions like eczema or rosacea.


Are there any risks with steaming my face?

While facial steaming is a generally safe skincare treatment, there are some risks it’s important to be aware of.

As we discussed above, those with sensitive skin or certain conditions may want to exercise caution when adding steaming to their routine. Even if you’re only using water and it seems harmless, side effects like dryness, excess redness, and inflammation can occur.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the water temperature and steam setting used when steaming, as too much heat can lead to irritation or even burning. It’s best to start with a low setting and increase the temperature slowly. Steaming should never be uncomfortable or painful!

Finally, take basic safety precautions- you are working with nearly boiling water and/or electricity, after all.

Make sure to place your steamer or bowl on a flat, stable surface so it can’t tip over.  Be extremely careful when handling hot water, and don’t ever handle electrical goods with wet hands.

Finally, keep your eyes closed while steaming to avoid irritating them and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions if using a facial steamer.


The takeaway

If you’re looking for a way to help your skin feel hydrated while also taking some relaxation time for yourself, facial steaming is a great option.

It’s a relatively simple process that can have big rewards for your complexion. It’s easy to set up, doesn’t require a big investment, and can be used for all skin types.

Remember to start slowly and keep an eye out for any adverse reactions like inflammation, excess redness, or dryness.

If any of these symptoms occur, stop steaming and visit your dermatologist if they continue for more than a few days.

Keep treatments to once or twice per week and choose products that hydrate and nourish your skin to help lock in benefits.

Wash your face before each session, and enjoy the results of healthy, glowing skin!


Meet the experts

Amber Shal is an aesthetician and the founder of day spa Floral Spa and Aesthetic Bar, specialising in everything from facials to massages and injectables.


Ian Michael Crumm is a celebrity aesthetician and co-host of the BeautyCurious podcast with Dr. Elyse Love.

Ian is known for his passion for skincare and sun safety and is actively involved in philanthropic efforts to promote skin cancer awareness, and believes that #ProtectedSkinWins.



Get Glowing!

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and receive your Glowing Skin Checklist: a guide to your dewiest skin ever!

Share the love!


Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.