Picture yourself in a Roman bath: soft towels, thick steam, massages with oil, and plenty of Roman Senators luxuriating in the warmth all around you. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Thankfully, you can replicate the effect of these ancient luxuries in the cheap, and sans time-travel machine.
The mild heat of a facial sauna increases circulation to your face, and the increased blood flow brings skin-friendly nutrients with it. Also, the warm, moist steam can bring relief if you’re suffering from sinus problems or allergies, by clearing up stuffiness and easing discomfort. Steam away!
How It Works
Facial saunas utilize one simple ingredient: steam. The steam boosts circulation to the skin (you’ll notice that your face will be glowing and flushed after a sauna treatment) and loosens the nasty gunk trapped inside your pores. According to a study published in Dermatology, regular saunas reduced sebum content on the foreheads of study participants. Since excess sebum and clogged pores are chief culprits when it comes to acne, a facial sauna may just be your new best friend.
You can buy a facial sauna system at beauty supply stores or online, and most will set you back about $20 to $30. These systems work by emitting warm steam out of a large, potlike structure. But let’s be honest, you can achieve the same effect with a pot of boiling water and a towel. All you need is steam.
Steam it Up
Boil a pot of water. While you’re waiting for things to heat up, clean your face and pull your hair back into a ponytail, using a headband to keep extra strands from sticking to your forehead. When the water is boiling, drape a towel over your head and bend over the pot or system at a comfortable distance, letting the towel trap the steam. Breathe deeply and relax for about 15 minutes, letting the steam loosen up your pores and facial muscles. If the steam feels too hot, move back until the experience is comfortable.
Give your facial sauna an acne-fighting boost by sprinkling in a few drops of essential oils as the water heats up. Tea tree and rosewood oil are great for oily skin. For sensitive and inflamed acne, add lavender, thyme or bergamot. You can find these hippie-friendly acne fighters online or at most health food stores. (Whole Foods has a great selection.)
After steaming, gently exfoliate your skin with your favorite scrub or a gentle washcloth. Splash your face with cool water to close up pores. Finally, massage a light, noncomedogenic moisturizer across your face.
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