03 Jan Skin Care
Steam showers assist our bodies in so many ways, from improving circulation to helping with exercise recovery. But don’t worry if you’re not a health nut or a gym rat. There is one benefit of steam showers that we can all relate to: skin care.
It’s no secret that skin care matters. The global cosmetic skin care industry is a $130 billion business that is expected to grow steadily over the next several years. From the right facial cleanser to the best SPF sunscreen, we all make choices every day to keep our skin healthy. But why is skin so important, and how can steam showers help keep our skin looking and feeling great?
Make sure your steam shower is the correct temperature! For an optimal experience, keep the temperature set to 110–116°F.
The Skinny on Skin
Not only is your skin a huge part of the image you present to others, but it’s also the barrier between your insides and the outside world. Your skin takes the brunt of your experiences, which can include exposure to anything from ultraviolet radiation to environmental air pollutants. Over time, the effects of that exposure can add up, resulting in layers of filth and dead skin cells as well as dry, calloused, or damaged skin. The first step to improving the health of your skin is to soften and remove some of those layers.
As discussed in our article on detoxification, the skin is the body’s largest organ, and part of its work is to rid the body of toxins and waste products via the pores. According to Dr. Arash Akhavan, owner and founder of The Dermatology & Laser Group, steam both loosens dirt and other contaminants from the skin, and causes you to sweat, which helps to flush out pores. “Freshly cleaned pores are better able to absorb skin creams with active ingredients such as retinol based-products or prescription creams from your dermatologist,” Akhavan says.
Get the Glow
Improving your skin’s appearance is part and parcel of improving its health. “A great advantage of the steam bath lies in its highly beneficial effect on the skin,” says Dr. Reinhard R. Bergel of the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Balneology and Climatology. “The moist heat stimulates the subcutaneous blood flow and cleanses the skin intensively, opening the pores, removing dead skin and impurities and leaving the skin feeling soft, clean and silky smooth.”
As for the “glow” often mentioned when discussing steam treatments, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi of Capital Laser & Skin Care says, “steam helps to increase oil production to moisturize skin, and it can bring a nice, healthy glow to dull skin.” But these aren’t the only ways that a solid skin care regimen—such as one including steam showers—can help your skin look and feel better. According to the Mayo Clinic, “good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay natural aging and prevent various skin problems.”
Be Skin Smart
The benefits of steam for skin care are plain to see, but it’s important to note that they apply to most people but not all. For those who suffer from acne, for example, steam might be a smart choice. As Dr. Akhavan states, “facial steaming is a great option for patients with acne prone skin or with stubborn blackheads.” However, dermatologist Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group warns that steam may not be the best skin care option for those with sensitive skin or those who suffer from certain skin conditions. According to Nazarian, “the heat that you’re exposing your skin to causes dilation of blood vessels—leading to flushing, increased inflammation, and worsening of conditions like rosacea.” So when it comes to steam, be sure to take your skin type into consideration.