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Facial Adventure With a Home Face Steamer

Updated on November 16, 2014
watergeek profile image

Susette has a lifelong interest and practice with good physical and mental health, including the environment that sustains us all.

A clear face is the aim. Facial steaming on a regular basis, combined with healthy eating and drinking habits will get you there.
A clear face is the aim. Facial steaming on a regular basis, combined with healthy eating and drinking habits will get you there. | Source

In the old days, when merchants traveled from country to country in caravans, and physical beauty became of critical importance in society, someone noticed that skin tone in moist, warm places stayed soft and smooth much longer than it did in dry places. Women living in the tropics were more beautiful than women living in the desert. People looked younger longer.

From that recognition evolved the practice of facial steaming as an imitation of nature - an attempt to recreate tropical or hot springs conditions for the face in whichever climate a person lives.

Now we don't have to rely on tropical vacations, hot springs, or professional spas to have clear skin. Humans have developed mechanized methods of face steaming at home - equipment that makes steaming easier and is mobile. We can give ourselves a facial steam bath right in our own home, in an atmosphere we create, any time we want to.

Benefits to Using a Face Steamer

How does steam help the face to stay healthy? Ask Cleopatra or any of the ancient queens known for their beauty. Heat softens the skin and opens the pores. The steam encourages them to sweat, which washes out toxins.

Acne can be cleared up with proper diet and good facial care. Steaming is a gentle, effective way to open up and clean out those pores.
Acne can be cleared up with proper diet and good facial care. Steaming is a gentle, effective way to open up and clean out those pores. | Source
Blackheads are a combination of sebaceous oils that have mixed with dust and are stuck in the pores. Facial steaming will open them up so that a honey or eggwhite masque can be applied with pads to help pull the dirt out.
Blackheads are a combination of sebaceous oils that have mixed with dust and are stuck in the pores. Facial steaming will open them up so that a honey or eggwhite masque can be applied with pads to help pull the dirt out. | Source

Heat also stimulates blood flow, so cells are cleaned out and fed more thoroughly. Steam makes it easier to breathe deeply, since the bronchial tubes and lungs have to stay moist to operate well. And the combination of heat and steam relaxes the muscles, which lets blood flow in and out of tissues more easily and evenly, and enables breathing more deeply.

Here are the specific effects and benefits of facial steaming:

  • Clean cells - Heals acne and cleans out blackheads.

  • Stimulated blood flow - Evens coloring, creates healthy cells and softer skin.

  • Deep breathing - Enhances alertness and communication between nerves, brightens eyes.

  • Relaxed muscles - Reduces wrinkles, softens facial expressions.

What is a Portable Face Steamer?

A portable facial steamer is a machine that generates steam for the face (like a natural hot springs) and that can be moved easily to different locations in the house. It contains a reservoir for water and a bowl over which to put your face for complete steam coverage, or a wand to direct steam to specific parts of your face.

A pot of boiling water containing herbs - in this case rose hips, mint, and eucalyptus oil - makes a great DIY facial sauna.
A pot of boiling water containing herbs - in this case rose hips, mint, and eucalyptus oil - makes a great DIY facial sauna. | Source

Good machines also have a container that add essential oils to the steam to enhance desired benefits, e.g. rosemary to stimulate, eucalyptus for antibacterial action (see below). Face steamers can be powered by electricity or batteries.

The original home steam facial, still used today, was simply leaning over a pot of boiling water with face covered by a towel. With the addition of herbs or essential oils, the steam took on additional effectiveness.

The results after treatment are a tight, tingly face and good smells in your hair and the air. A sexy CD and cuddly clothes enhance the experience.

How to Use a Face Steamer

There are several very easy steps to take when steaming your face, starting with gathering equipment and supplies. They are: Two or three towels, distilled or filtered water, a bowl of water with ice, a hair fastener and/or shower cap, essential oils of choice, toner and cotton pads, moisturizer and, of course, a face steamer.

DIY Facial Steaming

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin.
That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. ~Gwyneth Paltrow

Once all is together, you can start. First with the steamer itself, then your own preparation, then the process and followup.

  1. Fill the face steamer's reservoir with distilled water. Add essential oils to the proper container.

  2. Pull hair back and fasten out of the way, and/or put on a shower cap. Wash your face to get rid of any makeup or old oils. Put one towel over your shoulders to capture dripping sweat.

  3. Turn the steamer on and bend over facial bowl, covering your head and the bowl with another towel. Bathe your face for 10-15 minutes (no longer), eyes closed, 8-12" away from the facial bowl. You want to steam, not burn your face. When finished, pat dry with a towel.

  4. This is a good time to apply a facial masque. Whether you do or not, the next step is to splash your face with icy water to close pores. Pat dry. Apply toner with pads, then moisturizer.

Cautions: You only need to steam your face once a week. Studies have shown no benefit to steaming more often than that. Same with the length of steaming time - no longer than 15 minutes is necessary.

To supplement the steaming process, make sure you eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. It doesn't make sense to steam your face once a week, then eat crap that just fills it up with cruddy oils and creates infections all over again. Instead, eat lots of fresh, raw vegetables and rough grains, like wheat or oat bread with seeds in it.

Essential Oils to Use for Steaming Your Face

You can increase and prolong the adventure by adding essential oils to the steam. It will not only increase effectiveness, but also infuse the air and your hair with scents that last. The essential oil/s you use will depend on the type of skin you have, and what's going on with it:

Facial Herbs for the Skin

Lavendar with rosemary behind it. Both make great essential oils for the skin.
Lavendar with rosemary behind it. Both make great essential oils for the skin. | Source

Many people who give themselves facials have acne or blackheads. For these conditions, antiseptic oils are great to use in a steamer. Such oils are: Eucalyptus, clove, thyme, wintergreen, chamomile, or tea tree.

If you have dry skin use: Chamomile, vitamin E, comfrey, lavender, almond, or marshmallow root oil.

If you have oily skin use: Rosemary, lavender, basil, orange, licorice, rose, or lemongrass oil.

"Normal" skin types can use any or a combination of these herbs, rotating according to need or desire. Also check your toner and moisturizer. If they contain herbs, you might want to use an essential oil from a different skin type for balance.

Thermal Spa Facial Sauna
Thermal Spa Facial Sauna

This is a professional sauna with an extra wide facial shield. It has an automatic thermostat to make sure steam doesn't get too hot.

 

Maintaining Your Portable Face Steamer

To keep using your steamer for a long time, you will want to take care of it so it doesn't break down. Coil up the electric cord when not in use and fasten it with a rubber band. Once monthly, give it a good cleaning, inside and out. Here is how you clean the inside:

  1. Fill the reservoir with distilled water. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar.

  2. Turn the steamer on and let it run until the water is almost gone. Empty out the rest. The vinegar helps break down any salts that might have accumulated.

  3. Refill the steamer with fresh, distilled water.

  4. Run the steamer again to get rid of the vinegar, so it doesn't wear down any metal surfaces. Empty out whatever water is left.

  5. Dry everything off and put it away.

Steaming Your Face

If you were to steam your face, what would you do it for?

See results

Comments

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    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      watergeek 

      5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      That reminds me. I forgot to steam this week. I've promised myself to make it a weekly habit and see how well it counteracts smog (lol).

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 

      5 years ago from California

      Hello from another Californian. I've heard about facial cleaners but never tried one before. Do they have a full body steamer too? Oh wait...that's what saunas are for. :-) Great hub, very thoroughly written...thank you for sharing!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      It's so true that living in a moist climate is better for our skin. I have experienced it firsthand. Back when I lived in Thailand, I hardly took care of my skin, and yet it was perfectly fine. Now living in the dry California climate, I routinely use a high-quality moisturizer and sometimes essential oils, but my skin still seems to get dry so easily. Plus, I get acne once in a while. Hmmm maybe I should give a facial steamer a try!

    • watergeek profile imageAUTHOR

      watergeek 

      5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      From one extreme to the other, huh Leah? ;) I didn't realize how beneficial steam could be until I tried it recently. Hearing that your mother's skin was stunning is a strong validation, Krsharpo5. For the four of us, it seems like this practice is well worth taking up.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      It seems like I'm cold and dry all of the time. Even the idea of steam sounds wonderful. I remember when we were young, my mother would steam her face and her skin was stunning. I should definitely give it a try. Lavender seems to be my favorite essential oil and I'm going to find the marshmallow oil. Sounds yummy! Thanks for the idea! My dry skin will be on the mend! -K

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Living in dry climate I really wanted to read this hub. Lots of good and simple ideas here and worth saving in my ever growing bookmark folder.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      I grew up in California and the dry air could definitely wreak havoc on your skin! Now I live in the Great and Frozen North and the winters are absolutely desiccating. Maybe a facial steamer is the way to go!

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