The RIGHT Way to Use a Facial Steamer

Over the last few years, there’s been a real rise in at-home skin care tools. Now you can get your hands on everything from microdermabrasion wands to dermarollers to microcurrent devices. You can even pick up your very own facial steamer, something that used to be reserved for spas. But is using facial steamers at home actually worth it or can it do more harm than good?

For starters, let’s take a look at how steaming works. “Facial steaming helps dilate the pores on the skin, loosening dirt and debris that can gather and accumulate deep in the pores and lead to breakouts,” explains board certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Mamelak. “By steaming the skin, individuals can achieve a more thorough cleanse of their face.”

As for potential benefits, steaming can help resolve clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes. Not to mention make your skin feel softer, according to Mamelak. “Furthermore, if you use warm steam, it helps dilate blood vessels and increases circulation to the skin. This can also stimulate a light perspiration, which helps further flush pores and impurities from the skin and body.”

Facial steamers can also help your skin care products penetrate better says board certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules Dr. Debra Jaliman. As Mamelak explains, “After steaming, the skin is more receptive to serums, antioxidants and other facial topical treatments.”

But are at-home facial steamers really safe? In general, they are safe for most skin types, according to Mamelak. Because they do a good job of unclogging pores, Jaliman says they’re particularly useful for oily and acne-prone skin types.

If you have sensitive skin, however, this is one trend you may want to avoid altogether. “Patients with rosacea or sensitive to heat should use facial steamers with caution,” advises Mamelak. “As the steam can dilate blood vessels, sensitive individuals can be left with facial redness, erythema and swelling.”

If you do decide to try steaming your face at home, you’ll want to make sure you’re using your steamer the right way. “Don’t steam every day,” says Mamelak. Instead, stick to 5- to 10-minute sessions twice a week keeping your face away from the water and your hair off your face.

“Also, if you use essential oils in the steam, make sure these do not irritate your skin,” adds Mamelak. Additionally, if you have sensitive eyes, consider wearing goggles to protect them suggests Jaliman. And, of course, make sure to carefully follow the directions.

We’ve rounded up a handful of highly-rated facial steamers to help you achieve softer, clearer skin without having to book a spa appointment.