What is a Steam Facial?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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A steam facial is a skincare treatment that uses trapped vapors from hot water to cleanse the skin. It is also typically implemented as a means to add moisture to the face and to loosen substances in the skin's pores. Steam facials can be performed either at home over a sink or at spas with specialized steaming machines.

An at-home steam facial generally only requires two main pieces of equipment: a sink or large bowl and a towel. A person fills the sink or bowl with hot water, then bends over and positions his or her face close to the water without touching it. He or she then can drape a towel over his or her head to trap the steam from the hot water so it only penetrates the face. The amount of time the treatment takes can vary depending on the individual and his or her comfort level with the steam temperature, but is commonly around 15 minutes.

A steaming machine can also be used to give steam facials, and is most often used at spas, although a person can purchase a steaming machine for home use. The electronic device consists of a lower water chamber connected to an opening that has a diameter wide enough to fit the face. This can be a more comfortable option than the at-home version since a person’s face is not as close to the hot water source.


Prior to performing a steam facial, someone will typically have to cleanse his or her face to remove any excess oil, dirt, or makeup and prevent clogging pores during the steaming process. To make the facial more relaxing or enjoyable, herbs or essential oils may be added to the water supply before the treatment. A person can then position his or her face near the steam source for the preferred amount of time. Once the facial is completed, the face can be dried off and wiped with astringent to remove any sweat and cool down the skin.

Although steam facials are mostly performed for cosmetic reasons, they can also serve a medicinal purpose. The steam may be useful for soothing cold or flu symptoms, such as sore throats, nasal congestion, or other respiratory symptoms. If a person has more serious respiratory issues like asthma, he or she is usually recommended to consult with a doctor before using a steam facial that contains any herbs or essential oils to ensure they won’t cause irritation or other breathing complications.


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Post 6

I use a steam facial more for medicinal reasons than as a beauty treatment. I have found this gives me the fastest relief when I have a stuffed up nose or sinus congestion.

I like to add a little but of Eucalyptus to the water and this really helps me breathe so much better. If I have a cold, I will do this a couple times a day until my cold clears up.

When I have a steam bath like this, not only does my cold feel better, but my face also enjoys the benefits.

Post 5

For years I have used a Kaz steam facial, and it still works as good today as the first time I used it.

What really helps it steam up fast is pouring a little bit of salt in the water. I can get some good steam in just a few minutes when I do this. This also has a small compartment where you can add some herbs for an herbal facial steam.

You can really be as creative as you would like to be depending on what your tastes are. When I have fresh herbs in my garden, I love to add a little bit of lemon thyme or rosemary.

This not only leaves your face feeling clean, but invigorates you as well. When I am finished, I put some moisturizer on my face, and it stays soft for days.

Post 4

I have never paid someone to give me a steam facial, or use any kind of machine. I give myself a steam facial the old fashioned way - with a sink full of hot water and a towel.

I get the water as hot as I can, fill up the sink and drape a towel over myself as I lean over the sink. If I can't get the water as hot as I would like, I will boil some in a tea kettle, and pour that in the sink.

My favorite time to give myself a home facial steam is right before bed. Before I run the hot water I make sure my face is clean of all dirt and makeup.

I like to put a few drops of lavender essential oil in the water. The smell of the lavender is very soothing and relaxing and helps me unwind and go to sleep after a long day.

Post 3

I have a portable steamer that I bought on sale. It's really great, I just put water in it and then put my face over it. It's way more affordable than going to a spa twice a month for a steam facial.

I know I could just boil water and do it myself but the one time I did that, I almost choked because the steam was just too much. The great part about my steamer is that it lets me adjust how much steam/heat I want so it's much more comfortable.

I don't do a steam facial too often though, once or twice a month at most. My friend who works at a salon said that overdoing it can damage my skin cells.

Post 2

It's been years since I've had a facial sauna! My mom used to have me do it whenever I had a cough as a kid. I didn't really enjoy it at that time but now I realize how good it was for my cough.

What she would do was to fill a plastic container with hot water and then put some Vicks in it. The Vicks gave a nice eucalyptus scent to the steam and Vicks or eucalyptus oil is supposed to be really good for coughs anyway.

I hated staying under the steam for a long time though because it would actually make me cough like crazy. My mom said that it's a sign that it's working

because the steam is breaking up mucus and phlegm in my lungs. I'm not sure if that was true but after one of these facials, I would feel much better and could get a good nights sleep without coughing very much.

I had completely forgotten about this until I read the article. I'm going to do this again next time I have a cough.

Post 1

I do a steam facial at home about once a week or more often if I'm having an acne breakout. I started doing this when I noticed that constantly washing my face with cold water caused more clogged pores and breakouts. Unfortunately, cold water doesn't open the skin's pores at all. Hot water and steam is necessary for that.

So what I do after cleaning my makeup is fill a large bowl with very hot water. And then I put my head over it with a towel just like the article said. After about ten minutes, I use a face wash with salicylic acid which helps clean out the open pores and removes dirt and oil. After this, I

wash my face with cold water and then wipe with an astringent toner to close my pores. Then, moisturize as usual.

This is a great way to clean out my pores and prevent breakouts. It's also a very affordable and relaxing facial for home.

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