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Face Steaming

December 27, 2014

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For something as blatantly simple as boiling a pot of water, the old at-home DIY congestion treatment offers some pretty major beauty benefits, among them being cleaner and clearer skin. Face steaming has in the past always been the answer to store-bought congestion relief remedies as the steam flushes out mucus and cleans the airways, similar to the fabricated kind. But in my family, and probably in others as well, steaming has been part of someone’s beauty regimen for many years. Basically the process of steaming increases blood circulation in your face, opens up the pores to free any dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells and other impurities trapped beneath the surface, and it allows your skin to better absorb product afterwards.

I inherited this beauty method many years ago and I find that the once weekly procedure takes immediate action not just pulling out impurities, but veils my complexion in kind of a warm glow. For me, doing a 10-minute steam is incredibly relaxing and I tend to end my Monday doing so for a spa-like pampering. Because Monday sucks balls.

As natural of a procedure it is, there are some downsides to it. In particular for people who suffer from severe acne, the rampant moisture from steaming may aggravate your condition, so it’d be a good idea to check with your dermatologist first. Also for those who suffer from rosacea, the increased circulation in your face and the sweating stemming from it may do more harm than good.

After my post-shower routine, I will boil a pot of water containing not much more than a quarter since you don’t need that much to achieve the effects. While that’s going I’m beebopping to some tunes dancing through my house with some serious Beyonce moves. Well, I’ve been told I resemble more of an Elaine Benes (google Elaine Benes dance), but in my mind Beyonce all the way minus the hair and paycheck. Once the water reaches a rolling boil I will lay down a wood cutting board on a flat surface and transfer the pot onto the board. This is the point where you can get real fancy with it and maybe add an essential oil to the water or an herb, I prefer peppermint because it feels very reenergizing and refreshing. Now comes the fun part, position your face over the pot and drape a towel over your head until you’ve created a tent. Assure that you keep your face at least a foot or more away (12 inch and up) because being too close is not good either. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and let the steam go to work on your face for only 10 minutes and no longer, prolonged exposure to steam can cause inflammation. Once the 10 minutes are up, remove towel and now take a paper towel to gently dab the moisture off your face until dry.

Continuing the spa-like treatment, I use the Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores to pull out any impurities and griminess from my now open pores for 15 minutes. If you don’t own any clay masks, good ole honey works the same. Using tepid water to rinse off the mask, it’s time to close my pores back up again by going in with a toner, I’m currently using the Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil-Controlling Astringent instead of my usual Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner because shark week is approaching and hormonal breakouts have once again taken over the sides of the chin. Since I’ve been doing a lot of work essentially taking from my skin, it’s time to start giving and do so by focusing on restoring moisture back since steaming can in fact be drying. First, I apply my love Ole Henriksen Truth Serum® Vitamin C Collagen Booster, boosting collagen production and brightening my complexion while its green tea extract nourishes and nurtures. The final step is a good moisturizer, while I would normally always pick my Nivea Creme for ultra hydration, on my steaming day I turn to the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argain Oil for not just the softening hydration benefits but also because I will perform a facial massage to conclude the Forget Monday Ever Happened Spa-like Day. Of course you can use your favorite moisturizer for this step, coconut oil would actually be quite great to follow up with besides jojoba or argan oil.

And now, I shall station myself in front of the tube and hang out until it’s acceptable to go to bed.

For those who would like to try face steaming, here are a few things to know before you do:

Steam no more than once a week, because it can severely dry out your skin and make it produce more oil. When your skin produces too much oil it can lead to excess oil production, which that leads to breakouts. Steaming too much can also cause broken apillaries;
Steam no more for 10 minutes at a time. Exposing your skin for too long to steam can cause inflammation;
Keep your face a foot and more away from the steam as hovering too close can cause irritation.

Happy steaming!

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