Facial steam is very popular. You can buy it at the salon or make it yourself at home. Home steamers are available. You can always just use a bowl of warm water and a towel.
Facial steam feels great and leaves your skin bright and glowing. But are they good for acne?
There is some misinformation about facial steaming. This article looks at what facial steaming actually does and other acne treatments you should consider.
Steam doesn’t “clean out” pores
You may have heard that steam cleans pores. It doesn’t.
clogged pores (called acne) forms when oil and dead skin cells become trapped in pores. They become sticky substances. This is the foundation of every blackhead, whitehead and pimple.
Even a few hours of steam won’t clear this plug or prevent a new one. That’s because pimples form deep inside the pores. The steam just rolls on the surface of your skin. It never penetrates where pimples form.
Facial steam really has its place in skincare. It softens blackheads and non-inflamed breakouts. This makes them easier to extract.
That’s why it’s done before the acne treatment facial extraction. After the stopper is softened, the beautician can pull it out with gentle pressure.
Your skin care therapist should not attempt to remove inflamed blemishes. It can hurt the skin.
If you’re gentle and careful, you can extract some blemishes yourself at home.
Steaming can also promote blood circulation. That’s what makes your skin look brighter and makes you glow (at least temporarily).
Pimples form deep inside the pores. Steam doesn’t penetrate that deep, so it doesn’t prevent or clear clogged pores. It does soften blackheads, though. This makes it easier for them to get out.
steam and acne
Steaming alone will not clear acne. Nor can it prevent new breakthroughs from happening. So if facial steaming is your main acne treatment, you’ll be playing catch-up.
Vaporizing has no effect on larger blemishes such as inflamed papules and nodules and cysts. No matter how much you steam your face, you won’t be able to extract these large, deep blemishes.
Steaming too often or using too hot steam can increase redness and inflammation, which can make inflammatory acne look worse.
For acne treatment, you should use topical treatments or oral medications.
For mild acne and blackheads, over-the-counter acne products may be effective. For moderate or severe acne, you need a prescription acne medication.
You can get a prescription from a dermatologist or your regular healthcare provider.
Effective OTC acne treatment
Steam will not stop acne breakouts or remove any large, deep blemishes. You may need topical or oral treatment, including prescription products.
A steam facial cannot remove blemishes. They soften small imperfections like blackheads, making them easier to extract.
For larger blemishes, you may need medication. Topical and oral medications are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
If you like facial steam, go ahead and use them. But make sure you use a proven treatment for acne and other skin concerns.
If you are struggling to clear acne on your own, talk to your healthcare provider. They can recommend products, prescribe or refer you to a dermatologist.