Original by Fromintertet
More than chocolate, more than fries, more than sleeping in—facials are my favorite indulgence. While I have a soft spot for extractions, one of the most satisfying parts is when the esthetician takes a steamer to my face. It’s warming, comforting, gets me in a meditative state, and preps the face for the rest of the facial. I love it so much I started looking up at-home facial steamers to replicate the in-spa experience.
To be honest, I wasn’t too keen on the purpose of at-home steamers aside from feeling good (and looking cool on Instagram stories). I reached out to New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross and esthetician Tarin Graham, who works exclusively with Madonna, to break down the best ways to use the skincare tool.
A facial steamer makes your skincare routine more effective.
According to Gross, a facial steamer not only infuses the skin with moisture, but “enhances and accelerates” the benefits of the regimen you follow. “By steaming, you’ve primed your face for exfoliation and targeted treatments. Ingredients like retinol and vitamin C will absorb deeper into the skin for even better results,” he said.
Graham echoed the same benefits, “It helps dry skin by adding moisture, opens pores to allow better penetration of products, relieves sinus congestion, and promotes blood circulation.” In the same way that a damp sponge is more absorbent than one that is bone dry, steamed skin is more receptive to active ingredients.
Make sure you have clean skin before using a steamer.
Gross advised removing makeup and doing a deep cleanse to get the most out of the tool. He also recommended loading your steamer with distilled water “because tap water can have heavy metals that can affect the integrity of the steam itself.” Distilled water will also prevent bacteria build up in the device, Graham adds.
Be strategic with the products you use with a steamer.
“Use [a steamer] once a week before doing your favorite at-home treatment or mask and it will really increase the treatments results,” Graham said. She added that a steamer is best used in tandem with a purifying mask, like a clay formula. They’ll be even more effective at drawing out impurities and when pores are softened and prepped.
Dr. Gross highly recommended using both a serum and moisturizer after a steamer. “Hyaluronic acid is your best option,” he said. “When you put on a moisturizer after steaming, you’re locking in the hydration. Those millions of molecules that were brought to your skin are now locked in.”
While testing out Dr. Gross’s Pro Facial Steamer, llowed everything with moisturizer and let it all sink in overnight.
Steamers will kill your blackheads.
This isn’t something the two experts told me, but something I observed myself. As promised, the heat and evaporation from the steamer did wonders for softening my pores. It made it much easier and safer for me to use a comedone extractor and get out any congestion on my nose. All it took was a gentle push, and debris slid out easily. This combined with a clay mask had me waking up with totally minimized pores—something I’d typically only see if I’d gotten a professional facial.
Don’t use a facial steamer everyday.
It’s tempting, but do your skin a favor and hold off on steaming most days. Gross recommended nine minutes per session, once or twice a week. “By doing this, you will see both immediate and long-term results,” he said. Graham advised steaming for five to 10 minutes, max and only once a week. Going over that “can dry out the skin and cause inflammation,” she said.
Now that you’ve got all the pro knowledge on how to use a steamer, shop some best-rated ones ahead.