If you've ever had a top-notch facial at your favorite spa, it can be tempting to try to replicate the experience at home. For some, this means giving at-home facial steaming devices a try. Not only does it offer a luxe experience at an affordable price, but it's also easy to use and takes only a few minutes. Sure, these devices have been blowing up on Instagram as a trendy skincare staple, but are they right for everyone to use? To find out, Lively turned to skincare experts to find out if it's the right choice for your routine.
Paying extra attention to your skincare routine can have its pros, especially when it comes to indulging in an at-home facial steaming device. Stephanie Ivonne, an aesthetician who serves on the advisory board for Smart Style Today notes that facial steaming as part of a holistic skincare approach can be one of the best ways to keep skin looking and feeling healthy. "At-home spa days are not [always] necessary, but weekly masks and steaming along with a proper skincare regimen does the trick. The steam facial experience is great for the skin as it gives the pores an opportunity to open up and breathe, releasing dirt, oils and toxins as well as improving circulation. Skin looks softer, smoother and with a healthy glow as a result," she says.
The differences in facial steaming at home compared to a spa come down to the products that are used once the skin's pores are opened up. Aesthetician Tara Leggero of SpaDerma explains that skincare products have a greater efficacy when they are applied by professionals after steaming. "The steamer itself is not drastically different in what it is doing for the skin. [However], aestheticians can use professional-grade products with higher concentrations of active ingredients as part of the process, which will significantly impact the treatment as the steam softens the sebum (oil) in the pores and allows for deeper absorption," she says.
However, if you're looking to score a similar experience at home, the facial steaming devices around today offer a safer alternative than using a traditional boiling pot of water. According to Leggero, regular steaming can lead to unwanted injuries and harm to the skin. "If you have your face over a pot of boiling water, there is a very high chance that you could burn your face or eyes as it splashes," she says. What makes these dedicated devices safer, she adds, is that professional steamers heat water in a container where it is then dispersed through a nozzle.
Unfortunately, these devices may not be suitable for all skin types, explains Dr. Lisa Stirling, MD, a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Medical Advisor for eMediHealth. She warns that it's best to "avoid facial steaming if you have a history of rosacea, flushing, or sensitive skin. This can lead to prolonged redness and broken blood vessels." However, Stirling says it can help with the inflammatory response seen in acne.
It's always best to follow the directions for use provided by the manufacturer on any skincare device you choose to use. Still, generally, the rule of thumb for facial steaming is to use it for 5-10 minutes twice per week, says Stirling. As for maintaining the devices, it's best to avoid filling with tap water and instead opt for distilled water, explains Leggero. To help keep the device clean, Stirling recommends using diluted white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.