Why Your Skin Might Need An Herbal Facial Steam

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My skin loves herbal facial steams. Last winter I did them daily to help chase away a cold. After a few days of steaming, a friend looked at me and said, “You look great!”

This simple self-care practice is a wonderful addition to any skin care routine. Facial steaming opens up your pores and using herbs and flowers in the water nourishes and tones your skin. Adding the plants to the hot water releases their nutrient-rich aromatic oils, which are then absorbed by your skin.

The benefits of facial steams

  • They cleanse. Warm steam softens the surface of your skin to remove impurities, bacteria and dirt from your pores. It also draws out buildup, softening blackhead and whitehead plugs so they gently release from the skin.
  • They promote healthy circulation. Increasing your perspiration helps your skin's blood vessels to dilate, improving blood flow. The blood feeds and oxygenates the skin. Good circulation is key to a healthy complexion.
  • They hydrate. Steam is hydrating for your skin and great for increasing permeability. The moist heat revives tired skin and supports the absorption of moisture from your skin care products, increasing your skin's suppleness.
  • They calm. Steaming instantly connects you to your breath, and the aromatherapy is relaxing and soothing to body and mind.
  • They will give you a glow. The boost in circulation and blast of hydration to the surface of your skin will leave you with a beautiful, healthy glow.

Instructions for a facial steam

Step 1: Choose your herbs. Nourishing herbal combinations for your skin type can be bought already packaged, or you can create your own combination. Some great herbs to use include calendula, comfrey, chamomile, and nettle. For dry skin, try adding rose, lavender, or borage. For oily skin, use rosemary, sage, or peppermint.

Step 2: Find a comfortable spot. This can be a kitchen table or another favorite spot with a cleared table space. Then, place a large, fluffy towel and a second small clean towel on the table. Be sure to have a comfortable chair that allows your feet to sit flat on the floor.

Step 3: Secure your hair back and away from your face. Cleanse your face and neck with a lightly exfoliating cleanser. A honey cleanser is great for bringing fresh blood to the surface of your skin and supporting the removal of impurities during your herbal steam.

Step 4: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. I prefer to use distilled water for my steams. Once the water comes to a boil, toss in a healthy handful of herbs and stir with a wooden spoon. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover it. Allow the herbs to simmer for 2-3 minutes, then transfer the pot to your tabletop or transfer the water to a bowl. This is the best time to add essential oils to your water.

Step 5: Drape a large, thick towel over your head and the pot, creating a tent to capture the steaming herbal water. Hold your face about 6-8 inches above the water. You can regulate the heat by raising or lowering your head over the water, or you can lift a corner of the towel to let in a little cool air if you need too. Steaming for 5-8 minutes is ideal. If you want, you can stay under for up to 10 minutes.

Step 6: You can splash your face with lukewarm water before patting your face dry with a clean towel if you'd like. Then apply your favorite moisturizing crème or serum. A great way to end your facial steam is to give your face a light massage with your favorite oil or crème. Using upward strokes, gently massage your forehead, checks and neck. You will feel relaxed, soothed and glowing.

Regular herbal steaming promotes healthy skin, is easy to do and feels great. Taking 30 minutes a week to do this will give your skin clarity, suppleness, and vibrancy. Treat yourself or your friends to a home spa treatment and feel the many benefits!

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