Should my esthetician use steam on my face?

Steaming Your Face at Home

So, let's say you're thrifty and you want a spa service without the spa bill. Giving yourself a facial steam is incredibly easy. First, gather your equipment: hot water, a bowl, a large towel and a timing device. So far, so good.

Here's how you do it:

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
  • Boil a pot of water on the stove, then reduce the heat until it's only simmering.
  • Transfer the water to a large bowl and let it sit for an additional five to 10 minutes. An ideal temperature for a steam cleanse is around 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius).
  • Position the bowl on a horizontal surface that you'll be able to lean over, like a counter or table.
  • Set your timing device to go off after 10 or 12 minutes, but not longer than 15 minutes.
  • Drape your head, shoulders and the bowl with the large towel so that you create an enclosed space to trap the rising steam.
  • Lean your face close to the rising steam but not so close that you feel suffocated by the heat.
  • End the steaming cleanse with a refreshing water rinse to keep the sweat from clogging your pores.

The addition of essential oils to your facial steam cleanse can make the experience both more relaxing and fragrant. If you have dry or normal skin, oils such as lavender and jasmine are recommended. For oily skin, natural astringents such as basil and lemongrass can be added to the water.

Interested in finding out more about skin care treatments? Continue on to the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Bergel, Reinhard R. "Steam Bath." Day Spa Association. (accessed on 1/4/09)
  • Breyer, Melissa. "Herbal Steam Facials at Home." June 2, 2008. (accessed on 12/30/09)
  • Jane Beth. "Skin tips for the sauna: can extreme heat from saunas or steam rooms damage my skin? Are there precautions I should take? - Beauty Q+A." Shape. April 2003 (accessed on 1/4/09);col1
  • Lovetoknow Skincare. "Facial Steamers." Feb. 16, 2007. (accessed on 12/30/09)
  • Hair n Skin Care. "Face Steam." 2005. (accessed on 12/30/09)
  • "Steamy Secrets: At-Home Facial Steaming." Dec. 1, 2008 (accessed on 12/30/09)
  • "Facial Steamers - Professional & Portable Mini Facial Steamers With Ozone." (accessed on 1/1/10)
  • SpaStay. "Steam Therapy - Spa Treatments." (accessed on 12/30/09)

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