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Steam during a facial: What’s truth, and what’s hot air?

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Posted: 02/28/2014 Professional Facials

Some find steaming essential during a facial, while others are using it to blame for a facial that fell flat.But swear by it or swear off it, not everything I’ve been hearing about this heated treatment room topic is accurate. And when you’re talking about water that’s so hot it’s been vaporized, misinformation can be dangerous. Here are 3 steam myths I’m shedding some light on.

1. Steam is all hype. Pores aren’t windows – you can’t just open and close them.

This myth has one thing right – pores aren’t like windows. But everything done during a treatment is done with a purpose – not for hype. The reason steaming is often misunderstood is because of the popular misconception that you can change a pore’s size. In reality, the “smallest” pore is a clean pore. The buildup of sebum, dead skin, and bacteria can oxidize in an open comedo (or pore) to form a blackhead, making the pore look larger, because it’s now filled with debris and metabolic waste. You can’t actually shrink the size of a pore, but you can clear them so they appear smaller. This is where one of the many benefits of steaming comes in! Steam is used in the beginning of a facial to soften skin, making it, and everything lodged in your pores, more pliable so extractions can be done safely and easily. It’s also used to invigorate by stimulating microcirculation, revving up skin that might otherwise be sluggish and unresponsive, and allowing it to absorb active ingredients more effectively.

2. Steam can irritate and worsen existing skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.

Again, this myth didn’t get it completely wrong. When used incorrectly, steam can cause irritation, discomfort, and even damage the skin of those with existing conditions. However, estheticians have years of education and training to not only recognize skin conditions like eczema and rosacea, along with so many other skin disorders a client can have, but to also know when and how to use steam safely and effectively. Their treatment rooms are equipped with facial steam machines that allow them to adjust the position, distance, and intensity of the steam so that, just like every part of a Bioelements Facial, it can be personalized to suit each client’s individual needs. When done correctly, steam can actually help soften skin that is unusually dry and resistive, due to its unhealthy state.

3. All you need is a pot of boiling water to replicate the steam from a treatment room at home.

At-home steaming is one of the steps I hear about most frequently in DIY beauty treatments. Just boil a pot of water, hold your head some distance above it, and voila! You have the benefits of professional steam, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, this isn’t just ineffective, it’s dangerous. Without a skin care pro who knows your skin and how much stimulation it can take, you run the risk of overstimulation, dehydration, irritating skin conditions you might have, and even a bad burn. Given everything I just said an esthetician’s professional steamer can do, it’s no surprise a pot of boiling water can’t cut it!

Not every skin can benefit from steam during a facial, but putting yours in the hands of an expertly trained professional is the only way to know! Book a facial treatment at a Bioelements Partnership Spa today to find out.

Teresa Stenzel

Bioelements Director of Education Teresa Stenzel has been a member of the Bioelements esthetics team since 1993. With a key role in the company’s integration of new professional products, she helps develop new facial and body treatment techniques, as well as new curriculum for Bioelements, ensuring skin care professionals receive the education they need to deliver the best skin care recommendations and professional treatments from coast to coast.

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