When I had acne my mother used to joke that some of my pimples were so big they seemed to cry “pick me! pick me!” (she would raise her hand in the air and fluttered it frantically while doing this). But while her blemish comedy was not only embarrassing, it caused confusion.
You see, in my pre-esthetician days I was torn about whether to pick or not to pick my spotted skin, and when I did, I often bruised it. I would become so attached to digging it out my face that my technique lacked the gentle care it does now. This is a dilemma that many of my clients have – and I can see their struggle as they come in with scars and scabs.
Now if we have clogged pores or pimples, they need to removed – but how do we remove them if we have neither the time or the budget to come in for a full-length professional facial? Well, I will let you in on a little secret: warm steam (You’ll thank me for scraping the line: “…a little secret that is more than just hot air: warm steam”…I have a tacky streak hence my love for costume jewellery).
Yes, facial steaming is an excellent way to unclog your pores without picking at it. And even for those of us who don’t have blemishes (I love being able to be put into this camp now!), it helps infuse moisture, mobilize circulation and blood flow, sweat out skin toxins and prevent a build up of blackheads. Even the color and tone of our skin improves from this simple at-home treatment.
How to do this properly:
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil
Take it off the hot plate
Hover your face at least six inches away from it with a towel over your head to entrap the steam
Relax here for 5-10 minutes
You can add loose herbs, tea bags (herbal tea) or essential oils to the water for a more therapeutic effect. Sage and rosemary are good for disinfecting the skin, chamomile and rose are best for a soothing effect, and lavender is an easy-to-source skin balancer. I find that these are good to include because our skin absorbs much more deeply as our pores are open.
Initially, I recommend doing this every night for one week to see results of a smoother, less angry complexion. After this, you can decrease down to twice per week until your skin re-balances – or for those with rosacea or broken capillaries, only start with twice per week and hover even further away from the hot pot (8 inches away or so).
Now, after facial steaming it is very important to follow up with a nourishing moisturizer or hydrating mask to prevent dehydration. If you would like to make it a full evening of skin pampering, exfoliate before the steam, and mask afterward for a mini-facial experience.
Unlike me, you will avoid ugly scars and learn that you don’t need to teach your skin tough love, a little TLC will have your complexion clear, clean and positively glowing.