Facial Steamers Guide: Spa Skincare At Home

Facial steamers are the secret skincare tool you need to achieve deeply clear pores and bright skin at home . Gentle steam opens up your pores and cleans your skin, making the rest of your beauty routine more effective. It’s like having a spa treatment, but at home.

Dermatologists agree that facial steaming is a natural, safe and healthy way to achieve soft and clean skin. Warm steam softens the skin surface, helping draw out impurities, dirt and bacteria nested deep in your pores. It also helps soften blackhead and whiteheads, which is why spas use facial steamers as a pre-treatment for extractions.

There are now many brands offering affordable facial steamers that can create the spa experience at home.

What Is A Facial Steamer

A facial steamer is a steam producing device that has a mask like implement to be able to direct the steam gentle on the face. They have always been a popular tool for both dermatologists and spas, as they produce great results and are safe for all skin types.

Also known as facial saunas, there are now many facial steamers cleared for home use, and they have many benefits. Not only your skin will be clearer and your pores deeply purified, but they are also very relaxing and can help create the spa experience at home.

The reason why facial steamers are so popular is their simplicity. Steam gently opens up the pores, loosening the dirt and oil that is lodged deep into your skin. Since clogged pores are the number one cause of acne breakouts, a facial steamer is a great tool for acne-prone skins.

Incorporating facial steaming into your skincare routine is also great for sensitive skins that can’t deal with irritating anti-acne chemical treatments. It allows you to deeply cleanse your face, but doesn’t need any irritating cleansers or tonics to do that.

Benefits Of Facial Steamers

Facial steamers are a great skincare aid to a clearer skin, and they can be used to improve the effectivity of masks and other treatments as well. They can also be used to help clear sinus infections as a respiratory therapy aid.

Steam Pore Cleaning

The main reason to purchase a facial steamer is preventing acne breakouts and keeping pores clean. Enlarged facial pores accumulate dirt, makeup and oils naturally produced by the skin. This becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and before you know it you are suffering from a breakout, whiteheads or blackheads.

Warm steam from a facial steamer makes your face sweat, and alongside with the gentle heat this softens the skin and opens the pores. The heat also helps soften up the sebum accumulated inside the pores and gently exfoliates the skin removing dead cells.

If you suffer from enlarged pores and blackheads, steam will help clear them out. Cold mist facial steamers are also used to tighten the skin after treatment so the pores look minimised.

This is why after a spa treatment your skin has a healthy, younger glow, and why people pay so many hundreds of dollars for this kind of treatments.

Making Treatments More Effective

A facial steamer is the easiest way to get improved results from your masks and treatments that are usually part of your skincare routine. Facial steaming opens up the pores, which makes the skin more receptive.

If you want the active elements on your masks to reach the inner layers of your skin, preparing it with a facial steaming treatment is the way to go.

Removing Toxins

Like a regular sauna, steaming your face helps you sweat out toxins that are trapped within your body and inside your pores. This helps a lot if your face looks dull due to pollution.

Steam also has a relaxing effect on the body and you can create the perfect spa experience at home using a facial steamer, making your skin look more healthy.

Get Glowing Skin

The trends for glowing skin and no-makeup makeup has put extra demands on skincare. Thankfully, facial steamers are a great way to help your skin achieve a  natural rosy glow.

Facial steamers improve the blood flow around your face. This is because the heat makes the blood vessels around your face dilate, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your skin.

However, this can make couperosis (tiny visible veins on your face around your nose and cheeks) and rosacea worse, so always consult your dermatologist first as other treatments may be more suitable.

Does Steaming Your Face Get Rid Of Blackheads?

Most people who use facial steamers report healthier looking skin and less breakouts. It is a low cost, easy to include in your skincare routine way to help your skin clean itself and remove blackheads and spots.

Facial Steamers and Essential Oils

Most facial steamers can also be used with essential oils to create the ultimate aromatherapy spa experience. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxing experience, add a few drops of essential oils to your facial steamer and enjoy the spa feeling.

  • Lavender: Calms and helps fight insomnia. Anti-bacterial effects.
  • Parsley and Geranium: Natural astringents, reduce oil production
  • Eucalyptus: Purifies and relieves congestion
  • Chamomila: Soothing effect for irritated skin
  • Rosemary: Balances oily skin without drying
  • Fennel: Anti-ageing

You only need a few drops of essential oils so this is a very inexpensive way to enhance your at home facial steaming experience.

How To Use A Facial Sauna At Home

Prepare for your at-home spa session by blocking out some time to use your facial steamer. This is the kind of treatment that goes great right before your weekly masking session, as it will allow the skincare actives to penetrate more deeply.

Preparing The Facial Steamer

Every facial steamer works differently, so follow the instructions of the manufacturer for safe operation. However, most at-home facial steamers are pretty similar in the way they work.

You will need to add distilled water to the water chamber. It is important to use distilled water because you don’t want the tubes in the facial steamer to become clogged by chalk or your face to be exposed to the chemicals and minerals on tap water. This is particularly important if you live in a place with hard water.

After the facial steamer’s water reservoir is full, you will need to wait for it to heat up the water. This can take a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on the model. Since facial steamers can keep the water at the right temperature for a while, it’s best to get the machine ready before you go and wash your face.

The Facial Steaming Process

Start by gentle washing your face and removing all traces of makeup, dirt and oil that sit on the top of your skin. If you have dull skin, a gentle exfoliating wash can help the steam clean your pores better. An exfoliating toner with AHAs such as glycolic and lactic acid is gentle enough to remove dead skin without irritation.

Once the steamer is ready to go you will see steam coming out, or a green light will lit up, or it will make some noise. It depends on the model, so check out the instructions but the best facial steamers are intuitive and easy to use.

You should start off with three-minute sessions, and see how your skin reacts. The steamer will have a cone or face mask shaped area where the steam comes out, so just gently place your face five to ten inches away from the actual point of exit for the steam. If you put your face too close you risk burning your skin! Most at-home face steamers are shaped so you can’t put your face too close to the steam.

Dry, dehydrated skin should use it for about 8 to 12 minutes. Combination skin can go up to 15 minutes, and oily skin and acne-prone skin should use it for 15 to 20 minutes. However, do start in smaller amounts and build up to it so your skin doesn’t react negatively.

Skincare After Facial Steaming

Now that your pores are open and the dirt and oil loosened, it’s time to clean your face again to remove all the dirt. Turn off the steamer and use a clean towel to gently pat your face clean. If you suffer from very oily skin or breakouts, you can also wash your face with warm water and a very very gentle cleanser, just to remove as much oil as possible.

If you wanted to perform at home extractions, this would be a good time to do it while your skin is still warm. Otherwise, apply a face mask suitable for your skin type and relax for a few minutes to let the skincare actives work. You will see that the results from masks and treatments applied after facial steaming are much better. This is because your skin is much more receptive, as the pores are open and deeply cleansed.

Do not forget to apply a moisturiser or oil after you wash out your mask, and just continue with your skincare routine as usual.

How Often Can You Use Your Facial Steamer?

For best results, most dermatologists suggest steaming your face at least once a week. However, severely clogged pores and very oily skins may require using it more often until your condition improves.

However, since you are applying heat to your face, it is better to let your skin rest in between treatments. Keep it to twice a week at most, and leave some days in between so your skin can benefit from facial steaming the most. If there is nothing to clean, you will just irritate your skin.

Facial Steaming, Is It Safe?

Most skin types take well to facial steaming, but it is important to get used to it slowly by starting on small three-minutes treatments instead of going all out and risking irritating your skin. If you suffer from rosacea, couperosis, extreme acne or other skin conditions that make your skin specially sensitive, it is worth consulting your dermatologist before buying a facial steamer.

In order to prevent bacterial growth, wash your steamer thoroughly after every use. This will ensure you get the best results from facial steaming every time.

Types Of Personal Facial Steamers

You can buy a facial steamer for use at home, or one designed for professional settings such as a spa or a dermatologist office. However, if you are looking for a cheap facial steamer it is best to look into those designed for personal use. A professional facial steamer is more expensive because it is designed to be used hundreds of times a week.

There are two main types of personal facial steamers:

Flared Facial Steamer

The steaming extension of a flared facial steamer is shaped like a wide cone, and fits your face. You just need to rest your face against the cone, relax and wait for the steam to start.

This type of tabletop steamers are very practical because they treat the entire face and are incredibly easy to use. You won’t need to fiddle trying to point the steam to the right areas of your face, and there is no risk of steam hitting your clothes or hair.

Some flared facial steamers come with two cones, one that can be used for your entire face and another one to target only your nose. This type of facial steamer for sinuses can help if you are suffering from a cold or allergies and you can’t breathe comfortably, but consult your doctor first.

Flower Design Facial Steamers

Flower design is another popular design for in-home steam facial cleaners and makes for very aesthetically pleasant appliances. The mouth is narrower than on the flared design, which means you can target the steam better and the steam comes out with more force.

Unlike a flared facial steamer, a flower design one doesn’t have a detacheable cone which means they are more difficult to clean. However, if you are concerned about space or looking for a portable facial steamer they do tend to be smaller.

Professional Facial Steamers

A spa facial steamer is usually a pretty large appliance on wheels that are commonly found in professional spas and dermatologist offices. The general public won’t be able to buy the same professional facial steamer that your doctor uses, but there are some brands that manufacture very close matches.

Professional facial steamers have a different design that the tabletop facial steamers you will usually buy for in-home steam treatments. They have a wider body with a lid that you lift when you are ready to use  it.

Professional quality facial steamers also offer many features not available on simpler models:

  • Nano-ionic steam technology
  • Cool mists (used to tighten pores and reduce wrinkles)
  • Magnifying lamps
  • UV sterilisation

Panasonic produces several professional quality devices that are suitable for personal use.

Portable and Handheld Facial Steamers

You can find handheld facial steamers that weight around 4 pounds, which is perfect if you travel often and want to use your facial steamer on the go.

Portable facial steamers often come with a variety of detachable accessories which makes it easier to pack it up for transport. For maximum portability, buy one that is battery powered instead of mains powered.

Top Facial Steamers Manufacturers

The following brands are the most popular facial steamer manufacturers for both professional and personal use.

Panasonic Facial Steamers

Panasonic manufactures one of the most popular facial steamers on the market. They manufacture professional quality in-home facial steamers but they are not cheap. A Panasonic facial steamer is built to last, and will outlive cheaper models.

Dr. Denis Gross

Dr. Denis Gross has an extensive range of cruelty free, scientifically proven skincare products under his name. He has been working as a top rated dermatologist in New York City for over 25 years, which gives his facial steamer range the dermatologist approval.


What used to be a small manufacturer of hair styling products has now become a skincare and kitchen appliances producer. They have some of the best affordable facial steamers on the market, They may not be as effective as professional grade ones, but they are great to get your facial steaming journey started.


Similar to Conair, this manufacturer produces no-frlls cheap facial steamers that are perfect to try out the treatment at home. Despite being affordable, they actually last longer than white label facial steamers in the same price range.

DIY Facial Steamer

If you are not sure if buying a facial steamer is for you, give this DIY facial steamer a try first.

Just boil one or two cups of water, preferably distilled water because tap water has other chemicals you don’t want deep inside your pores. Wait for it to clean up, and gently wash your face meanwhile as explained above on how to use a facial steamer.

Pour the boiling hot water on a ceramic or glass bowl, carefully. Place your face above the bowl, and drape a towel around your head creating a steam trap. Make sure your skin feels hot but doesn’t burn. You can do this for up to 10 minutes, but you probably want to test first shorter periods to make sure your skin doesn’t negatively react.

You can add some herbs essential oils to the water for the ultimate spa experience. For example, eucalyptus leaves not only help cleanse the pores but will also help you breathe better if you have a cold or sinus infection.


Facial steamers come in a variety of shapes, each with different features and options. Before you spend money on one, try a DIY treatment to see if your actually enjoy it, and research the models more suited to your skin needs and your budget.

A facial steamer can be a fun and effective addition to your skincare routine and have near miraculous effects on oily skin types that suffer from acne. If you want to give them a try, check out my extensive guide to the best facial steamers before you buy.

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