One simple gadget; so many benefits.
Wendy Rose Gould
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With the bajillion complex skincare gadgets on the market, the concept of a facial steamer almost seems too simple. But there’s a reason this beauty device has such a devout following—and why you’d be hard-pressed to meet an esthetician who doesn’t use one routinely.
“Facial steamers are devices that heat a tank of water into a steam mist that is then directed toward the face,” says Suzanne Friedler, MD, board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC. “They are used to clean and hydrate the skin and ‘open’ pores.”
Intrigued? Here are the top facial steamer benefits, plus five steamers that are worth trying.
Benefits of Using a Facial Steamer
As mentioned, facial steamers are used to help get a deep clean, and the light mist simultaneously adds hydration to your skin. The benefits don’t stop there, though.
“Due to the heat, [facial steaming] can improve circulation because the blood vessels dilate and therefore more oxygen is able to get to your tissues,” says Naana Boakye, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Bergen Dermatology.
She adds that the warmth also helps topical skincare products absorb more deeply and hydrate more effectively. And while pores don’t have doors that “open” and “close,” facial steamers can help pores temporarily expand and loosens up the gunk hanging out inside, lessening the chance for breakouts. This also makes it easier to sweep away debris when cleansing afterward, and in a clinical setting it softens blackheads so they’re easier for your esthetician to extract.
Finally, let’s not discount the fact that facial steaming itself feels so good and has a relaxing, almost therapeutic effect.
Who Shouldn’t Use a Facial Steamer?
People with rosacea or very sensitive skin should steam less (or perhaps skip it entirely). Dermatologists say the heat dilates blood vessels, which can cause too much redness and flushing for skin that’s prone to this sort of reaction.
How Often Should You Use a Facial Steamer?
As with most things, moderation is key when it comes to using a facial steamer. Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says about once a week for five to 10 minutes is a great cadence for most skin types. “More than that can lead to drying out the skin,” she notes, which is the inverse of what we want to achieve.
Best Facial Steamers to Try
Ready to hop aboard the facial steamer bandwagon? These are our top picks.
Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer Clinical 10-in-1 Smart Steam
This new, professional-grade NanoSteamer features six clinical modes for different skin concerns—including dry, oily, aging, and breakout-prone—that allow you to fine-tune your steaming routine. The nozzle can be rotated 360-degrees and also comes with interchangeable attachments.
Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer
It makes sense that Dr. Friedler says this is one of her favorite facial steamers. After all, it was designed by a dermatologist! This simple, futuristic design delivers a gentle stream of micro-steam that seriously hydrates your skin while cleaning.
Flawless by Finishing Touch Facial Steamer
If you’re keeping your fingers crossed for an affordable alternative that still delivers some excellent steaming action, this is your pick. The device provides up to 15 minutes of steam, and it even comes with a double-sided mirror. So even when you’re not steaming it has a use!
Conair True Glow Moisturizing Mist Facial Sauna System
Here’s another budget-friendly find. This one features a cone-like design that creates a concentrated stream of warm steam. “This product includes an exfoliating brush and a nasal cone for targeting comedones on the nose, plus it’s budget friendly,” says Dr. King.
Vanity Planet Senia Hot and Cold Smart Facial Steamer
She’s a chic one. This steamer from Vanity Planet delivers a blissful oasis of aromatic steam and sensorial goodness. It features six beauty modes and allows you to choose between warm and cool. (The cold steam is a nice treat on hot days and can help visibly “tighten” your pores, as well.)