Below, a dermatologist and esthetician share their picks for the best facial steamers to use at home, plus everything you need to know about how (and why) you should use them.
Shop the best facial steamers
Conair True Glow Moisturizing Mist Facial Sauna System – $40.00
For just $40, this steam iron will give you everything you need for a full face at home. After steaming, use an exfoliating brush to remove dead skin, then apply moisturizer with a sponge head (both included with your purchase). In addition to the face-sized cone, it comes with a smaller nose cone which is great for targeting pimples on your nose.
Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer Ionic Facial Steamer – $34.00
This cult-favorite steamer has garnered tens of thousands of five-star reviews. It is steamed using an ion generator, which is what professionals use in their offices and helps enhance the detoxifying properties of the steam. It also comes with a blemish removal kit to help you get rid of blackheads.
Panasonic High Quality Facial Steamer – $45.00
What’s great about this device is the fact that it has a built-in UV lamp, which sterilizes the steam before it touches your face so you get the most pure and effective treatment. It combines its own heating element with an ultrasonic vaporizer, which is said to enhance cell vitality and oxygen uptake in the skin.
Lonove Nano Ionic Face Steamer for Home – $15.00
With a full tank, this iron will work for eight minutes, which is just enough time to give your face the recommended treatment. It produces nano steam particles to really help open and unclog pores, and it’s designed with a unique cleaning system, which means the steam is absolutely pure. Although it creates a strong fog, it works remarkably quietly. When done, the steamer has an automatic shut-off feature.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care Facial Steamer – $149.00
This steamer is a splurge compared to the others on this list, but according to Worden, it’s worth the price. It has a wide nozzle that covers your entire face, uses nanotechnology for maximum hydration, and automatically shuts off after 10 minutes once the steam session is completed.
Benefits of facial steaming
“Steaming the face can help moisturize and soften the outer layer of the skin,” he says. Hadley King, MD, a board certified dermatologist based in New York City. “By moisturizing the skin, it also helps increase the penetration of topical active ingredients immediately after steaming.” This means that when you apply your usual serums to fresh, steamed skin, they will be able to reach deep into your skin in order to do their jobs more effectively. The same is true for moisturizers: “When followed by moisturizers, steaming can help add moisture to the skin,” adds Dr. King.
Steaming can also be helpful in preparing your skin for the extraction process, which explains why facial estheticians rely on the process before they squeeze out blackheads. “It can loosen keratinic debris and fat…so it will be much easier to extract comedones,” says Dr. King. “Heat increases blood circulation and can help pimples or cysts reach the head. “It’s also great as a precursor to any exfoliators or targeted treatments because it’s easier to dissolve dead and dull skin cells from the surface once the skin is smoothed out with steam.”
Who should (and shouldn’t) use a facial steamer at home
Says Taylor Worden, esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Knife, referring to the pore-opening and sebum-reducing properties of steaming. Some dry skin types can also benefit from this process thanks to its moisturizing and softening benefits, but if your skin is extremely dry, eczema or rosacea, it is best to stay away from steam to avoid irritation. And if you’re prone to redness, Dr. King suggests you proceed with caution, as the heat from the steam dilates blood vessels which can cause the skin to redden.
How to use a facial steamer
There are several different ways you can incorporate a home facial steamer into your regular routine. Use it after cleansing your skin to open up your pores before applying the rest of the products in your system, or before doing your own extractions (although you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it the right way, more about it can be read here).
As far as frequency goes, professionals suggest limiting your use of steam to once or twice a week for five to ten minutes. “More than that can lead to dry skin,” says Dr. King.
It is also important to keep your face at least 6 to 10 inches away from the water. the reason? “You don’t want to risk getting too close and getting a burn,” says Dr. King. Ships have more safety mechanisms [than your usual pot of boiling water]But you still have to make sure you keep your face at a safe distance.”
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