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Facials: Should I Steam My Face Before or After Cleansing?

If you’ve ever received a facial from a dermatologist, esthetician, or other skin care provider, you may vividly remember the part where they steamed your skin. That’s right: during facials, steamers are often used for a variety of reasons. They’ve become so popular that many people have at-home facial steamers! So when in your skin care routine does it make the best sense to use a steamer – before or after cleansing? And why do it at all?

Do You Cleanse Before or After Steaming Your Face?

Let’s answer the big question first: steaming your face should come immediately after cleansing (and exfoliating, if that is part of your facial treatment.) Cleansing and exfoliating the skin is a necessary part of unclogging pores. And this means removing everything that’s lying on the surface of your skin – dirt, makeup, sweat, debris, and yes, even bacteria.

With exfoliation, you also remove dead skin cells that can plug the pores, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and pustules. Plus, with a good exfoliation treatment, you can expect fresh skin cell growth – including the return of some collagen and elastin to the skin, which provides the suppleness and youthfulness of healthy-looking skin.

How to Steam Your Face

Once you’ve gotten cleansing and exfoliation out of the way, your esthetician will use a medical-grade steamer filled with distilled water. Typically, they’ll allow this machine to heat up for a few minutes while they’re cleansing your skin.

Steamers can be used on the face anywhere from two to ten minutes, depending on how closed or clogged the pores are.

Why Steam Your Face At All?

The benefits of steaming are many! For one, steaming opens your pores in a way that allows for easier blackhead extraction as well as deeper product penetration. For extractions, you should never attempt to pick at blackheads at home, but instead, trust a board-certified professional who can extract them using a stainless steel loop extraction tool – without scarring the skin.

Once the pores are open from the cleansing, exfoliation, and steaming, your skin care products – including masks, peels, serums, and moisturizers – will no longer have to bypass a layer of dead skin or try to penetrate closed-up pores. Instead, they can be more fully absorbed into the open pores, doing their job more effectively.

Finally, steaming also increases blood flow, which means more oxygen to your skin. And this is a beneficial thing: your skin can look firmer, plumper, and more youthful with that added circulation.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology

Steaming your face at home is a great treatment to have in your skin care regimen. But getting a facial from a professional – including the use of a medical-grade facial steamer – can be of even more benefit. A professional can treat your skin with their expert lens and make extractions without scarring. If you’re located in the greater New York City area and want this kind of professional facial treatment, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists.

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