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Does Steaming Your Face Help Acne?



Steaming your face will not help acne that has already erupted but may help to prevent it.

More Info: Some breakouts are caused when hair follicles become clogged when the oil of the sebaceous glands changes to a solid white substance called sebum. Steaming your face will allow the pores to open. Gently cleansing the face while the pores are open may help to keep them from becoming clogged.

How to Steam Your Face

You will need:

  • Teapot
  • Water
  • Deep, wide-brimmed, heat-safe bowl
  • Bath towel

Pull your hair back away from your face.  Wash your face thoroughly to remove all oil and makeup prior to steaming.

Fill a teapot with water and bring to a boil.  Allow to cool slightly.

Pour the hot water from the teapot into the bowl.

Place your face above the bowl approximately 10-12”.  The steam should feel soothing.  If it feels too hot, you are too close.

Drape the towel over your head and the bowl in a tent-like fashion to trap the steam.

Steam for ten minutes.

Immediately following your steam facial, splash your face with cold water to seal the pores.  Gently pat your face dry.


Hot steam is soothing, but it can also be dangerous if you are not careful.  When using steaming hot water, boil the water first, but wait for it to cool slightly before using it. Steam can burn just like hot water and has the potential to cause facial burns. For this reason, this method is only recommended for adults.

Steam Facial Recipe

If you are certain that you are not allergic, a few drops of essential oil can be added to your steam bowl to enhance your experience.

Tea tree oil:  Several studies have indicated that tea tree oil used topically may benefit acne breakouts.  [Enshaieh, 22]

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, diluted tea tree oil used topically is considered safe for most adults.  It may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis.  Tea tree oil should never be taken internally.

Echinacea: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, Echinacea has been used in the treatment of wounds and for skin problems such as acne (though there is little scientific evidence to support its effectivenss). [Zhai, 76]

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is generally considered safe for most adults.  Those that are most likely to have a sensitivity to Echinacea are also allergic to any plants in the daisy family.



“Acne: MedlinePlus.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010.

Irwin MD, Brandith. “Facing Adult Acne.” N.p., 1 Apr. 2003. Web. 27 July 2010.

Enshaieh, S, and et al. “The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study..” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology 73.1 (2207): 22-25. Print

” Tea Tree Oil : Science and Safety | NCCAM .” Home Page | NCCAM . N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2012.

Zhai, Z, ML Kohut, PA Murphy, JE Cunnick, ES Wurtele, L Wu, and A Solco. “Echinacea Increases Arginase Activity and Has Anti-inflammatory Properties in RAW 264.7 Macrophage Cells, Indicative of Alternative Macrophage Activation.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 122.1 (2009): 76-85. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 27 July 2010.

” Echinacea : Science and Safety | NCCAM .” Home Page | NCCAM . N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2012.

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