Saunas for Acne: Does it work?
The thought of sitting in a hot, sweaty room might not sound like a good remedy to your acne… yet it could be exactly what you need to give your skin a workout and sweat the pimples away.
Often acne is caused by androgen. This hormone causes the oil glands in your skin to swell and produce excess sebum – that liquid that comes out of spots and builds up on greasy skin types. The sebum builds, swelling in your pores, capturing dirt and becoming a playground for bacteria.
Using steam or heat (e.g. washing your face with hot water) is a known way to get your sebum flowing and let the clogged glands function as normal.
Adding heat to your spots causes them to open. The pores on your face, which are usually tightly shut, will open and the dirt, bacteria, toxins or just sebum will be exposed. As your face heats up, this sebum becomes soft and more liquid-like. Along with sweat, it pours from your pores and unclogs them. Any dirt or bacteria lingering in there that’s creating a spot (usually a blackhead) will be pushed out.
As for whiteheads, the added heat from the sauna and expansion of sebum can cause them to pop – or make them easier to pop. If that does happen, following the steps below to care for your skin and keep your pores clean is especially important to prevent further infection.
What you need to do:
Prep for your Sauna!
- Pack: Take 2 towels (one for sitting in the sauna, one for drying off afterward), dermatological soap that’s safe for your body and face, a gentle exfoliating loofah, and clean clothes if you’re working out before using the sauna.
- Drink plenty of water: The sauna will dehydrate you so make sure you are fully hydrated before you step inside.
- Wash your face with clean water: You don’t need to use a special cleanser unless you have one already. This pre-wash is just above removing any sweat or makeup on your face before you enter the sauna. If it’s not washed off, it can back-clog your pores and stop them from opening and sweating out.
- Relax in the sauna for approximately 15 minutes: The heat will open your pores and the sweat will naturally push out the dirt, sebum, and bacteria that are causing your acne. You can massage the area with a clean cloth or just your fingers if you feel the need to.
- Leave the sauna and immediately rinse your face to get rid of the sweat and dirt that you’ve expelled while your pores are still open. Make sure your body cools down (a cold shower does the trick) before you start round 2 in the sauna or cleanse thoroughly with the soap you have.
- If you’ve finished in the sauna, make sure you immediately wash and cool down to close your pores. Then use your skin-friendly soap and gentle loofah to wash away any lingering oils and dirt.