Moisturize Dry Skin: Herbal Face Steam
Facial Steams to Nourish Dry Winter Skin
I suffer from dry skin. Over the years, I've been told that to heal dry skin, I need to start nourishing from the inside, out. A good diet, such as our daily recommendation of water, can treat problematic skin. I happen to agree with this advice.
But let's be realistic for a moment. Diet may be an important component to healing dry skin, but it isn't the only natural skin care treatment.
There are many products that can work in moisturizing your skin. Among the most natural and effective treatments are facial steams.
Benefits of a Facial Steam
I began facial steams during my senior year in high school. Back then, I used it to moisturize my skin and treat my acne. Once my acne had cleared, I stopped no longer steamed. Instead, I used a facial mist, followed by a lotion to replace the moisture steaming had provided.
Fast forward to today, where I'm currently in the driest country I ever stepped foot in: Chile. Here, mists and face lotions aren't enough. For many who suffer from dry skin, they need a more intense treatment during the winter.
My skin and nature are in a constant battle, which is why I've returned to facial steams. I had a few questions regarding the process, and ways to make it a more effective treatment, so I turned to Dawna Martin from Dee's Transformations, who had all the information I needed.
"Facial steams increase the blood flow to your face and stimulates circulation," Martin said. This helps in hydrating and softening the skin.
"The heat also opens the pores and helps you to sweat out toxins and prepare your face for exfoliation and cleansing, Martin said. "It is a great way to begin a weekly or bi-weekly deep cleanse."
Steams can also be a great way to cleanse out your sinuses and help your respiratory system.
How Herbs Can Enhance Your Face Steam
On their own, face steams offer vast benefits. The moisture is great for softening skin's surface layer and for the removal of dead skin cells to create a clearer complexion. By adding natural herbs, you don't deter from the steam's benefits; you enhance them.
"Certain herbs help to break down oils, increase skin regeneration, help sooth rashes or heal blemishes," Martin said. "Through aromatherapy actions, the herbs can also help to change your mood."
Martin said that herbs can set the tone for your day, and a steam before bed is known to calm your mind for a peaceful night's rest.
"I say if you're going to steam, it's best to reap all the benefits you can," said Martin.
No Two Herbs are Alike
The "Right Herb" depends completely on your skin type. For dry skin, particularly during winter, herbs such as lavender are more effective than raspberry or parsley. When using Martin's herbal mix, it's advised to choose the herbs that will increase the results you desire for your skin type.
"Rosemary, parsley and raspberry are good for blemishes and helping get rid of oils," Martin said. "Lavender and rose are great for rejuvenating dry skin."
For general rejuvination, Martin recommends the herbs comfrey and calendula. "They're great for blemishes, and promoting more youthful skin."
Martin makes the most out of her herbal mixes by appealing to the aromatherapy aspects as well as the benefits they have on your skin. She uses citrus or mint herbs to clarity, which comes in handy for mornings when you don't want to get up. To calm and relax the mind, she recommends lavender and chamomile.
When using herbs for aromatherapy, it's important to do your research. Martin also recommends the use of 100% pure essential oils if you make your own herbal mix.
How to do a Facial Steam
"Steaming is a very simple process," Martin said. "All you need is boiling water, your herbs or essential oils, a safe surface to place your bowl, a hair tie, and a large towel."
Steps for a Facial Steam:
1. Boil water and remove it from the stove. Add the herbs or oils to the water.
2. Tie your hair back from your face. Place your face at a comfortable height above the bowl (this will depend on your heat tolerance).
3. Place the large towel over your head and drape it around the bowl. It should be touching the table and creating a space for the steam to gather and build.
4. Relax and breathe in the wonderful aromatic herbs, feel the pores opening and know that the toxins are clearing out.
"I usually steam for at least 5- 10 minutes, but if the water stays hot and steamy 15-20 is even better," Martin said. "Pay attention to how your body feels and listen to it. The idea is to open the pores and feel good, not to pass out from too much heat."
It's a good idea to follow up with a deep cleansing scrub.
"Something containing a little bit of scouring action," Martin said. "For example sea salt, sugar, ground nuts, oatmeal, or herbs. I make dry cleansers with these items and clays that you mix with water and use."
How Often Should I Facial Steam
Considering the aromatherapy benefits of herbal steaming, some people may enjoy this treatment everyday, or multiple times a week. However, when used daily, facial seams can create the opposite of your desired results. If used more than once or twice a week, steaming can lead to breakouts and dry skin.
Martin recommends steaming twice a week. You can follow up with a full "spa" routine by using a mask, toner, and/or refreshing mists; or you can steam by itself. Whichever you choose, Martin stresses the importance of closing the pores with either cold water or a toner after you rinse the toxins from your face.
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