Recently, I was indulging in one of my favorite pastimes, sitting in the steam room in the Korean spa (not with these little munchkins, although it would have made the experience far cuter). I love it for many reasons, including the post-steam clarity and glow of my skin and feeling like I’m back in the womb. However, I realized that I did not know the specific reasons on why steaming is a staple of the facials and touted as being beneficial for the skin.
After a little digging, I found that the moisture in steam opens up your pores and softens up those pesky skin cells that accumulate and lead to acne. Once your pores are open, gentle exfoliation becomes more effective and it becomes easier to clear the junk sitting inside. Additionally, any medication you apply after steaming is absorbed a little better. A study in the journal Dermatology demonstrated that warm air from the sauna (and steam room) increases circulation to the skin, improves skin barrier function and in fact, lowers the amount of sebum of the skin, a big player in the development of unsightly zits. However, if you have rosacea or fungal infections, the warmth and humidity can worsen those conditions.
All in all, looks like steaming does more good than harm. But don’t get too carried away, there’s no need to go out and buy a steaming machine. The steam from your shower or a nice, relaxing moment in the steam room is sufficient enough to open those pores up to effectively cleanse, exfoliate and medicate. If any of y’all are in LA or NYC, try Wi Spa or King Spa for a true K-spa experience. Take a break from WERQ and pamper yoself!