There are a few questions that seem to divide people and can either bring them closer together or spread them apart. All of these include serious questions such as; fork or spoon when you eat mac n cheese? Chunky or smooth peanut butter? Milk or Melk? Crust or no crust on your sandwich? Thick or thin crust? And my all-time favorite: steam-room or sauna?
While most of these questions can only have one straight forward answer, I never understood why people choose just one over the other when it comes to steam rooms or saunas. People can use both and in most cases should use both. While each has its own benefits, when used together they can greatly benefit your overall health, specifically your skin health.
To better understand how you can use both to benefit your skin; you should first understand exactly what the difference between each room is, and how they both work. Come take a quick glance at all the FAQ so you can start getting that skin you envy.
Steam Room FAQ’s
What is a steam room?
A steam room or sometimes called steam bath by weirdos, is an enclosed room that is heated with steam. The steam is often generated via water that is heated by a pump and comes out into the room from a spout. The room fills with warm heated water in the form of, you got it Linda, steam. Most steam rooms are found in gyms or spas.
Good steam rooms will have a slanted ceiling so when the steam collects in water drops it doesn’t fall on the people sitting inside but will slide down the slant into a drain.
Temperatures of steam rooms vary at 110° to 114° Fahrenheit and have a humidity level of 100%.
Most steam rooms are made out of waterproof material such as tile or any nonporous material. Steam rooms typically have a few levels of steps wide enough to be used as benches. The higher up you sit the warmer you’ll be.
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What is a sauna?
A sauna is an enclosed room that is heated via dry heat. There are a few different heat sources for saunas that include:
- Wood burning – heated via wood and rocks
- Electrically – heated with an electrical heater that is typically attached to the floor
- Infrared – lamps use lightwaves to heat the person’s body, not the entire room
You might see a few saunas with rocks that you can pour water over to let out a burst of steam but it is VERY IMPORTANT you read all posted signs. Those who try to pour water over fake rocks in an electrically heated sauna can cause fire, shock or can even get electrocuted.
Temperatures of saunas range between 158° to 212° Fahrenheit and the humidity is typically kept at 0. Some saunas will try to have humidity levels of 0-20%.
Most saunas are made out of wood or some type of wood material. They typically have benches like steam rooms that also double as seats.
Skin Health – Sauna & Steam Room
Both the steam room and sauna will help open up your pores and cleanse your outer skin layer. Since each room is heated at such a high temperature, you are going to sweat; when you sweat you get rid of harmful toxins. Once toxins are eliminated from the body you have less risk of showing skin irritations such as acne, blackheads or rashes. Clear skin is smooth skin.
Use of both will also help you shed dead skin faster. Your body sheds its skin every 30 days and when you use a sauna with the steam room you are helping your body shed your skin more effectively and efficiently, leaving you with that glowy skin look.
Helps With Daily Skin Routines
As we went over above, both rooms will help open and clean your pores. When pores are open your skin is going to absorb your skin products more beneficially, and in doing so will actually be able to help your skin in the way the products were meant to.
The first thing people often notice after paring heated rooms with their daily skin care routine is the results. Skin care products take years to make and should do what they say. If you aren’t noticing results it is most likely because your pores are clogged and you are not properly washing your face; it’s not because the products are full of shit.
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Heated Rooms + Skin Care Routine
The first thing you want to remember is the steam room and sauna should be used AFTER you work out. Using it before is going to cause unnecessary irritation. Once you’re in the heated rooms your muscles get loose from the heat and looser muscles are great for recovery but awful as a warmup before working out. I’ve seen people do it and then I’ve seen those said people walking around with injuries a few weeks later. These rooms should be seen as a reward for your hard work and should be used as relaxation time.
Before you enter the sauna, make sure you wash your face! Water with a towel is fine, or a cleansing towelette would be great! I would recommend using the sauna before the steam room. Typically in facials, you get steam towards the end as to help keep moisture by your face to prevent overly dry skin and to penetrate into more layers of your skin.
After using the rooms you should shower or at least rewash your face. After you have washed your face; use your skin care products right away because this is when your pores will be the most open and your skin will benefit the most from what you are putting on.
If you don’t do much as far as a skincare routine, I suggest at least investing in a nice cleanser and moisturizer. Preventing wrinkles is easier then reacting to them and no matter how superficial you may be, why have wrinkles if you can help prevent them?
Important to note: DO NOT do a full facial or skin care regimen before going into saunas/steam room or in the rooms themselves. The products will mix with your sweat and it can cause irritation and breakouts. Don’t roll your eyes, Linda, I’ve seen you try it before.
I have my cosmetology license and while, YES, steam is used during some facials, we balance out the PH between steps to bring the skin back to a proper level. We are able to do this because the client is laying down and we have fresh, clean towels we wipe between each step. Since we keep your body cool and the steam only hits your face, your heart rate doesn’t rise to a high level and cause much sweat during the procedure. Thus preventing sweat from mixing with the products used.
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Sauna Benefits For Your Skin
Truth be told, going to a sauna is walking a fine line for skin benefits. Some skin illnesses will be negatively affected by saunas, such as atopic dermatitis, while others will benefit from the dry heat. A few medical ailments that will be benefited by the use of the sauna include:
A sauna can also help the reproduction of collagen, which helps your overall skin elasticity and helps promote new cell growth.
Ever notice why your skin is better in the dryer months vs more humid ones? It’s because of the temperature and humidity. Saunas can mimic these benefits and be super beneficial for those who deal with oily or greasy skin. Using the sauna every day can help control your skin and its overly active glands.
Extra Health Benefits
Because saunas can get to such a high temperature, it can be a great way to flush out infections that can cause colds and the flu. At the first sign of either, it is smart to spend some extra time in the sauna so you can start to sweat out whatever bug you may have come into contact with.
Since it is a dry environment, you can flush the infections out safely without re-spreading it to yourself via sweat or things you touch. You also won’t infect anyone else since it is so dry and won’t be left over via sweat on the benches or surrounding surfaces!
One of the great benefits of a sauna is you can enjoy one in the comfort of your very own home. They really aren’t that much and can be delivered to your home with the option of professional set up. There are a number of options on the market and the best part is you only have to keep it on when you want to use it. This means you won’t be charged an arm and a leg for your electrical bill!
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Steam Room Benefits For Your Skin
A big thing off the bat steam rooms can provide for a person is the effects of improved circulation. Great for your heart health and can help promote the healing of broken skin tissue, which can help heal scars, diminish scar tissue and help heal smaller burn marks. Pair this with a scar healing ointment and you will see improvement in no time!
Steam Room + Stress Reduction = Less Wrinkles
Because the steam room has 100% humidity, it is overall more comfortable for people to sit in. The overall room atmosphere of the heat mixed with the water gives a very healing experience that can reduce stress. Why is this helpful? Stress produces a hormone called cortisol which is what gives people wrinkles and acne. Less stress means you got it Linda, fewer wrinkles and diminished acne.
Stress can also make your skin more sensitive and reactive. Reducing stress will reduce wear and tear on your face, which may include overproduction of oil. There is a big difference between glowy skin and oily skin, and using the steam room will help you achieve the one you actually want.
Unlike saunas, steam rooms will help release toxins that are trapped below the skins first few layers. Dry heat can only penetrate so far and this is where the use of a steam room can really go the extra mile. Steam helps loosen the toxins and aids them in getting released via the steam.
While there are many benefits to going in both the steam room and sauna; the benefits for your skin really stand out. Go ahead, treat yo self and schedule in some time for those heated rooms after your workout!
It should be noted that you should not enter one if you are under the age of 13 or are pregnant. Additionally, you should not ever spend more than 30 minutes inside, and new users should only spend 10 minutes to start.
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Ladies, I’m just going to come out with it and be honest with ya. From thoroughly researching this topic it is important to know you need to keep your lady friend downstairs in mind when going into saunas and steam rooms.
Yes, you can go naked in the steam room, but it is suggested you cover up your vagina. Exposing your vagina to such warm and moist temps can mess with the PH and cause irritation. In some cases, a yeast infection can occur.
Your lady part wasn’t meant to be put in such extreme temperatures, and for those who are totally bare, you should really be careful! It is highly suggested you wear underwear or at the very least sit on a towel! Those who have some hair are going to be better protected from the elements because you have a natural barrier if you get what I’m saying.