How Often Should You Steam Your Face?

Facial steaming has been around for centuries, but it has seen a bit of a revival in the skincare world over the past few years. Many people have a desire to add some sort of facial steaming into their routine, but are not sure where to start. We’ll dive into everything you should know about the treatment, including the skin benefits, safest ways to steam your face, and how often you should steam your skin. 

Is Steaming Your Face Actually Healthy?

Short answer: yes, facial steaming can be a useful addition to your skincare routine. It can help purge the skin of unwanted bacteria, dead skin cells, and excess sebum oil.

One of the biggest benefits of steaming your face is that it allows topical products to better penetrate into the skin. Both the heat and moisture make the skin more porous, which means your toners, serums and moisturizers can work deeper into the skin to deliver the best possible results.

Facial steaming can also help tackle dehydrated skin. While moisturizers and oils give the skin the moisture that it needs, it also needs hydration from water. By steaming your face and following up with a moisturizer that traps in the water, you’re helping boost your skin’s hydration levels. 

Many people also use facial steam for acne-prone skin. There’s a misconception that steaming opens up the pores to allow for easier removal of excess sebum and debris. This isn’t exactly the case, as pores don’t open and close. However, facial steaming does allow the debris stuck in the pores to soften. This makes it much easier to extract, and also allows your acne treatments to work more effectively.  

Steaming can also bolster your anti-aging routine. While steaming alone isn’t going to completely smooth out wrinkles or transform your face, it can encourage blood flow and deliver oxygen to the skin, and will also help plump your skin with hydration. This gives the complexion a more youthful glow. 

Best At-Home Face Steamers

While it is possible to just use a bowl of hot water to steam your face at home, there are better alternatives if you are willing to spend a few dollars. Using a specialized tool is the more effective option, as it gives your skin more consistent steam. Here are two at-home facial steamers I recommend checking out.

Best Overall:
Vanity Planet – Aira Ionic Facial Steamer

This modern steamer is often considered to be the best of the best. It uses ionic steam to effectively treat the face, and comes with the ability to add essential oils to the treatment. 

GoodGlow Score

4.6 /5 5/5 Product Rating
Clinically Proven

Modern Design

The steamer has a sleek and compact design.


Ionic Steam

The device emits nano water particles for optimal results.

clean blade

Essential Oil Baskets

Add your favorite essential oil to the basket to add aromatherapy benefits to your treatment.


Steady Steam

The device emits a strong and steady stream of steam.

The Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer is one of the best options on the market. It produces ionic steam made of super small water molecules that effectively treat the face. The device emits a strong and steady stream of steam, so you’ll get consistent results every time you use it.  

Beyond the quality of the steaming power, a big benefit of this device is that it comes with essential oil baskets. This allows you to elevate the steaming experience by adding in some aromatherapy. It also has a sleek, modern design that comes in two different colors. Additionally, the device is fairly compact, and won’t look clunky on your vanity. 

Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer Pros:

  • High-quality device that emits effective ionic steam. 
  • Comes with essential oil baskets. 
  • Compact device with modern design.

Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer Cons:

  • Some reviewers note it can be difficult to remove the water tank. 
  • Not wireless.

Best Budget:
Conair – Gentle Mist Moisturizing Facial Steamer

This Conair device is one of the best drugstore facial steamers on the market. It covers a wide area with steam, and also comes with different timer settings so you can create your perfect treatment. 

GoodGlow Score

4.3 /5 4.5/5 Product Rating


The device is sold at a lower price point compared to other similar devices on the market.

Protecting Skin

Option for Concentrated Treatment

You can rest your face against the cone of the device to allow for a more concentrated treatment.

Two Side

Wide Steam Coverage

The device covers a wide area with steam, which makes it easy to treat the entire face at once.


Different Timer Settings

The steamer has seven timer settings, and will shut off automatically.

If you’d prefer a more budget friendly option, a drugstore steamer worth considering is the Conair Gentle Mist Moisturizing Facial Steamer. The steam covers a wide range of space, which means you can easily treat the entire face at once. You can also easily rest your face on the device to allow for a more concentrated treatment. 

One key way in which this steamer differs from the Vanity Planet steamer is that it is wireless, which can be beneficial for those looking for a more versatile option. That said, you should note that it is battery powered, not rechargeable. 

Conair Gentle Mist Moisturizing Facial Steamer Pros:

  • Emits a wide range of steam for full face treatment. 
  • Device has seven timer settings and will automatically shut off. 

Conair Gentle Mist Moisturizing Facial Steamer Cons: 

  • Takes longer for the device to start steaming compared to others on the market. 
  • Device doesn’t come with essential oil baskets.

If you don’t want to buy a facial steamer another option would be a gym or health club that has a steam room or sauna. If you use one of these just remember to take a shower as soon as you get done so you wash all the impurities off of your face, and do not give them a chance to absorb back into your pores.

Does Face Steaming Help with Blackhead Removal?

Yes, facial steaming can help the blackhead removal process. By loosening up the debris stuck in the pores, facial steaming makes it much easier and safer to remove blackheads. That said, it’s important to go in with a blackhead removal tool (called a comedone extractor), rather than squeezing with your fingers, as you’re much more likely to harm your skin with your fingers. You also need to take a gentle approach when using the tool, as applying too much pressure can also damage the skin. If your blackheads still aren’t budging after steaming and attempting to extract with a tool, it’s time to go to a professional who knows how to safely remove deep blackheads. 

Does Face Steaming Help with Dry Skin?

Although they sound similar its important to note the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Dry skin types are lacking in moisture (which comes from oils and moisturizers), whereas dehydrated skin needs extra hydration (which comes from water). Of course, your skin can be both dry (lacking moisture) and dehydrated (lacking water). 

With that said, face steaming can support dry skin both in terms of moisture and hydration. Since the process makes the skin more permeable, it can support dry skin by allowing moisturizers and oils to absorb more effectively. Additionally, if you have dry skin that is also dehydrated, face steaming will give your skin an extra boost of water that can be sealed into your skin with your moisturizer. 

Does Face Steaming Help with Oily Skin?

Face steaming can support oily skin in a few different ways. It may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin can often also be dehydrated. When the skin is dehydrated, it can produce excess sebum in an attempt to compensate for the lack of water. By hydrating your skin with steam (and sealing it in with an oily skin-friendly moisturizer), you can help bring the skin back into balance to keep oil production in check.

Additionally, since oily skin is often prone to clogged pores and acne, face steaming can help by softening excess sebum stuck in the pores. This will help decongest the skin for a clearer complexion. 

Potential Risks of Steaming Your Face

Facial steaming isn’t completely risk free. By overexposing your skin to steam, you run the risk of drying out and aggravating the skin. Too much steam can also irritate active breakouts and trigger acne

While facial steaming is generally considered a safe practice for most skin types, there are some exceptions. Those who are prone to rosacea and/or redness should avoid facial steaming, as the heat can cause rosacea flare ups and may worsen redness. If you have eczema, you should also use caution, since steam can also trigger symptoms. Similarly, those with particularly sensitive skin may want to skip out on steaming. 

If you still want to try steaming, limit your treatment time to just a couple minutes to see how your skin reacts. You can also talk to your dermatologist to determine whether facial steaming is a suitable option for you. 

How to Steam Your Face

Let’s go over the steps for how to steam your face using a facial steaming device. If you have longer hair, you’ll want to put it back so that it doesn’t get in the way. If your device doesn’t have a built-in timer, you’ll also want your phone nearby so that you can set a timer. Additionally, have your skincare products on hand to follow up with after the treatment (we’ll cover some recommendations below).

  • Cleanse Your Face: Prep your skin by washing away makeup and sunscreen, as well as any dirt, oil, and debris that has collected on your skin throughout the day. Cleansing before steaming is essential, as steaming unclean skin can cause debris on the skin to get trapped in the pores. 
  • Set Up Your Device: Thoroughly read the instructions of the specific device you’ve chosen to get started. Fill the water tank and turn it on to allow the steam to start working.
  • Set a Timer: Before getting started, set a timer – either on your device or on your phone. When you’re first starting off, set a timer for just a couple minutes. If your skin is tolerating the steam, you can continue for up to a total of 10 minutes. 
  • Start Steaming: Once the device has started emitting steam, you’re ready to go! Keep your face about 6 to 10 inches away from the device to allow the steam to treat without burning the skin. Continue steaming until your timer goes off. 

How to Help Your Skin After Steaming Your Face

Facial steamers are great for preparing your skin for a face mask, so consider using your favorite mask after the steaming treatment. Those prone to breakouts might choose a face mask designed to treat acne. You can also use exfoliating masks, calming masks, brightening masks, or just about any other formula that helps target your specific concerns. 

After washing off your mask, you can go in with a serum (or multiple serums). You can also do this immediately after steaming your skin if you choose to skip the mask. Simply pat off any excess water with a towel before applying your serum. Finish off your routine with a moisturizer, as well as an oil if you use them in your routine. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my skin steamed at a medical spa?

Yes, face steaming is often used as one of the first steps of a facial to help with extractions and to allow the treatment to fully absorb into the skin. However, med spas typically don’t offer standalone facial steaming treatments. 

Can I apply ice after steaming my face?

Just like with facial steamers “opening” the pores, there is a misconception that super cold water or ice can help “close” the pores. However, as discussed, pores don’t open or close – so there’s really no need to do this. There isn’t much of a benefit, beyond feeling nice on the skin and temporarily soothing the complexion. 
If you do like icing your face for the cooling and calming sensation, be sure to wrap it in a paper towel, as applying ice directly to the skin can cause irritation. You can also just splash your skin with cold water. That said, this step is by no means necessary.  

What is the best time to steam my face?

You can steam your face in the morning or at night – it ultimately depends on what works with your routine. The most important thing is to washing your face afterwards. Many people choose to steam in the evening, when they have a bit more time to dedicate to their routine. It can also be a relaxing treatment to do before bed. 

How often can I steam my face?

Once a week is generally considered to be a good frequency for steaming the skin, but this will differ from person to person. If you have oilier skin, you may be able to steam a bit more often – around two to three times a week. Start with steaming once a week, and adjust your frequency as you see fit. That said, those with more sensitive skin may choose to steam even less, depending on what works for their skin.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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Analyzed by Kyra Heenan
Kyra is a Los Angeles-based content writer. She started her career after graduating from Santa Clara University, and has since worked with countless companies and online journals in the greater health, wellness, and beauty industries.

In the skincare space, she has partnered with numerous skin and beauty companies, helping to create informative content for their businesses. This includes popular skincare lines, men’s grooming brands, beauty tool companies, and natural supplement brands. She also works regularly with online publications (like GoodGlow!), writing review pieces and educational articles on acne treatments, anti-aging practices, viral skincare trends, and everything in between.

As someone who has been a skincare fanatic since her teens, she enjoys helping others learn the intricacies of skincare so that they can create a routine that works perfectly for their unique needs and lifestyle. She spent plenty of time making skincare mistakes as a teenager, and hopes to steer others in the right direction! The world of skincare can be complicated, so she aims to break down the endless information so that readers can take actionable steps. She also believes caring for your complexion holistically is essential. Being consistent with the solutions we put on our skin is equally as important as being mindful of what we are putting in our bodies.

Kyra is always on top of industry trends, and loves testing out new products and exploring new-to-her ingredients to see how they stack up. That said, she believes that following the tried-and-true science (and having a bit of patience!) is key for getting your best skin yet.

When not obsessing over skincare (and helping friends and family members perfect their routines), she can be found exploring her other interests in the health and wellness world, including meditation, yoga, cooking, and hiking. She is also an avid traveler, and runs her own travel blog. Read more of Kyra's articles.

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