Do Saunas Help Acne? (Pimples, Pores, Break Outs, & More!)

If you’re planning on taking a relaxing break in the sauna, but you wake up with a fresh breakout. Should you reschedule your self-care day, or could the steam actually be good for your skin?

Using a sauna or steam room can help treat or prevent mild cases of acne due to its ability to open pores, tighten skin, and reduce sebum production. However, intense heat and steam can also irritate more severe cases of acne, especially cystic acne and cause more complications.

Keep reading to learn how sitting in a sauna is good for your skin, and what skin reaction you’re likely to see after your time in the heat.

Can using a sauna help reduce or eliminate acne?

You’ve probably heard tips for achieving healthy skin since your very first pimple popped up during puberty. Undoubtedly you’ve heard proponents of both hot and cold showers, and dermatologists have split the difference and recommend lukewarm water. If hot water dries your skin out, what affect does the heat and skin of a sauna have?

For people with acne-prone skin, saunas can be a great relief. Saunas offer significant health benefits for the skin, and their steam causes the body to produce less sebum (a known cause of skin acne). 

In a Finnish study focused on the effects of regular sauna use and its effects on epidermal barrier function, it was discovered that participants regularly using a sauna experienced a more stable epidermal barrier function, more hydration, faster recovery from water loss and skin pH, as well as a decrease in skin sebum on the forehead. 

Basically, this means that regular sauna time can toughen your skin (in the good way), help balance it, and reduce forehead oiliness (which can help reduce acne).

Interestingly, LED masks have become a popular form of skincare routine in recent years. Similarly, infrared saunas offer many health benefits by raising the body’s core temperature rather than the temperature surrounding you. This high-tech method of sauna use has proven to help the body detox and maintain healthy, radiant skin. 

Ultimately, sitting in a sauna causes the body to sweat and open pores of the skin. When this occurs, the body will detoxify by releasing toxins, sebum, and other oils that can cause acne to appear. 

An important note is that although sauna use does help acne and offer skin benefits, it is vital to clean the skin after each sauna use. The steam or infrared lights will cause the body’s temperature to increase and lead the body to sweat, which can actually lead to breakouts if not washed off. 

Showering or bathing after each sauna use is essential to clean the skin after detoxifying. Cleansing the skin will prevent the bacteria and toxins from getting trapped in the skin again, causing acne to appear. 

Can the sauna make acne worse?

You may be wondering what happens to the pimples and breakouts that are already on your skin and if sauna use will make it worse?

While increasing heat, saunas cause the body to sweat, which helps relieve acne-prone skin. While sweating in a sauna, your body’s pH level is regulated. With this, there is a reduction in oiliness, much like what occurs during exercise. 

While sweating, your body will:

  • Boost circulation
  • Reduce acne breakouts 
  • Heal existing acne breakouts 
  • Moisturize the skin 
  • Repel harmful bacteria 

If someone has a severe skin condition like eczema, cystic acne, or psoriasis, using a sauna may not be beneficial.

It may cause the skin to worsen or become more irritated. However, research has shown that some people with auto-immune disorders and chronic problems like psoriasis or eczema can find relief from using infrared saunas in short intervals. 

Is heat good for acne?

Pores of the skin relax and dilate under high temperatures. This process helps the toxins, bacteria, and oil stuck in the skin release. The heat helps treat acne by assisting the body in opening pores of the skin. 

After using steam, sauna, or infrared light to clear skin, it is essential to use cold water or a cold compress to close the pores. The cold will constrict the pores and help prevent other bacteria or toxins from being reabsorbed. 

Modern skincare methods include steam facials and infrared light therapy for deeper skin cleansing. In moderation, these methods have proven to be effective for relieving skin acne. 

Can the sauna cause new acne breakouts?

Sauna use causes the body to sweat and release toxins. Much like during exercise, the circulation increases, and the body detoxifies through the skin.

After sweating, a sauna user will need to cleanse the skin to prevent the bacteria and toxins from sweating from being reabsorbed. Cleaning the skin will prevent trapping oil, sebum, and bacteria that can cause acne to appear. 

Does the sauna help with acne scars?

Since acne is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the skin, there are many skin benefits to using saunas and infrared therapy.

Infrared saunas can help treat existing acne and also lessen the appearance of acne scars. Infrared heat causes the body’s core temperature to increase, prompting the body to release toxins and rejuvenate the skin. 

The increase in circulation helps oxygen to get through the body, helping the appearance of scars and even wrinkles to lessen. LED light therapy has also been shown to improve the skin’s tone and texture. Through this, the body’s cell regeneration increases, wounds heal, and human tissue can grow. 

Can the sauna help remove blackheads?

Ultimately, sweating in a sauna has purifying effects.

Sweat causes pores to clean out any bacteria, toxins, dead cells, and dirt. Blackheads are often caused by dirt stuck in pores.

The moderate use of a sauna promotes healthy, radiant skin through the cleansing of pores. Consistency is vital for keeping skin clean and healthy. 

Is the steam room or sauna better for acne?

In a steam room, you will encounter much steam versus saunas like infrared saunas that offer dry heat.

Both are beneficial and aid with detoxifying skin. If you prefer to see the steam and start sweating more quickly physically, a steam room may be better for you to use. 

Either way, both steam rooms, and saunas help the body detoxify and remove bacteria or dirt from the skin’s pores. The continual and moderate use of steam or saunas will help the body get rid of acne, heal scars, and prevent new acne from developing. 

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