Is Sauna Good for Wrinkles? (How Heat & Humidity Could Help)

The sauna is a great place to release toxins from the body. It definitely feels refreshing, but can the sauna also be good for wrinkles?

The sauna is good for wrinkles because it has anti-inflammatory properties, enhances blood flow, and detoxifies your pores. After participants used the sauna, a study found an increase in collagen and elastin production, resulting in a 15% wrinkle decrease after 60 days. Pair your sauna routine with retinol for the best results.

Continue reading to find out if the sauna helps get rid of wrinkles, how to use one for wrinkle prevention, and about after sauna skincare!

Does the sauna help get rid of wrinkles?

When considering if the sauna helps get rid of wrinkles, you have to look at the science.

While the sauna doesn’t help get rid of wrinkles, it can help reduce their appearance and prevent new ones from forming. The sauna has the following anti-aging benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Pore detoxification
  • Collagen production
  • Skin cell turnover
  • Enhanced blood flow
  • Better skincare absorption

All of these factors contribute to keeping the skin firm, smooth, and healthy, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation breaks down collagen and elastin (two vital components of aging gracefully), thus causing an increase in wrinkle production.

According to a 2017 study from the European Journal of Epidemiology, repeated sauna exposure is linked to reducing inflammation that causes acute and chronic disease. Traditional saunas, in particular, reduce oxidative stress. This improves the appearance of your skin. 

Your body is like an ecosystem- any inflammation that occurs inside likely impacts your skin and other aspects of your physiology. The sauna does a good job of controlling this.

Pore Detoxification

Cleaning out your pores is a proven way to reduce acne. Turns out, it also helps with wrinkles.

Wrinkles are a genetic factor but also have to do with your environment. At around 150 °F, the sauna aids in opening up your pores to expel dirt and maintain the skin’s appearance. Your epidermis, which comes in contact with the environment most, has to be taken care of. 

If you’ve noticed, people with poor diets and a lack of self-care usually age more quickly. The sauna helps your body get rid of pore-clogging toxins that contribute to acne and wrinkles.

Collagen Production

As we age, our collagen levels naturally decrease. Wrinkles form because the connective tissue in your skin breaks down due to a protein deficiency.

By using heat to increase dermal matrix synthesis, saunas enhance our body’s natural collagen production. High temperatures also improve blood flow, which delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the dermis (where collagen is made). 

A 2014 study proved that increasing our body’s collagen results in a 15% decrease in wrinkles after 60 days. Additionally, study participants saw about a 32% improvement in photoaging, and about 40% had more moisturized skin.

You can ingest collagen protein in the form of powder or capsules. However, it’s best to encourage your body to produce collagen from the inside out instead of supplementing.

Skin Cell Turnover

Dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your face create a dull appearance. Additionally, older, dryer skin is a better baseline for wrinkles to form.

As we age, UV rays cause free radicals to form at a faster rate, while skin cell turnover slows. The sauna is able to speed this process back up by stimulating blood flood and opening up your pores to induce a natural exfoliation process.

It’s essential to get rid of the old to make room for a new youthful glow!

Enhanced Blood Flow

Without proper blood flow, the nutrients you put into your body don’t get where they need to go.

The sauna helps encourage healthier skin by gently opening up your pores and facilitating blood flow that delivers oxygen and collagen (without causing redness or irritation). 

When you enter a sauna, you’re immediately warmed up by about 5-6 degrees Celsius (about 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Because your temperature is elevated, your blood flow naturally increases to help regulate that temperature.

Better Skincare Absorption

Skincare, skincare, skincare! I am nothing without my 24-step skincare routine.

Using skincare products in conjunction with a sauna routine will yield the best results. As mentioned previously, the heat and steam open your pores, so go in with a clean face and apply products after.

We’ll go over the best brands to use below!

Does the sauna help tighten skin?

The firmness of your skin depends on two proteins- collagen and elastin.

An infrared sauna tightens your skin using IR frequencies to produce about 350 gigahertz (GHz). They heat your dermal layers and improve the production of elastin and collagen. According to a 2006 study, this leads to about a 37.5% increase in overall skin firmness and texture.

Elastin is an anti-aging protein that’s associated with our facial elasticity. It allows us to make facial expressions without creating laxity. Furthermore, collagen helps to thicken the epidermis, which in turn provides more support for your skin.

Together, both of these elements restore the natural plumpness of our skin that is organically lost over time.

Does the sauna increase collagen?

It’s a known fact that the more collagen your body has, the less dry and dull your complexion looks.

The sauna increases collagen in the body by stimulating cell turnover and blood circulation. Because it is generally not absorbed through topical use, improving collagen production with heat therapy will also make your products work better. 

Collagen is a specific type of protein that the body uses to fortify loose joints and help create healthy tissues for blood vessels, bones, organs, and muscles. It also plays a role in keeping the skin firm by stimulating elastin.

This makes it a powerful anti-aging protein! Increasing collagen production is one of the many ways a sauna can help reduce the formation of wrinkles.

Using a traditional sauna to get rid of wrinkles

If you want to use a traditional sauna to get rid of wrinkles, there are a few practices to follow to optimize results.

Steps to using a traditional sauna (~177 °F) to reduce wrinkles:

  1. Hydrate before and after.
  2. Wash your face beforehand, and don’t put any products on.
  3. Make sure the heat is at least 150 °F.
  4. Spend 15 minutes inside, 2 times per week.
  5. Wash your face immediately after and use clean skincare products.

Following this ritual will dramatically improve the appearance of your skin. Hydrating from the inside out is important, as well as entering with a clean slate (face).

Traditional saunas are the hottest, with moderate humidity. They heat the air first, then your body. Turn up the heat to get the blood circulation and pore opening effects going.

Don’t exceed 15 minutes; otherwise, you could experience an adverse reaction. Additionally, washing your face after is essential to getting all of the dirt and grime off that was expelled from your pores.

Using a steam room to get rid of wrinkles

Steam rooms are lower in temperate and higher in humidity.

Steps to using a steam room (~115 °F) to lessen the appearance of wrinkles:

  1. Hydrate before and after.
  2. Wash your face beforehand and keep it bare (without skincare).
  3. Turn up the heat to the maximum temperature (usually around 120 °F).
  4. Spend 20 minutes inside, 2 times per week.
  5. Wash your face immediately after and use clean skincare products.

You have to spend a little more time in a steam sauna to see results because of the lower temperature. The added moisture increases bacterial growth.

Washing your face afterward is even more important after using a steam sauna.

Using an infrared sauna to get rid of wrinkles

Due to the penetrating ability of IR radiation, infrared saunas are the most impactful when aiming to get rid of wrinkles.

Steps to using an infrared sauna (~135 °F) to eliminate wrinkles:

  1. Hydrate before and after.
  2. Wash your face before, and don’t use any skincare.
  3. Keep the heat at around 135 °F.
  4. Spend 10 minutes inside, 2 times per week.
  5. Wash your face immediately after and use clean skincare products.

Although an infrared sauna isn’t as hot as a traditional sauna, it works more efficiently. Because of this, you’re able to get faster results with less time spent inside.

After sauna skincare to help reduce wrinkles

While you should try to keep your skincare regimen free of toxins, you also must consider what’s best for your skin specifically. A wise dermatologist once told me, “Just because it’s all-natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Poison ivy’s all-natural.”

Those words stuck to me like glue.

There are a few ingredients to look out for if your goal is to reduce wrinkles:

  • Retinol (Vitamin A) – nighttime
  • Vitamin C – daytime
  • Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – daytime
  • Hyaluronic Acid – daytime/nighttime

Next, find the best products for your face. Aim to keep them clean and cruelty-free, but trust your dermatologist above all.

Start with a gentle face wash, like the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. It smells great and works wonders!

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinal is a tricky one- some people are scared of it. If used incorrectly, you can severely dry out your face.

Vitamin A works to stimulate collagen and promote skin cell turnover that’s responsible for a natural exfoliating process. If you’re a newbie, ease yourself into this regimen. Even as little as 0.1% can be effective. 

To incorporate retinol into your routine, put it on right after you wash your face (before oils or serums) at night, and be sure to wash it off the next morning. Leaving it on in the sun can burn your face.

Recommendation: Sunday Riley’s A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum is a really great option for someone whose skin is used to retinol and wants to step up their game!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another gamechanger in the skincare arena.

Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, has the ability to brighten your complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and combat dark spots.

This is best used first thing in the AM, post washing your face. Since it can be reactive, let it settle into your skin first before applying moisturiser over top.

Recommendation: Saint Jane’s – The C-Drops has gained recent popularity. It has a high concentration of 20% Vitamin C, with the calming properties of CBD oil.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

I never step outside without sunscreen on. I’ve heard multiple physicians interviewing, and when asked what their #1 anti-aging product is, they all said sunscreen.

To appropriately protect your skin from forming any more wrinkles, look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. An SPF of 40 or higher is a good rule of thumb.

Apply sunscreen as the last step of your skincare process before you go outside.

Recommendation: The Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is perfect for everyday wear. It isn’t greasy like your average sunscreen and is buildable to use with makeup.

Hyaluronic Acid

Last but not least, hyaluronic acid is a key component of wrinkle prevention.

Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds onto water molecules beneath the surface of our skin, making sure our face stays hydrated and plump. 

This can be used after your vitamin C or retinol serum but before sunscreen application. Add hyaluronic acid to both your day and nighttime routines.

Recommendation: These products are a little pricey, but there’s no shame in parting with a little bit of cash for skincare that really works. Pair Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum + Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum for the most moisturizing results!

The sauna is a good option to treat wrinkles and one of the best ways to improve your skin.

By exposing yourself to infrared rays for 10 minutes, twice a week, you can decrease your wrinkles by around 15% in as little as two months.

Pair this with a killer skincare routine for the best results!