I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on things like skincare devices. Some swear by them while others say they aren't exactly worth the money. Whether it's the latest home microneedling gadget or light therapy mask, it can feel like a jungle out there when you're deciding what to invest in. This brings me to the latest device in question: the facial steamer. Facial steamers help loosen dirt and oil that clog up your pores so they could be helpful if you're struggling with breakouts. I've come to a few conclusions based on what I learned below.
What is a facial steamer?
Facial steamers are devices that use heated (sometimes ionized) water to help unclog pores when you use the device directly on your face. Derms have mixed opinions on them, but most still say they can be beneficial in some ways to those who have oily or acne-prone skin.
Dermatologist, Marisa Garshick, MD, breaks down the pros and cons. "While facial steamers are thought to soften clogged pores, making them easier to extract and therefore reducing breakouts, they are not a necessity and shouldn’t replace other known acne-fighting ingredients and treatments. That said, if it is working for you, you can continue to use it, but it’s best to do so in conjunction with other acne-fighting treatments. It is also important to remember that they are not necessarily going to make red, inflamed, or cystic breakouts better. Further, certain skin types, such as those that are prone to rosacea or eczema, may actually experience a worsening in those conditions after exposure to steam," she says.
Snehal Amin, MD, also weighs in by stating, "Steaming, like a hot towel or just hot water, can help the skin absorb medications and products better. It also definitely increases blood flow so skin appears fuller and pinker. Theoretically, this blood flow is bringing more nutrients to the superficial skin. The moisture effect evaporates quickly, though, so it’s important to apply a good, simple moisturizer afterward."
All in all, I see that there are some nice benefits from using a device like this if you have things like stubborn blackheads and would like to find a way to reduce them at home. But as Garshick says, it probably shouldn't replace a good skincare routine. If you do want to invest in a device, I've rounded up a few derm recommendations below and other budget-friendly options.
"Seemingly as close as you can get to a professional steamer from the comfort of your home, this uses micro-steam technology to help improve the overall complexion. It really helps to reduce the appearance of clogged pores and is meant to be used one to two times per week."—Garshick
This four-in-one professional-grade device is designed to be used by spas and skincare specialists, but now, you can snag one for a luxe home spa experience if you're willing to spend a few extra bucks.
This face steamer from Beauty Nymph is another fantastic budget option that has adjustable steam levels, a high-quality aluminum vaporiser pot, and an auto off function. I love the shape of this steamer, too because it's perfectly made to cover the entire face.
For a full-on clinical-grade steaming experience, you'll want to go for Pure Daily Care's Clinical Smart Steam Ionic Facial Steamer. It has two interchangeable attachments that allow you to steam your face in bed or you can use the table top attachment to reach specific areas better. The enhanced ionic steam also helps hydrate, moisturize, and deep clean like no other.