Steaming has been used as a health and beauty therapy for hundreds of years in many ancient civilizations. Ayurveda is a major proponent of body steaming, called Swedana. Many cultures around the world have incorporated this medium in traditional medicine as an aid to healing. To this date, herbalists prepare different botanicals to increase the potency of basic steams to address different ailments since time immemorial. This addition of various herbs and botanicals to generic steam has potent health benefits.
There are various ways in which facial steaming, as well as body steaming, can elevate health. Steaming is used to induce sweating that not only hydrates and removes toxins but also balances the internal water metabolism of the body.
HERBAL FACIAL STEAMING
This method of cleansing facial skin has always been quite popular. One can use commercial steamers or a mere pot of hot water to open clogged pores, flush out toxins and induce health in the skin that brings out our natural radiance.
Skin benefits: A good sweat can not only bring out a lovely glow on the face but can remove grime from the skin cells by getting washed out with the sweat. The enhanced blood circulation on the face as the heat expands the blood vessels carries more nutrients to the skin cells. This is a wonderful way to bring back a glow to any dull skin.
Detoxifying effect: The sweat produced by herbal steam flushes out the toxins from the skin cells giving a natural detox. When some herbs are added to the steam, they enter the bloodstream quickly and their therapeutic function is unleashed. It is also known to slow down ageing and helps with skin acne.
Alleviates allergies: Herbal steams are known to decrease the effect of pollen on the mucous membranes. It helps in removing the allergens and heals the nasal tissue.
Alleviates nasal congestion: The heat, as well as the therapeutic benefits of herbs used in steams, can aid in better breathing by breaking up nasal congestion and hydrating the mucous membranes. It works well to unblock sinuses while reducing the inflammation. Herbal steams are best known to help alleviate symptoms of common colds.
Boosts collagen: Steams are touted to boost collagen and elastin which are necessary to keep our skin supple and young. More research is needed to prove this claim though.
Relaxes and soothes the mind: The herbs and essential oils used in steaming enhance the function of the olfactory, thus leading to a calm and relaxed state.
Helps other products to penetrate deeper: As the heat increases the blood circulation, the absorbing quality of the skin is increased many folds. This makes the skin much more receptive to the benefits of masks, creams or other products applied after the steaming.
SOME HERBS FOR FACIAL STEAMING
Tulsi – It works great for common colds, chest congestion or any upper respiratory ailments.
Lemon/ Orange Peel – It is known for the antibacterial qualities of the peel’s natural oil which helps break up congestion. Used as a natural skin detox and for its uplifting properties.
Eucalyptus – A superstar when it comes alleviating chest or nasal congestion. Helps manage acne.
Rose Petals – They tighten the skin tissue so works great as an anti-ageing botanical in steams. Highly hydrating.
Lavender – This essential oil calms you down enough to induce a relaxed state of mind. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties work wonders for reducing acne. A wonderful treatment for insomnia.
Chamomile – Like lavender, it calms the mind and as an antihistamine, it helps manage allergies. Great for irritated or sensitive skin. Great anti-ageing botanical.
Peppermint – This is a natural expectorant, so can be a go-to essential oil for reducing chest congestion.
Spearmint – It is milder than peppermint but with the same antibacterial benefits.
Raspberry leaf – It is known to tighten skin tissue so works to keep skin younger.
Rosemary – Its antibacterial properties can help with congestion and opens up the airways. Great anti-ageing botanical.
Thyme – This is an antiviral that is a great expectorant.
Cinnamon – This is an antiseptic and antiviral used to decongest the airways. It is known to increase circulation, so is also used in face masks.
Clove – This is an excellent expectorant and decongestant.
Green Tea – This is a fantastic way to detox your facial skin.
So next time you put on a pot for a pampering facial steam, do remember to add some of these brilliant herbs and take advantage of their many benefits.
Article by Payal Kurian