Beauty: Delight Your Skin with a Steamy Night, by Kristen Ma

When I had acne my mother used to joke that some of my pimples were so big they seemed to cry “pick me! pick me!” (she would raise her hand in the air and fluttered it frantically while doing this). But while her blemish comedy was not only embarrassing, it caused confusion.

You see, in my pre-esthetician days I was torn about whether to pick or not to pick my spotted skin, and when I did, I often bruised it. I would become so attached to digging it out of my face that my technique lacked the gentle care it does now. This is a dilemma that many of my clients have – and I can see their struggle as they come in with scars and scabs.

Now if we have clogged pores or pimples, they need to be removed – but how do we remove them if we have neither the time nor the budget to come in for a full-length professional facial? Well, I will let you in on a little secret: warm steam.

Yes, steaming your skin is an excellent way to unclog your pores without picking at it. And even for those of us who don’t have blemishes (I love being able to be put into this camp now!), it helps infuse moisture, mobilize circulation and blood flow, sweat out skin toxins, and prevent a build up of blackheads. Even the colour and tone of our skin improves from this simple at-home treatment.

To properly steam your face, all you have to do is bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil, take it off the hot plate, and hover your face at least six inches away from it with a towel over your head to entrap the steam. Relax here for 5-10 minutes and let the steam do all the work! You can also add loose herbs, herbal tea bags or essential oils to the water for a more therapeutic effect. Sage and rosemary are good for disinfecting the skin, chamomile and rose are best for a soothing effect, and lavender is an easy-to-source skin balancer. I find that these are good to include because our skin absorbs much more deeply when our pores are open.

Initially, I recommend doing this every night for one week to see results of a smoother, less angry complexion. After this, you can decrease down to twice per week until your skin re-balances. For those with rosacea or broken capillaries, only start with twice per week and hover even further away from the hot pot (8 inches away or so).

Now, after steaming it is very important to follow up with a nourishing moisturizer or hydrating mask to prevent dehydration. If you would like to make it a full evening of skin pampering, exfoliate before the steam, and mask afterward for a mini-facial experience.

Unlike me, you will avoid ugly scars and learn that you don’t need to teach your skin tough love, a little TLC will have your complexion clear, clean and positively glowing.

Kristen Ma PhotoKristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine.

For more information on Kristen, please visit www.holisticvanity.ca.