Courtesy of Getty ImagesSteam rooms are great for relaxing. That much we all know. But determined to find more benefits of-and, to be perfectly frank, more excuses to hang out in-a steam room, I called Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York City.
Is the steam room like one big facial for the body?
In a way, yes. "Fifteen minutes in the steam room opens pores, increases sweating, stimulates circulation, and eliminates toxins," Fusco says.
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Should anyone avoid steaming?
"People with rosacea or sensitive skin should approach with caution," she says, "because it could promote or exacerbate flushing through the dilation of capillaries, which are very reactive."
What can you do to maximize the benefits of steaming?
"Before entering the steam room, shower with a gentle exfoliating scrub to prevent clogging and sweat-trapping that could lead to heat rash," Fusco says. "For dry scalps, apply a conditioning mask like Clear Deep Nourishing Treatment Mask prior to entering the steam room and keep it on while you're in there. Drink a lot of water, and maybe add in a packet of Emergen C."
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What about after a steam?
"Stay in the steam room for 15 minutes, tops. Then take a warm to cool shower. Once again, gently exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Apply your moisturizer while skin is still damp. Don't drink alcohol before or after a steam; it will dilate blood vessels even more," Fusco says.
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