Unlike steam rooms, which warm you with moist air, saunas use dry heat to make you work up a sweat. A sauna helps soothe aching muscles, but that may not be its only benefit. Some experts think that a few minutes in a sauna are helpful for acne-prone skin. Others, however, believe it might make acne worse.
Pros and Cons of Saunas for Acne
According to "Self," the dry heat in a sauna can open pores. The potassium and sodium in sweat act as exfoliating agents to wipe away dead skin cells. If the sweat isn't washed off promptly, though, it can cause more breakouts. As the skin cools after a sauna, sweat and sebum get trapped in pores, so you may end up with more pimples. Staying in a sauna for more than 15 minutes may also dehydrate skin, which will make your face look worse. Skip the cosmetics if you're heading to the sauna -- as you sweat, makeup melts and clogs pores. When you're finished, wash up with a mild acne cleanser to get rid of trapped sweat and debris.
The temperature can rise to 185 degrees Fahrenheit inside a sauna. The heat causes blood pressure to become erratic, and pulse rate increases by 30 percent or more. People who have heart conditions, such as unstable angina, heart valve disease, advanced heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms, should not use a sauna. Don't use a sauna if you've been drinking alcohol. Alcohol can impair sweating, causing you to overheat.
- Self: The Steam Room at the Gym: Does It Actually Do Anything?
- Philadelphia: Never Use the Sauna at Your Gym? Here’s Why to Start
- Murad: The Sauna and Acne Treatment: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?
- Harvard Health Publications: Sauna Health Benefits: Are Saunas Healthy or Harmful?
- Acne: The At Your Fingertips Guide; Tim Mitchell, Alison Dudley