Are you a fan of ‘cooking’ yourself in the sauna, or would you rather skip that experience? As a huge sauna fan, I am convinced of the numerous positive effects of using the sauna. However, is it all that simple, or do we need to take care of certain aspects while visiting this literally hot place? Can we really say that a sauna benefits the skin?
The Pursuit of Wellness
We are heading many different avenues in the search for relaxation and enhancing physical and mental health. Saunas are one of the long-standing traditions in many cultures. You may have heard of one or a few of these: Finnish sauna, Russian Banya, Turkish Hammam, Icelandic Spa, and Japanese Sento. At some point, they have reached popularity outside their native territories. Beyond the relaxation and stress relief commonly associated with saunas, these heated chambers offer a range of positive effects on your skin and general condition. Next to the benefits of sauna, one has to be aware of the potential downsides and precautions we have to take to maximize its positive effects.
Positive Effects and Potential Downsides of the Sauna on Your Skin
- Cleansing and detoxification
Saunas induce sweating, a natural process that helps the body eliminate toxins. As pores open up in response to heat, impurities are released, promoting a thorough skin cleansing- which can contribute to a clearer complexion and improved skin health.
- Improved circulation
The heat in saunas enhances blood circulation. This increased blood flow carries essential nutrients to the skin, promoting cell turnover and rejuvenation. As a result, one can experience a healthier and more vibrant skin appearance.
- Healthier looking skin
Thanks to the increased circulation, more nutrients can penetrate your skin. Also, thanks to more blood flow, your skin glows with a healthier complexion, as sweating is highly cleansing for your pores and glands because it flushes out any toxins or impurities you may have living in your body. Some individuals will even be less prone to acne, blackheads, and other pesky skin blemishes.
- Reduction of skin conditions
Sauna sessions have been associated with the alleviation of certain skin conditions. Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may benefit from the improved blood flow and detoxification provided by saunas, leading to reduced symptoms and flare-ups.
- Stress reduction
Stress is a well-known contributor to skin issues such as acne and premature aging. Saunas, by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, indirectly benefit the skin. Lower stress levels can contribute to a more balanced complexion and improved skin health.
The intense heat in saunas can lead to significant fluid loss through sweating. While this can be beneficial for detoxification, staying well-hydrated is crucial to prevent dehydration, which could negatively impact the skin’s moisture levels.
- Risk for sensitive skin
Individuals with sensitive skin may find that the heat from saunas exacerbates their skin conditions. Those with sensitive skin should consult a dermatologist before incorporating regular sauna sessions into their routine.
- Excessive heat and aging
Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can contribute to premature aging. Collagen, a protein crucial for skin elasticity, can be affected by excessive heat. While moderate sauna use is considered safe, caution is advised to prevent long-term adverse effects.
Things to Remember When Using Sauna
To prevent potential breakouts, have the following in mind:
- Hydrate adequately
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after sauna sessions to counteract dehydration. Drink slowly and gradually, preventing thirst instead of reacting after you realize you are critically dehydrated.
- Limit session duration
Avoid spending excessive time in the sauna to prevent potential adverse effects on the skin. Remember, a sauna requires shape, so slowly build it up. Don’t push your boundaries, and remember that not every visit to the sauna is the same. Sometimes, your body will do more and sometimes less (similar to a workout).
- Cool down properly
After a sauna session, cool down gradually to allow the body to adjust to lower temperatures, preventing stress on the skin. There are cold pools next to saunas, which is a refreshing experience for your skin. It will create circulatory boots, which can be highly rejuvenating for your skin and entire body.
- Consult a professional in case of existing skin conditions
If you have pre-existing skin conditions or concerns, seek advice from a dermatologist before incorporating regular sauna use into your routine. While some skin conditions can benefit from dry sauna, others might suffer more. As a dry sauna dries the skin during use, some people with psoriasis may find the symptoms are reduced, but those with atopic dermatitis may find it worsens, as we learn from Medical News Today.
- Pre and post-sauna routine
Make sure your skin gets the best out of it. An essential component is thoroughly cleansing your skin before and after all the sweating. Make yourself accessible to the most efficient and, at the same time, the most gentle cleansing routine. After enjoying the sauna, hydrate yourself on the inside and outside and lock the moisture in to get the maximum effect.
Is a Sauna the Fountain of Youth for Your Skin?
While we haven’t found scientific claims saying that sauna directly impacts your skin health while attempting to collect proof for this blog, countless indicators suggest it has a long list of benefits on our skin. There are many types of saunas, so this dwell is challenging to solve. Still, we came across a series of clinical studies for infrared saunas that strongly show the benefits and the connection between using infrared saunas and cellular and skin rejuvenation. There are a few contradictory statements, and if you are curious to learn more about it, here is an interesting article to read.
If you have taken all the precautions and know how to use a sauna to eliminate potential downsides, feel free to enjoy its benefits, including your look in the mirror: clear skin and dewy complexion.