Do Saunas Help Acne? Only if You Use Them Correctly

Do Saunas Help Acne? Only if You Use Them Correctly

Liudmila Busch

Saunas can help with acne, if you use them the right way. Unfortunately, many people don’t, and their acne ends up worsening. 

We don’t want that to happen to you! So we’re sharing exactly how to sauna the right way for clear, gorgeous skin. 

First Things First: What is a Sauna? 

If you’re like many people, you may be picturing a hot little room filled with steam when you hear the word sauna. But alas, that’s a  steam room and it’s different from a sauna. 

A sauna uses a dry heat--usually from a stove or heated rocks-- to get you nice and warm. Saunas are an ideal heat therapy for combating acne, as long as you use them responsibly. 

How Using a Sauna Can Help Fight Acne

Being acne-prone can feel unfair. You may have watched friends slather their faces in coconut oil and wake up with glowing skin, only to find that you get an inflamed face when you do the same. Or perhaps that foundation that your sister swears by leads to instant pimples for you. 

It’s really not your fault: some people are  just more likely to have acne than others, and therefore they have to be more careful about how they treat their skin. 

That means approaching any new therapy or treatment with caution and a healthy dose of skepticism, even if you’ve already seen it work for your peers. 

Thankfully, saunas are something you can enjoy with acne prone skin, and if you use them correctly, you may even be able to reduce your blemishes. 

This is because saunas make you sweat, and sweat can be excellent for purging acne-causing oil, dirt and bacteria from your skin. Moreover, sweat helps to balance the pH of your skin, which can also reduce acne. 

The heat from the sauna has other indirect benefits, too. It helps to relax your muscles, which reduces your stress--and stress can be a huge aggravator of acne. It also helps your skin look healthy and plump by  stimulating collagen production

Plus, saunas soften and prepare your skin for exfoliation, which is another critical step in getting blemish free skin. And the heat increases your circulation, so no matter what, you leave with a nice, rosy glow. 

Sauna with leaves

How Using a Sauna Can Lead to Acne

Just like anything else in life, there is a yin and yang to using heat therapy like a sauna on acneic skin. 

While it’s excellent to sweat out all of the dirt and toxins in your pores, sitting in the sauna for too long--and hence letting all of that sweat-out gunk sit on your face for too long--can actually reclog your pores, and make your acne situation worse. 

Moreover, if you’re using hair products (like shampoo, conditioner or mousse) with pore clogging-ingredients in them, you may find that sweating along your hairline can cause those comedogenic ingredients to intermingle with your skin, leading to more breakouts. 

And if you have rosacea, which can sometimes accompany acne, most dermatologists will advise you to avoid the sauna altogether, since it can make your situation worse. 

How to Sauna Safely for Acne

Luckily most of these problems can be avoided (and you can get great results) with a little planning. Here are the best ways to sauna for clear skin: 

  1. Hydrate before, during and after you sauna. Sweating leads to dehydration, and dehydration can aggravate acne. 
  2. Wash your face before getting into the sauna, so that you don’t end up with excess dirt sitting on top of your sweaty skin. This probably goes without saying, but don’t wear makeup into the sauna. 
  3. Wash your face immediately after getting out of the sauna to remove any of the impurities you just sweat out. This is an excellent time to use a gentle exfoliant, since your skin will be soft from the heat. 
  4. Don’t touch your face! Oil and dirt from your fingers are likely to clog your pores. This goes for your time outside of the sauna, too. 
  5. Be mindful of the products you're using on your skin and in your hair, since sweating can make it even more likely that these products get deep into your pores and cause problems. 

Confer with a dermatologist or skincare specialist you trust to help you with ingredients. But it’s generally good to stay away from the following common ingredients: 

  • Carrageenan
  • Cocoa butter 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Lauric acid 
  • Palm oil 
Sauna with warm ligthing

Final Thoughts

Combating acne requires a multi-prong approach. It’s rare that one technique--like using a sauna--will completely rid your skin of blemishes. Instead, you need to be cognizant of what you’re putting in your body, on your skin and in your hair. And you need to develop a great hygiene and skincare routine. 

This is especially true if you’re using a sauna to purge all of the dirt and oil from your pores; you want to make sure it doesn’t go right back in. 

Before and after your sauna session, we recommend using a gentle cleanser to help your skin prepare and recover. And because the nature of the sauna allows the cleanser to sink deep into your pores, it’s important to use something natural and nontoxic. 

Just like the rest of our products,  Wild Ice’s B-Meltee Cooling Facial Cleanser is formulated with clean ingredients from nature, like aloe and jojoba oil. We’ve lovingly crafted B-Meltee with chamomile to soothe your skin, whether you’re post-sauna or post-long day at the office. 

And we’ve spiked it with peppermint and wintergreen oil to loosen dirt, purify your skin and give you a refreshing tingle--the perfect contrast to the hot sauna. 

Perhaps most importantly, B-Meltee is packed with vitamin B, which is a miracle vitamin for improving your skin’s texture, building its resistance to pollutants, and even fading dark marks. 

So with that in mind, you have our blessing to go get toasty; just remember to  lather up afterward

Mila Founder of Wild Ice Botanicals

Mila (pronounced 'mee-luh') is the founder of Wild Ice Botanicals, a clean & natural skincare company dedicated to using cold preservation to deliver fresh products free of chemical preservatives so that women of all ages and skin types can confidently look their natural best.