Are Saunas Good for Your Skin? 6 Benefits of Sweating it Out

Are Saunas Good for Your Skin? 6 Benefits of Sweating it Out

Acne is a common skin concern, but there’s good news — there might be a helper that helps keep skin clear on top of several other wellness benefits. Tucked away in skincare regimens, often overshadowed by serums, exfoliators, and creams, is a holistic skincare tool waiting to be recognized and utilized: the sauna.

What Causes Acne?

Starting with the basics, acne flares happen when pores get clogged. These pores connect to oil glands and hair follicles. Normally, sebum (oil) lubricates your skin — but during puberty, hormones can cause glands to overproduce oil. This leads to dead cells getting trapped in pores, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and irritating the pore lining, which triggers inflammation. The clogged pore can appear as a whitehead (closed) or a blackhead (open at the surface).

This isn’t just a product of internal biological processes, though. Factors like stress (often externally influenced) can worsen acne by triggering the release of hormones that ramp up oil production, which sets the stage for potential breakouts.

Sauna Skin Benefits

Sweating in a sauna may seem counterintuitive to achieving a radiant, youthful glow, but science begs to differ. Let's dive into the surprising skincare benefits of regular sauna use:

1. Improves Circulation

However, saunas are more than just sweat inducers. Regular sauna sessions enhance blood flow throughout your body, including your skin. This is because heat causes your blood vessels to expand, which improves circulation and blood flow.

Better circulation delivers more essential nutrients and oxygen to your skin cells, promoting their health and leading to a rejuvenated complexion.

2. Heals Acne

Pimples, blackheads, and oily skin can be frustrating at all ages, but there are some core methods for improving symptoms — and several can be supported by sauna use. Environmental toxins, clogged pores, and elevated stress are some of the primary causes (or amplifiers) of acne, and saunas have been shown to help with all of these! Sauna heat can detoxify, expel dead skin cells and oil, and improve mood, all of which we’ll explore in more detail below.

3. Soothes Eczema

Increased circulation and reduced inflammation are both effects of saunas, which help reduce some of eczema’s symptoms. This is due to a combination of factors like detoxification and circulation, which soothe redness, alleviate itchiness, and more. A 2023 study also found that spa therapy (like regular sauna use) could reduce the effects of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. We have a full guide to saunas and eczema that goes into more detail about the interactions and ways that heat therapy may be able to help those suffering from inflamed skin.

4. Increased Collagen Production

Collagen provides structure to our skin and keeps it plump. However, collagen production naturally declines as we age, leading to wrinkles and sagging. As another benefit of better circulation, saunas can boost collagen production through vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels. This increases blood flow, which has been shown to improve collagen production.

Another study suggests that heat exposure, like that from a sauna, can stimulate the production of heat shock proteins that may have anti-aging effects.

5. Deep Cleansing

Saunas offer a simple and natural process — heat to sweat. The sweating process is much more than just a method to cool your body down, it's a potent deep cleansing mechanism. Sweating causes your pores to open, which facilitates the expulsion of impurities and toxins that accumulate over time. It also sheds dead skin cells so they don’t get trapped and clog pores.

In other words, sauna sessions may act as a pore decongestant, leaving your skin refreshed and clean, similar to a good exfoliating session but without the abrasiveness of physical exfoliators.

6. Stress Reduction

Studies indicate that regular sauna sessions can alleviate stress. Why does that matter for skincare? Stress wreaks havoc on your skin, triggering flare-ups of conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

sweat more, stress less

By inducing relaxation and reducing cortisol levels, sauna use may indirectly relieve some of these symptoms (and help you feel better overall). After all, a relaxed body promotes a vibrant complexion.

Skincare Risks of Saunas

While saunas can provide a multitude of skincare benefits, there are some considerations when it comes to sweating and skin health:

  • Those with sensitive skin may experience more discomfort because they typically have higher concentrations of salt in their sweat, which irritates the skin more. Those with rosacea should also avoid saunas because it can lengthen the recovery period from blushing.
  • Heat naturally dries things (including your skin) as water evaporates, so make sure to moisturize afterward. Dry skin may also prompt the over-production of oils, so be sure to use gentle cleansers.
  • As with anything that results in sweating, it’s important to stay hydrated and replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat. Hydration is also a critical way to improve skin health, so drink water or electrolytes before, during, and after sauna sessions.
  • While sweating can help clear out pores, don’t just leave all that oil, salt, dirt, toxins, and skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin. This will lead to it clogging pores again and itching, so make sure to shower and clean off after a sweat session. You may even want to take a cold shower or bath to get some of the benefits of contrast therapy, which can rejuvenate not only your skin but your circulatory system too.

Wellness That’s More Than Skin-Deep

Saunas can be a potent, natural, and holistic approach to skincare. It’s a relaxing, warm embrace for your skin, flushes out toxins, boosts circulation, reduces stress, and could even slow down the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Saunas are proving their worth as a worthy addition to the skincare conversation, backed by scientific evidence.

Ready to explore the perfect sauna for your home? Our sauna is the ultimate addition to your home wellness routine. It’s FSA/HSA-eligible and has accessible financing options so you can enjoy the power of heat from the comfort and convenience of your backyard.

Medical Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions or before embarking on any new health or wellness routine, including saunas and cold plunging. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any cold plunging routine or other health or wellness program.