Post by Contributing Writer, Emily P.
I recently came down with a horrible summer cold that left me with days of unbearable congestion. My eyes ached from all the sinus pressure building up in my head and my chest was constantly battling that irritating “tickle” when I breathed.
Humidity is helpful to loosen up congestion, but I didn’t want to spend my days in the shower, and without a humidifier, I knew my options were limited.
I decided to try the facial steam method I’ve used before, but this time to help me breathe, not just soften my skin. I’m all for a cold treatment that helps you feel better and makes your skin glow!
Making a facial steam at home can be as simple or creative as you’d like.
To get started, you’ll need a couple household items:
- A large metal, glass, or ceramic bowl
- A clean bath towel
- An electric or stove-top teakettle
- Herbs of your choosing (recommendations below)
Gather your supplies and start boiling 1 – 2 quarts of water (or whatever your bowl will hold safely). Measure out about a quarter cup of herbs per quart of water, and place them in your bowl.
Put your bowl and towel on a table or someplace you will be able to comfortably lean over it. When the water has reached a boil, pour it over the herbs in your bowl.
Place your face 1 – 2 feet above the steaming water and cover your head and the bowl with the towel. Make sure to let in fresh air if you get to warm. Breathe in deeply through your mouth and nose if both are congested.
If your nose is too congested you may not be able to breathe through your nose. That’s OK, the steam will still help. Stay under the towel for a good couple of minutes making sure to keep tissues nearby for clearing your nose and coughing.
If you are doing this steam before bed, put the bowl of water in your room to continue to humidify the air.
Benefits of Facial Steams
I steamed my face about 2 – 3 times a day for about four days in a row and it always brought much needed relief. However, be aware that steaming your face this much might cause your skin to dry out a little.
When you’re not battling congestion, I recommend steaming your face once a week as a general rule. Steaming your face on a regular basis will deeply cleanse pores, increase facial circulation, and help create new skin cells, to help give your face a soft and fresh glow.
When using facial steams for your skin, wipe your face with a clean towel after steaming and splash cool water on your face to tighten your pores. Adding herbs to your water will allow you to customize the benefits of your facial steam to meet your needs.
Here are a couple herb recommendations, but do some research and don’t be afraid to find the perfect combination for your skin!
- Chest Congestion: mullein, eucalyptus, peppermint
- Sinus Congestion: eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger
- Acne: calendula, lavender, echinacea, goldenseal
- Oily Skin: rose, mint, chamomile
- Dry Skin: mint, lavender, calendula
Next time you need some healthy relaxation, try a soothing facial steam that will rejuvenate your lungs and freshen your skin!
You can also find soothing sinus steam remedies in Michele’s ebook, Herbal Nurturing.
Emily and her husband make their home in Portland, OR and enjoy the community and camaraderie of life in the city. After the arrival of their baby girl in the spring of 2010, Emily quit her job and dove into homemaking headfirst and wholeheartedly. Emily is passionate about helping others become self-sufficient through simple and sustainable living. Find Emily’s latest adventures at Sustainable Food for Thought.