Does Using a Sauna Age Your Skin? What You Need to Know!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Justin Ternes
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Saunas are known by most for their high heat, low humidity, and the health-boosting effects they provide routine users. Saunas can cause lots of sweating and circulation of blood to the top layers of your skin. After consecutive stays, you may notice improvements in your skin’s health and complexion. However, with high doses of heat regularly, you might be wondering if sauna use is the best practice for skin aging. Do saunas age your skin?

Using a sauna doesn’t age your skin. In fact, it is quite the opposite, routine sauna use has anti-aging effects on your skin. It improves circulation, clears your pores while preventing and reducing wrinkles. Regular sauna use can help your skin stay “young.” 

Many dermatology studies have shown that routine sauna visits have provided tremendous improvements to many facets of a person’s skin. It improves circulation, makes the skin tighter, and increases moisture retention, among many other notable improvements. To learn precisely how saunas strengthen your skin and what you can do to boost these positive effects, keep reading this detailed guide to learn all the sauna secrets!

Does Sauna Use Improve Your Skin Health?

Young woman relaxing in spa with steam in the air

Sauna use is terrific for the health of your skin. In fact, as we already mentioned, saunas have a rich history of rejuvenating and anti-aging that is a fixture of many people’s daily regimens. Routine sauna use has been shown to reduce wrinkles, correct crow’s feet, and delay the onset of new wrinkles from forming. 

Saunas Increase Circulation to Your Skin

When your body gets hot from the sauna, it starts a thermoregulation response to keep your body as close to 98.6°F (37°C) as possible – this is also called homeostasis. Part of the thermoregulation response is providing more blood flow to your skin. Then, when your sweat evaporates off your skin, it can release more heat out of the body through evaporative cooling.

However, bringing more blood to your skin doesn’t only provide more heat loss. It also brings valuable nutrients and oxygen to the top layers of your skin. With more nutrients and oxygen, your skin gets supercharged with healing elements that keep it vibrant and smooth. 

How Saunas Reduce Irritation and Inflammation 

Many individuals experience dry, irritated, or inflamed skin at some point in their life. For some, skin irritation is a persistent annoyance for certain areas of the body. On the other hand, many people find skin irritation and inflammation a seasonal event. Whatever camp you fit into, a routine sauna regimen can help. Saunas cleanse the skin, reduce inflammation, and restore naturally occurring oils that prevent irritation. 

Saunas Naturally Moisturize the Skin

Saunas are great at moisturizing your skin through a natural process – sweating. Keeping your skin moisturized throughout the day is what keeps it healthy, preventing aging and wrinkles. Sweating produces moisture and clears out your pores.

When you mix in multiple sauna visits throughout the week, you balance your skin’s pH and stabilize its oils. Infrared saunas are particularly adept at moisturizing skin since they heat the body from the inside out. 

Are Saunas Good For Your Pores?

Young Woman Looking at a Small Mirror in a Sauna

For one, the heat from saunas opens up and dilates your pores. The pores open up to help cool your body, allowing more sweat to flow out and cool your body through the process of evaporative cooling. These “pore exercises” are great for your pores and help work your skin, keeping it tight. Therefore, routine sauna use is excellent for reducing and preventing wrinkles in your skin. 

Saunas Remove Toxins From Your Skin

Because of the profuse amount of sweating that saunas cause, they are great at removing toxins from your skin, including portable steam units like this one on Amazon. When sweat flows through your dilated pores, it takes along the build-up of bacteria, germs, dead skin cells, and dirt which could clog them, reducing breakouts. Routine flushing of this nasty gunk out of your pores does wonders for your skin health and helps slow down the aging process. 

How Saunas Improve Skin Tone and Softness

Saunas stimulate your entire body – they improve your circulatory systems, your mood and make your organs function more efficiently. Skin is just one of the organs that benefit from routine sauna use. They make your skin efficient at replication and healing.

Sweating in the sauna also clears out your pores, making your skin smooth and keeping it looking young. After multiple sauna sessions, skin tone tends, and softness tends to improve. This improvement is a direct result of the stimulation of your skin, improvements in the pores, and increased circulation that saunas provide. 

Saunas Activate Collagen Production

Routine heat exposure provides the skin with firmness and bounce. When it comes to routinely visiting a sauna, there is no question that its heat stimulates collagen production. Collagen is what gives the skin hydration, strength, and elasticity. If your skin has more collagen, it will have fewer wrinkles. As people age, they produce less and less collagen making the sauna an even wiser choice as you grow older. 

Saunas Reverse Scarring and Sun Damage

If you are out in the sun often, your skin may become UV damaged over time. Sun damage appears as faded spots, blotches, burns, and other aging signs. In small studies, sauna use has been shown to reverse or lessen UV damage and even scarring. So, if you want to reduce the sun damage and scars on your – give saunas a try; it could help you. 

Is the Sauna Bad For Your Skin?

Sauna use is not harmful to your skin; it can even address specific skin issues. For example, a study in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy found that just a 12 week routine of infrared sauna visits reduces wrinkles and crow’s feet in most participants while improving their skin tone. Additionally, saunas help balance the pH and oil levels on the skin, which helps control and prevent acne. 

Some cultures use a “venik” (a small brush made from small, dry branches) to help the skin. The venik is made from birch, oak, olive, and various other branches and is lightly tapped onto the skin to promote blood flow, increase endorphins, and balance skin oils. 

Effects of Routine Sauna Use on Skin Conditions

Saunas are a known rejuvenator of the human body. Their heat penetrates the body and kickstarts all kinds of processes that improve your circulation, immune system, mental well-being, and the health of your skin.
The boosting effects that saunas have on the skin are impressive.

Even using portable steam versions like this one on Amazon can reduce acne, restore complexion, heal and reduce scarring, balance pH, and produce optimal oil levels, all of which leave its users with healthy, glowing, and vibrant skin. Regular sauna visits help and improve most skin conditions.

Other Skin Care Tactics To Use with Saunas

If you want to reduce aging further and optimize the health of your skin before and after your sauna sessions, you can implement these methods into your skincare routine:

  • Remove makeup, cosmetics, lotions, etc. before entering the sauna to allow your pores to open and breathe fully
  • Shower after the sauna to wash away excess sweat and salt (use gentle cleansers)
  • Use exfoliants to remove dead skins and debris
  • Moisturize your skin with a natural moisturizer to reduces wrinkles and maintain elasticity
  • Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy- use at least SPF 15 to protect against sun damage

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