Optimizing Sauna Usage
Bonus: Busting The Pore Myth!
“You don’t need skincare, just go to the sauna. It opens up your pores!”
Sigh. I’ve gotten this comment so many times on Twitter that I finally just had to write a whole post about it. What can I say, my thumbs are tired!
Y’all - I love hitting my gym’s sauna. It feels incredible and is great for circulation.
I even love using it to allow my deep conditioner to better penetrate my hair on wash days.
But no, it is not opening up your pores. That is simply not how skin works.
You see, pores are not like muscles; they neither contract nor lengthen. They do not open and close. They are simply openings on the skin that can appear larger sometimes due to trapped dead skin cells and oil. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “hair follicle”, right? That’s just another word for “pore”!
Pores are connected to sebaceous glands that produce sebum (@ meatheads: no, not Cbum). Sebum is the oil your body naturally produces. While it is protective, overproduction can lead to acne, sebaceous filaments, blackheads, and other unattractive skin issues (stay tuned for a future post when I share some recommendations on clearing blackheads and sebaceous filaments - couple experiments underway!).
Now that we’ve cleared up some misinformation - let’s talk more about saunas. Gym rats and holistic health maxis alike love saunas, and I happen to be both! They can provide a host of health benefits to our circulatory, cardiovascular, and immune systems beyond simple recreation. In relation to skin, the sauna is particularly beneficial due to the subsequent reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation.
At the same time, we know that heat is drying to the skin, and dry skin can lead to premature wrinkles.
So here is how I optimize my sauna usage: