Are Infrared Saunas An Effective Treatment for Acne?
Exploring the link between infrared saunas, skin health and acne treatments.
6 min read
Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and users should always consult a medical professional if complications arise from prolonged use.
Let’s talk about skin.
Specifically, let’s talk about the correlation between skin health and the use of infrared saunas, and whether they should be considered a useful tool for the treatment of skin conditions like acne. There’s been a number of medical studies published on the topic that explore the link between the use of infrared saunas as a treatment for acne, strengthening our understanding that saunas are effective when it comes to acne treatment, and beneficial for skin health as a whole.
With that in mind, let’s jump in.
Is A Sauna Bad For Your Skin?
Before we can talk about whether or not saunas are helpful in the treatment of acne, we need to first examine why saunas, particularly infrared saunas are beneficial for skin health in general. When targeted infrared light penetrates the skin, your body transforms this light into an enzyme that invigorates and regenerates the growth of skin cells. The energy of traditional saunas and steam rooms are not able to cause this specific reaction, which is why infrared saunas are extremely beneficial to skin health. We’ve written an article exploring the link between sauna use and good skin health, which you can read here.
Is A Sauna Good For Acne?
Saunas are one of the most effective ways of treating acne without the need for chemicals that can irritate certain types of skin. One of the most common treatments of acne is to clear skin pores that were previously blocked, and allow the sebaceous gland to work without obstruction. The sebaceous gland sits just below the skin, and is responsible for creating sebum, which helps maintain your skin’s health. When it becomes blocked, however, this rises to the skin’s surface and creates acne.
Research shows that one of the most effective treatments of acne is to clear skin pores, and ensure the sebaceous gland does not become blocked. Fortunately, this is exactly what an infrared sauna does when you begin to sweat. Saunas are therefore widely recognised and used as effective treatments for skin conditions like acne; but traditional saunas are limited in their ability, unlike infrared saunas.
As we’ve just discovered, acne treatments often encourage the freeing-up of blocked pores with the simple act of sweating. Infrared saunas, however, take this to a whole new level when it comes to targeted treatment, and are widely considered as one of the most effective ways of treating acne. Through the use of targeted infrared light that penetrates beneath the skin, you can directly target the sebaceous gland we talked about earlier - the one responsible for acne rising to the skin’s surface - while also clearing pores through the body’s reaction to the heat.
A research article from Daniel Barolet and Annie Boucher explored infrared light exposure as a treatment for acne, and said in their results that the experiment “revealed a significant difference in median reduction of inflammatory lesions,” from those that received infrared treatment, while adding that “no unusual treatment-related adverse effects were observed.”
Infrared saunas are also a catalyst for positive changes within the skin’s cells, encouraging the creation of new, healthy skin cells due to the unique way infrared light reaches underneath the skin. Dr Raleigh Duncan says that “as red or near infrared light comes into the mitochondrion of the cell and converts that into APT, or energy, this is the currency of the cell.” Dr Duncan likened it to a “fountain of youth, turning light into energy,” which helps stimulate the growth of cells.
Which Is Better For Skin - Steam Or Infrared Sauna?
While traditional saunas and steam rooms have no problem triggering the body’s sweat reaction, they fall far short of the bar when it comes to targeting key aspects of the cause of acne, and therefore struggle to treat it as effectively as an infrared sauna. The key difference is the subdermal penetration of infrared light that we’ve talked about previously, and how that light can single-out problematic sebaceous glands and promote the clearing of the glands, as well as the promotion of healthy skin cells.
We’ve also talked previously about how saunas can help detoxify your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic - or lymphoid - system is part of the body’s immune and circulatory system, and is responsible for fighting waste and toxins in the body by transporting white blood cells. Considering the most common advice in acne treatments is to minimise or eliminate certain fats and toxins from a diet, you can help consolidate your body’s line of defence against these cells with the use of an infrared sauna.
Aside from this, there is also growing evidence to suggest that infrared saunas are an effective remedy for extreme cases of dermatitis like eczema due to the subdermal reactions caused by infrared light that encourage the growth of healthy skin cells.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the full raft of health benefits that an infrared sauna can help facilitate, click here for more information.