Closeup of sweat on a woman's face
April 11, 2023

Get the Most Out of a Sauna Session with These Healthy Skin Tips

Skin Care, Longevity

There are a lot of good reasons to take advantage of a Sunlighten sauna when you can. From helping you relax to promoting heart health, growing scientific evidence shows that spending time in a sauna can increase overall wellness. With the right prep steps, you can also enhance your complexion with frequent sauna sessions. Here’s what the research says on the anti-aging benefits from using sauna therapy. 

Woman looking at her skin in the mirror

If you’ve been using a sauna and have noticed your skin seems to be looking healthier, too, you’re not imagining it. And if you haven’t, there are exciting reasons to start. Research has found that there is a direct link between spending time in a sauna and improving your skin’s physiology. Here’s why saunas can support skin health and what you can do before you step into a sauna to help your skin soak up those benefits.

Saunas can improve the epidermal barrier function of the skin

Research published in Dermatology looked at the relationship between sauna usage and how the structure and function of the skin may or may not change by regular sauna sessions. The researchers looked at 41 healthy adults between the ages of 20 to 49 years old and split them into two groups: a control group that had no sauna exposure and another group that had regular 15-minute sauna periods.

The group that spent time in the sauna had an increase in skin hydration and a more stable epidermal barrier function, which limits water loss from the body but also the absorption of chemicals from the environment. In subjects who had dehydrated skin, sitting in a sauna helped them recover water loss faster as well as balance the skin’s pH, which is important to keeping moisture in and bacteria and germs out. When a skin’s pH balance is off kilter, it can lead to skin issues like eczema, acne and irritation. The research also showed that sauna subjects had less sebum content on the forehead. Your skin needs sebum to provide antioxidants and antimicrobial lipids to help that epidermal barrier function lock moisture in, but too much can clog pores and lead to acne.

Sweat is the secret to skin health
Woman relaxing in sauna

While the mentioned study used a Finnish sauna, the same skin benefits can be seen with an infrared sauna like Sunlighten. That’s because in any sauna, you’re going to sweat, and it’s this sweat that contains antimicrobial peptides – a small chain of amino acids that have anti-aging properties. As you sit in a sauna, your skin starts to sweat. Because of this, your pores will open up, which helps the skin make physiological changes in response to sauna heat such as more water retention and sebum and pH balance. Think of it as your body’s way of giving you a fast, easy facial.

How to prep your skin for a sauna

Ready to sweat? Not so fast – there are a few things you can do to make sure your skin is getting all the anti-aging benefits a sauna has to offer. Here’s your skin check list:

  • Hydrate! A sauna sets your skin up to retain more moisture, but the act of sitting in a sauna (and sweating) is dehydrating in itself. Make sure you drink plenty of water (at least 8 ounces) before, after, and during if needed.
  • Clean your face. When your pores open up, they are going to absorb what’s on your face. That means leaving makeup on in a sauna can be a recipe for breakouts and blackheads. Remove buildup on your face – even if you’re not wearing makeup – with a lightweight oil or cream cleanser to give your face a clean slate.
  • Apply a lightweight moisturizer. It may seem counterintuitive to wash your face and then put product right back on it before you get into a sauna, but applying coconut oil or the moisturizer you wear during the day will become absorbed by your skin as you sit in a sauna. Damp skin is hydrated skin, and putting moisturizer on top will help lock in moisture while offsetting any dehydration that may be occurring.

Just like the inside of your body can benefit from a sauna, the outside can, too. Discover all of the options of Sunlighten infrared saunas to find the right fit for you and reap the anti-aging benefits from head to toe.

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WRITTEN BY: Colleen Travers

Colleen Travers is a health and wellness freelance writer focusing on all things that make you feel healthy and happy from the inside out.  She's been an editor for sites such as and Her work has appeared online in outlets like Reader's Digest, SHAPE, HuffPost Life, Peloton, Fitbit, MindBodyGreen, and more.