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The Hot Yoga Facial

It occurred to me as I was treating myself to a facial recently that my esthetician employed the use of a facial steamer to open the pores as she cleansed the skin. I chuckled to myself that I must be receiving a facial almost daily inside the hot, humidified room where I practice yoga. But was I really receiving the same benefits at the studio as I was here at the spa, or was that just wishful thinking? Unsure, I decided to delve into the idea of a Hot Yoga Facial through a bit of research.

There were some things I already knew prior to conducting this research: yoga is not only an excellent workout that promotes increased stamina, muscle tone, balance and flexibility; specific poses also work wonders on the skin. Yoga in general is known for its ability to release harmful toxins and increase blood flow. Eagle pose (Garudasana) is especially effective in eliminating toxins. The squeeze of the arms and the legs can be compared to the wringing of a wet washcloth. Just as water pours from the washcloth, so do the toxins from your body. The tighter the squeeze, the greater the elimination. What a thought!

Any pose that sends blood flow toward the facial area aids in providing a lovely, youthful glow to the skin. Poses such as shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) or even a more challenging headstand will do the trick. Other options are a simple forward fold (Uttanasana), gorilla pose, or my favorite, ragdoll pose. Even a non-heated practice then, will increase circulation, and therefore, support the skin.

But further research proved my hunch to be true: hot yoga could very well be like.a spa treatment in itself, given a few simple steps taken beforehand. The hot yoga room is typically heated anywhere between 85-105 degrees and a humidifier is utilized to add moisture to the air, causing the pores to open like they would in a steam room. It's a well-known fact that open pores increase the efficacy of topical products applied to the skin.

The preparations I suggest taking before entering the heated room are listed as follows. First, remove any makeup from the day. While it's an added step, a dual cleansing process allows makeup to be removed prior to washing away any dirt and grime. Nothing is more harmful than sweat commingling with makeup and dirt, so above all else, remove that make-up girl! I recommend using an oil-based cleanser like this one, but even a good swipe of organic extra-virgin olive oil works just as well. Next, cleanse the skin with a foam-based cleanser to really get in there and loosen any lingering dirt and impurities that have surfaced from the day. Take your time with this step, rubbing the hands in a circular motion on the face an neck before rinsing with warm water.

Now, let's exfoliate! (Try Dr. Brandt's Pore Dermabrasion for a good scrub!) I can't emphasize enough how important this step is in maintaining youthful skin. Removing the dry surface-skin allows any product you apply afterward to simply work better- and that's exactly what we want to do next. Because we will soon find ourselves in a heated room, we want to use a serum that will soak into our skin, allowing it to absorb all of its rich goodness. The type of serum applied should be based on your skincare needs. I love using a good vitamin C serum, a retinol serum for anti-aging, and hydraulic acid for its moisturizing qualities. Use all three or take your pick!

Finally, moisturize the skin. Although I'm an advocate of facial oil, I don't recommend it here because the oil may seep into your eyes as you sweat (trust me on this one- it's an unpleasant feeling!) Instead, use your favorite moisturizing cream, and if you're craving a little extra nourishment, follow up with a dab of eye cream to the delicate skin beneath the eyes. Moisturizing is especially important because once class is over, you are going to experience an extreme drop in temperature upon leaving the room, and this shift can easily cause dryness. So, moisturize away, baby, and walk into that yoga studio ready to reap the rewards of truly amazing skin!

And there you have it! A spa facial and a yoga practice all bundled into one. Who doesn't like hitting two birds with one stone? Namaste, friends.

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