Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

By Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.

woman laying down in sauna

Image by domoyega / Istock

January 31, 2023

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Hopping in the sauna post-workout (or whenever you’d like) is a beloved practice for many. You may love it because it simply feels great, but there are plenty more reasons to commit to a daily or weekly sauna session, if you can.

But is this prescribed sweat session just as good for your skin as it is for your overall health? We’ve been wondering the same thing—so here’s what a board-certified dermatologist has to say on the topic. 


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Are saunas good for your skin?

First things first: Infrared saunas are better than traditional saunas in terms of skin benefits (although, both versions have benefits for overall well-being). “Infrared saunas are ideal for promoting overall skin health because the wavelengths penetrate skin directly to help increase circulation, detox the skin and unclog pores via sweating, and reduce inflammation,” board-certified dermatologist Kim Nichols, M.D., FAAD, tells mbg. (For those wondering: No, sweating itself does not cause breakouts; it’s when you let that sweat and bacteria linger on the skin that it can clog up those pores.)

Additionally, we know that heat can generally be a trigger for things like rosacea, acne, and dermatitis. However, infrared saunas may provide a loophole: “Because infrared saunas stimulate anti-inflammatory responses in the body, it is possible that symptoms could be alleviated,” Nichols notes. 

Of course, how you prep your skin for the sauna will also influence how your skin reacts. Here’s what Nichols recommends you do pre-sauna: 


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And there you have it: Infrared saunas are, in fact, great for your skin in addition to your overall health, as long as you prep your skin accordingly. If you’re concerned about any skin conditions you have or how your unique skin type will react to regular sauna use, it’s always best to ask your dermatologist. But generally, consider skin health one more reason to take up sauna bathing.

The takeaway. 

Infrared saunas are great for the skin because they help detox and unclog pores via sweating, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation. Be sure to enter the sauna with clean skin, use a light moisturizer before, and drink plenty of water. Ready to invest in your own at-home sauna system? Here are a few of the best options on the market to ease your search.