Natural Anti-Aging: Benefits of Infrared Sauna
The traditional sauna has a long and storied history that dates back centuries. The sauna as we know it today originated in Finland. It has been a foundational part of the culture for hundreds of years, primarily to keep warm during frigid Finnish nights.
Over time, the sauna became more than just a way to stay warm – a place of relaxation, socialization and a community connection point where locals could have fun and get sweaty!
Today, we rely on scientific research to understand the sauna's benefits. Sweat has been touted as the 'fountain of youth' for its impact on skin health. In addition, its natural anti-aging effects can result in a smoother, younger-looking complexion. The Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Study in 2015 revealed that those who took more frequent saunas (4-7 times per week) lived longer.
What is a Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
In contrast to the old-school, traditional sauna, the full-spectrum infrared sauna is a modern improvement on the ancient, classic design. Alternatively, infrared saunas use infrared light to heat the body rather than the air inside the sauna. As a result, infrared saunas have so many incredible, long-lasting health benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Pain relief
- Improved workout recovery
- Increased flexibility
- Stress relief
- Improved sleep
- Immune regulation
- Improved circulation
- Improved skin health
- The list goes on and on!
How Infrared Saunas Differ from Traditional Saunas
Suppose you're considering using a sauna to relax or improve your health in one of the many ways described above. In that case, you may wonder how infrared saunas differ from traditional outdoor saunas. Here are a few key differences to consider:
- Heat source: Traditional saunas use heat to warm the air inside the sauna, which warms the body. Infrared saunas use infrared light to heat rather than heating the air directly.
- Temperature: Traditional saunas are much hotter than infrared saunas, with temperatures ranging from 150-200°F. Infrared saunas typically operate at a lower temperature, ranging from 120-150°F.
- The time needed: Because infrared saunas operate at a lower temperature, they may require less time to warm up than traditional saunas. What does this mean, exactly? First, you can start using an infrared sauna more quickly.
- Health benefits: Infrared saunas have several profound and long-lasting health benefits, including weight loss, stress relief, improved circulation, and pain relief.
- Safety: Both traditional and infrared saunas can be safe when used correctly. Following the manufacturer's instructions and consulting a healthcare professional before using either type of sauna is essential. Also, staying hydrated while using a sauna is mandatory, as the heat can cause dehydration.
Benefits of Infrared Sauna on Skin
When the infrared energy is absorbed, it converts to heat, which warms the body from the inside out. Essentially, this process mirrors how the sun's rays warm the body but without the harmful effects of UV radiation, kickstarting natural immune functionality and increasing the rapid rate of skin cell growth and shedding that leads to radiant skin.
Sauna Helps Skin to Detox
The slow and pervasive build-up of toxins in the body and liver can cause or contribute to many skin problems. When toxins build up in the body, they can affect skin function, leading to various issues and painful conditions like eczema.
Regular sauna is very effective at purifying the skin by eliminating inorganic ions that stubbornly remain in the body. Infrared saunas can reduce wrinkles, help chronic skin conditions, improve glow and tone, and even speed up wound healing.
Infrared saunas are clinically proven to penetrate the skin to reach deeper levels, removing toxins, dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and oils. The infrared technology heats the body to its core, causing a detoxifying sweat containing toxins that would typically create a host of skin and health problems. Additionally, increased circulation and oxygen delivery to injured or damaged areas helps with cell turnover, reducing the appearance of scars.
Sweating Benefits Skin
Wearable sweat sensors with biomarker tracking have demonstrated that sweating is an essential process that helps the body regulate its temperature and maintain overall health. But did you know that the advanced mechanisms that create sweating can also have tremendous benefits on your skin?
Here are a few ways in which sweating can be good for your health, body, and skin:
- Cleansing: Sweating helps to flush out toxins and impurities from the pores, which can help to keep the skin looking clear and healthy. In addition, sweat contains compounds called dermcidin and antimicrobial peptides, which can help to kill bacteria on the skin's surface.
- Hydration: While sweating may seem counterintuitive for hydration, it can help keep the skin moisturized. When the body sweats, it releases water and electrolytes that can help to hydrate the skin from the inside out.
- Exfoliation: Sweating can aid in softening and loosening dead skin cells, making it easier for the body to shed them naturally. This helps to keep the skin looking smooth and healthy.
- Anti-aging: Sweating can help to stimulate blood flow and promote collagen production, keeping skin youthful and radiant.
Of course, hydration is mandatory while sweating in a sauna, as excessive sweating can lead to dehydration. Additionally, it's a good idea to shower after sweating to help remove any impurities or bacteria that may have been released through the pores.
Sauna Improves Circulation to Skin
One of how saunas may improve the skin is through enhanced circulation.
Time spent in a sauna increases blood flow to the skin due to your body's exposure to high temperatures. This increased blood flow can bring oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which can help to keep it looking healthy and radiant.
Improved circulation can also help reduce cellulite's appearance and improve overall skin tone. Some people even claim saunas lessen the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Sauna for Skin Tone and Texture
In a study done in 2006, researchers showed an increase of collagen and elastin in our skin with infrared sauna use. Collagen and elastin are the top factors that keep our skin wrinkle-free and youthful. In addition, all patients in the study reported enhanced skin texture, less roughness, and improved color.
Sauna Reduces the Appearance of Scars
Infrared saunas have immune-boosting effects and the remarkable ability to speed up the wound-healing process. This is because infrared light therapy accelerates cell regeneration, supports enhanced tissue growth, and has proven results in healing skin burns and scars.
In addition, the skin is responsible for protecting and regulating the body against and amidst harmful substances. Consider it your first line of immune defense. If the skin is damaged, its ability to perform these functions may become impaired and leave you vulnerable to various illnesses or bacteria inside and out!
Stress Effects on Skin
Stress can have many adverse effects on overall skin health. When we experience stress, our bodies produce stress hormones such as cortisol, sending our immune systems into overdrive and taking a toll on the skin. Some of the ways in which stress can harm the skin include:
- Acne: Stress can trigger the production of oil in the skin, which can lead to the development of acne. Stress can also make existing acne worse.
- Eczema: Stress can cause eczema to flare up or make it worse. Eczema presents as itchy, red, and inflamed skin.
- Psoriasis: Stress can also cause it to flare up or worsen. Psoriasis is a condition that causes red, scaly, and inflamed skin tissue.
- Aging: Stress can lead to the production of free radicals in the body, causing damage to skin cells and leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In addition to these physical effects, stress can also impact overall skin health by causing neglect of skincare routines, unhealthy dietary choices, and loss of reparative sleep.
Lack of Sleep Effects on Skin
Sleep and sauna, what's the connection? Modern research has indicated that infrared saunas can improve subjective sleep quality and autonomic nervous system function.
Lack of sleep can adversely affect the body and skin health. This is because, during regular sleep cycles, our bodies go into repair mode, when the skin has a chance to repair itself and regenerate new cells. Unfortunately, when we don't get enough sleep, our skin doesn't have enough time to repair itself, leading to an array of issues, skin health being just one of them.
Let's look at some of how lack of sleep can affect skin health:
- Dryness: Lack of sleep can cause the skin to become dehydrated, leading to flakiness and irritation.
- Dullness: Lack of sleep can cause the skin to look dull and lackluster. This is because sleep deprivation can decrease blood flow to the skin, affecting its overall appearance.
- Fine lines and wrinkles: Lack of sleep can also lead to developing fine lines and wrinkles, as it can cause the skin to lose elasticity and collagen.
- Dark circles: Lack of sleep can also cause dark circles to appear under the eyes, as it can cause blood vessels in this area to become more visible.
Which Sauna is Best?
Spending time in a quality infrared sauna can be incredibly effective in improving overall health while simultaneously eliminating the build-up of toxins in the skin and the body.
Whether you invest in a traditional outdoor sauna or an infrared sauna depends on your personal preferences and needs. Both saunas can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend time. Still, it is vital to understand the differences and use each safely.
DISCLAIMER: Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using a sauna, as they may not suit everyone.
This article is independently written by Sarah Lopes. All opinions given are hers. Sarah has a Master's Degree in Health Psychology with a concentration in Mind-Body Medicine and has been a Registered Yoga Instructor since 2009. Her passion for health and wellness began as a child and has deeply rooted in her 20 years as a working professional in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions About Infrared Saunas For Skin
Does infrared sauna help clear skin?
Yes! Research shows infrared clears the skin by increasing blood flow, prompting detoxification, and wound healing while reducing fine lines and wrinkles and alleviating uncomfortable conditions like eczema. When infrared light penetrates your skin and heats you gently helps break down and push toxins out of your skin as you sweat. After a sauna session, consume plenty of water, clean the sweat off your skin and rinse off with cold water. This aids in closing the pores.
Does infrared sauna dry out the skin?
Staying hydrated is essential for many health reasons, and none is more critical than preventing dry skin. Though infrared saunas do not cause the skin to dry, we always recommend drinking plenty of water after a sauna session.
Does infrared sauna tighten skin?
Infrared heat deeply penetrates the skin accelerating cellular activity and increasing circulation, which can have an anti-aging effect. This sends nutrients to the skin and detoxifies the pores.
Does infrared sauna help eczema?
Because infrared saunas can help ease the symptoms of eczema, we recommend talking to our infrared sauna experts. We will work with you to formulate a plan to achieve the best results from your sauna. Contact us today!