First things first: Infrared saunas are the 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 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: