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False!: A steam bath may feel refreshing and help you relax, but it doesn't magically open your pores—just like cold water does not close your pores. It's a common misconception, but pores do not have muscles around their openings to react to in such way.

In the winter months, a hot shower might be the only thing that gets you out of bed in the mornings, but it’s better to go easy on your skin and opt for a quick, more tepid shower. High temperatures, such as those encountered in steam baths, saunas and hot showers, can be harsh on skin and naturally make you sweat, drawing moisture out of skin and ultimately leaving you with drier, itchy and flaky skin. In fact, any activity that raises your body temperature excessively can also cause capillaries to blossom, resulting in undesirable skin redness.

There are several ways to help boost your skin’s moisture potential in your daily routine. Start by applying an all-over body lotion, immediately after a shower to damp skin to lock in maximum hydration. Or, if you opt for soaking in the tub, be sure to add bath oil. Also look for skincare products that contain powerful humectants that help prevent moisture loss, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin as well as antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E, which replenish vital skin nutrients as you sleep.

The good news is that while steam isn’t desirable for skin, warm water can help loosen any built-up sebum inside pores, which, once cleared, can help your pores appear smaller.

So stay warm (not hot) this winter and spread the word about the hazards of steam and heat when it comes to skin.

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