steam facial

We’ve all heard it said that steam opens skin pores. Well, that’s only partially true. Pores don’t actually open and close. But, skin can become softer and more supple. That last bit is the key to achieving clear and beautiful skin.

Anyone with acne will attest to the fact that caring for their skin is extremely frustrating. Food can set off a reaction, as can the weather (as in a hot and humid day), even the sweat from exercising can result in a break-out.

What’s a person to do?

The key to taking control of acne break-outs is to use very gentle skin cleaning methods. Many of the over-the-counter creams and soaps are abrasive and will likely result in irritated skin, which … you guessed it … can cause a sudden rash of pimples.

Dealing with acne is a teenager is one thing. Pretty much everyone deals with it then. But as an adult? Shouldn’t we have been able to bid goodbye to this problem?

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that acne can plague us our whole lives. So, I’ve come across a gentle cleaning solution that has been proven to work. Purify your skin’s pores with a steam shower!

A gentle and warm steam shower session softens your skin. While your skin is still soft and warm, spread a gentle exfoliating cream and cleaner over problem areas. Let the product remain on your skin for the prescribed amount of time. Rinse and dry carefully. Throughout the whole process, try not to pull at or rub your skin. Dab a soft towel across your skin instead.

Because steaming softens skin, the cleaning product you use will do a better job at loosening any dirt and dead skin. You’ll be left with soft, clear skin. Better yet, a steam shower experience is the ultimate in spa luxury. Relax and enjoy it – you deserve it!

Photo: marketwatch.com

Photo: marketwatch.com

Are you a soaker? I mean are you the kind of person who loves to soak in a bathtub at the start – or end – of a long day? I have to say that I don’t know many people who are. When my daughter was little, we definitely needed a tub in the house. It’s pretty hard to blow bubbles and play with water toys in a shower.

But now, the tub … well … just sits there. We have to clean it because it’s there. If it gets used a few times a year, that’s a lot. So, I have to ask, is a bathtub really necessary?

Turns out I’m not alone in wondering. Since the shower is used so much more in most households, that’s where designers have really gone all out. You can now find large two-person showers, showers with bench seating, steam showers that make you feel like you have your own personal spa. The trend has swung so far the other way that many people are ripping out what bathtubs they have in favor of a larger shower.

Other than the fact that I had a small child at the time, when I renovated the bathroom, I decided to keep the bathtub. There’s only one in the house, so it really wasn’t a big deal in terms of fighting for space. But, my other consideration was that if I ever wanted to sell my home, what would prospective buyers think of a house that didn’t have a bathtub?

Real estate agents have responded to that question with a collective, “don’t worry!” There are lots of buyers out there who would prefer not to have a tub at all. Given that I live in an area popular with young families, I don’t think I made the wrong decision to keep my bathtub. But, if you’ve had enough of cleaning a fixture that never gets used, you shouldn’t worry about doing away with it. In fact, and as I mentioned above, modern showers come with so many options – like no thresholds (making it easier to get in and out for those with mobility issues), multiple shower heads that can be placed and aimed from above and/or the side, and even showers with no doors at all.

Would you remove your bathtub in favor of a better shower?

Photo: houzz.com

Photo: houzz.com

Don’t you just love the look of the bathroom in the photo above. There’s just something so soothing and beautiful about the combination of natural materials. I guess the neutral colors add to that feeling as well. But, I think that bathroom would look just as beautiful if the wood panelling was stained in a natural redwood color.

As you might have already guessed, wood – natural or composite – remains a huge trend this year. There are really natural-looking composites available, too, that are a little less expensive than the real thing, but look as if they are real wood. In this busy, digital world we live in, we seem to really yearn for a natural, back-to-basics look and feel for our homes.

At one time, installing a wood floor or walls in the bathroom would’ve been viewed as pure folly. Anyone who attempted that was asking for trouble. Mold, warping, splitting … water environments and wood just don’t get along very well.

The last number of years have seen a spike in products formulated to treat and protect wood from water damage. Most of those products are also environmentally-friendly and contain low levels of toxins. Win-win, right?

Just as in the rest of the house, neutral colors continue to rule the bathroom. Neutral does not have to mean plain old beige or off-white. Soft pastels, like grey, blue and green, add beautiful color without clashing or overpowering the space.

At one time, paint was really our only way of adding personality to a room. Now, decorative tile is the way to go. You can buy tiles with designs printed on them. Or choose textured tile, like tumbled marble. But, a particularly hot trend this year is to create a pattern or geometric design (like herringbone) out of flat, plain white tiles.

What are your favorite bathroom design trends?