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  • Writer's picturePenn Smith

SAUNA - is the buzz really substantiated (and can it help your skin)?

Updated: Mar 15


I love sauna. I mean I really love sauna. It's funny, because I didn't even know I was that keen on sauna until recently when I started committing to it regularly.


I've always liked the feeling of going into a sauna while on vacation at a spa or occasionally at my gym. But it was always a 'one off' - I never committed and, honestly, I didn't really understand the point of it.  And then I started using a sauna blanket. Effectively, sauna blankets simulate the same heat that you'd get in an infrared sauna - but rather than having to visit a gym or install a big wooden shed at home, sauna blankets are small enough to fold up and fit under your bed - and heat up in no time... always there for you to pop into.

So I started enjoying sauna more often - because it was more convenient. But, to be honest, I still wasn't committed. Then I started to look into the data around the health benefits of taking regular saunas. And then I was hooked.


In the past few years as I approached my 50th birthday (which was last November 🙃,) I investigated literally dozens of habits, modalities, lifestyles and products that are purported to support health-span and/or lifespan - because I want my next 50 years to be spent in as good health and happiness as my first 50!  While most of the things I've researched have impressive evidence backing their claims, not one has come even close to having as convincing research backing health and longevity claims as regular sauna use. 


That's where my passion comes from - when the data is so compelling, I'm sold! And I'm not alone; worldwide there's been a 600% increase in Google search volume of  the term “infrared sauna” in the past 20 years, nearly doubling in the past five years alone. 


So if you'd like to learn more about the impressive research behind sauna and hear a bit about how I'm fitting sauna into my life, read on... 😀

This is a rather long blog, so here's a little Table of Contents

  1. What we can learn from Finland (the city of Tampere, Finland is known as the sauna capital of the world - and has UNESCO status to recognize the importance of sauna!)

  2. What are the major benefits of sauna?

  3. How do saunas improve our health? The biological underpinnings, and studies

  4. How to get started

    1. What's the difference between traditional and infrared sauna?

    2. What are some of the protocols? How do I personally use sauna?

    3. Safety

    4. Further reading/viewing - there's lots of great content out there!!


* I have a discount on the HigherDose Sauna Blanket listed at the bottom of this post - in case you're interested in getting toasty soon 🥰





SAUNA - WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM FINLAND


In Finland, sauna use is a huge part of the culture and has been for centuries. Families, friends and colleagues sauna together, share stories and have lively conversations. To give you an idea how much the Finn's love their saunas, there are more saunas than cars in Finland; there are 2 million saunas in Finland for a population of only 5 million. The vast majority of saunas in Finland are the traditional wood-fired stone and steam variety. While saunas are abundant in other cultures such as Russia, Sweden, Estonia and Japan, the Finn's are worth special attention because much of our understanding of the health benefits of sauna comes from decades of Finish scientists studying sauna use among their population.


In particular, Finnish researcher, Dr.Jari Laukkanen who's a clinical cardiologist and cardiovascular epidemiologist has been at the head of a huge amount of highly respected research on the health benefits of sauna. Dr. Laukkanen headed a piece of research where they studied data on over 2000 middle aged Finnish men collected over a five year period in the 1980s - and then revisited the subjects 20 years later. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 entitled "Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events."


The study reported an impressive association between frequent sauna bathing and a reduced risk of fatal cardiovascular events. Effectively, the men who had more frequent sauna sessions experienced a lower incidence of sudden cardiac death and coronary heart disease. The research also found a correlation between sauna use and decreased all-cause mortality. In other words, participants who used saunas more often exhibited a signicantly lower risk of dying from any cause. Of particular note is "the dose-dependent" relationship between sauna use and health benefits. The risk reduction for cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality was more pronounced in participants who used the sauna more frequently. Specifically, the study suggested that using the sauna 2-4 times per week was associated with a lower risk, and the risk reduction became more significant with higher frequency - even up to daily use. 



BENEFITS OF SAUNA


There are so many benefits of sauna and nearly as many published papers elucidating these benefits as there are saunas in Finland 🧖‍♀️.  Much of the research isn't conclusive, but it's all compelling. Below is a non exhaustive list of some of the ways sauna use can benefit our health - all backed up by compelling studies. How sauna has such wide-reaching benefits actually has roots in a more finite list of 'mechanisms of action' some of which we'll go into below.





HEART HEALTH

Sauna bathing has been associated with potential cardiovascular benefits that contribute to heart health. Studies, such as the one mentioned above published in JAMA in 2015, have suggested that frequent sauna bathing is linked to a reduced risk of fatal cardiovascular events, including sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease. The heat exposure during sauna sessions induces vasodilation, leading to improved blood circulation and potentially helping to lower blood pressure. Additionally, sauna use may enhance endothelial (the cells lining the blood vessels including arteries, veins and capillaries and also the lymphatic system) function by promoting the release of nitric oxide, a compound that supports blood vessel dilation. And of course the relaxation induced by sauna sessions and their stress-reducing effects may contribute to overall well-being - which can help our cardiovascular health.


BRAIN HEALTH

Some studies suggest that regular sauna use may have positive effects on cognitive function and brain health. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal Age and Ageing found an association between frequent sauna use and a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the study group of middle-aged men. The mechanisms underlying these potential benefits are not entirely clear but may involve improved cardiovascular health, increased blood flow to the brain, and the release of certain neuroprotective factors (we'll talk below about heat shock proteins.)


A 2018 study conducted by Dr. Laukkanen and published in Neurology concluded that regular sauna bathing is correlated with a decreased risk of stroke. The study showed that middle aged men and women who used sauna 4-7 times a week have a 61% lower chance of suffering a stroke than those who sauna once a week. Sauna bathing 2-3 times a week lowers the risk by 14%. The study attributed reduction of stroke risk to the lowering of the blood pressure, immune system activation and better regulation of the autonomous nervous system - as well as the improved functioning of the cardiovascular system brought on by very regular sauna bathing.


FITNESS, EXCERCISE AND MUSCLE RECOVERY

This is an interesting one. I wouldn't have guessed it but sauna has some similar benefits to moderate aerobic exercise. Like cardio exercise, sauna elevates our heart rate, albeit through different mechanisms. Saunas induce a rise in heart rate by promoting vasodilation (widening our blood vessels to allow more blood to flow), while aerobic exercise achieves it through physical exertion. Both saunas and exercise promoting better blood flow throughout the body - including of course in our skin. Additionally, sauna gives me a similar 'endorphin high' as a brisk walk or cardio session at the gym. While it certainly isn't a substitute for the benefits of going for a big walk in nature or getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes, regular sauna use can complement the activity that we already have in place. I don't know about you, but I move a lot less during these frigid winter months - so I love knowing that sauna will help me 'top up' the health benefits of exercise.


Sauna also promotes recovery after a workout. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training in 2018 reported that using a sauna after eccentric exercise (like lowering into a squat or a push-up) reduced muscle soreness in participants. As mentioned above, saunas enhance blood circulation, which can help with nutrient and oxygen delivery to muscles, aiding in recovery.


WEIGHT LOSS

This is a controversial topic. Can sauna help with weight loss? The quick answer is 'yes'... but the vast majority of studies point to the weight loss coming from water weight - quickly regained when the body is rehydrated (but this technique works really well for competitive boxers and body builders who have to maintain a very specific weight threshold before a big event.)


Having said that, a recent study pointed to some evidence that local application of heat might turns white fat to beige/brown fat. The study, published in 2022 in the journal Cell, investigated the impact of applying heat locally to both mice and humans. In the human study, the upper shoulder/upper back areas had heat applied. The researchers found that the therapy induced a process called 'browning' of white fat. Browning involves the conversion of white fat cells into beige or brown fat cells. This conversion is significant because brown fat is known for its ability to burn calories and generate heat (almost like muscle tissue,) potentially contributing to weight loss. The study suggests that local heat therapy could be a promising approach for treating obesity by promoting the 'browning' of white fat, thereby enhancing the metabolism. I first learned about this on Andrew Huberman's Youtube channel. Huberman rightly warned people 'not to try this at home!! These findings are early and no safe protocols have been established. Still, it is fascinating and adds to the picture of heat (and cold!) as very legitimate therapies that can promote significant biological change.


Incidentally, studies on using cold for weight loss are a bit more abundant - some studies suggest that regular exposure to cold environments or plunging in cold water could aid in weight loss by promoting the activation of brown fat and improving overall metabolic health. This is another area that has roots in Nordic countries - Susanna Søberg is the Danish researcher who's leading a lot of this research.


DETOXIFICATION

This is another controversial topic.  The concept of "detoxification" is often used in various contexts, but it's essential to clarify that the liver is the primary organ responsible for detoxifying the body. The liver processes and eliminates toxins from the bloodstream, converting them into less harmful substances that can be excreted.

Saunas, which induce sweating, are sometimes promoted as a way to "detoxify" the body. Sweating itself is a natural process that helps regulate body temperature and eliminate some waste products, including certain minerals and small amounts of toxins. However, the primary organs involved in detoxification are the liver and kidneys.


While saunas can promote sweating and potentially contribute to the elimination of some toxins through sweat, they do not directly impact the liver's detoxification processes. The liver's function is not significantly influenced by saunas or sweating.






MOOD AND NEUROTRANSMITTER SUPPORT

This may seem like a less important benefit, or an afterthought - but for me this is one of my top reasons for committing to sauna. Spending time in a sauna to the point of discomfort (but still safely!!) can influence the release of dynorphin, a neuropeptide involved in stress response and mood regulation.  This is one of the reasons saunas have been associated with potential mood-enhancing effects - it's partly sitting there doing nothing that so few of us get to do these days  😂 but also partly this 'feel good factor' can be attributed to the release of endorphins and modulation of dynorphin levels. Endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals, are released both during and after sauna sessions due to the heat stress. These endorphins can contribute to a sense of euphoria and improved mood.



SLEEP SUPPORT

Sauna use has been associated with potential benefits for sleep quality and relaxation. The heat exposure during a sauna session induces a rise in body temperature, and the subsequent cooling process that occurs after leaving the sauna may mimic the body's natural circadian rhythm, signaling to the brain that it is time to prepare for sleep. Additionally, the relaxation induced by the warm and soothing environment of a sauna may help alleviate stress and tension, contributing to a more relaxed state conductive to sleep.


LAST BUT NOT LEAST, SAUNA FOR SKIN!

Sauna use can potentially contribute to improved skin quality through various mechanisms. However, it's important to note that individual responses may vary, and consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended if you have specific concerns or skin conditions. Here are some ways in which sauna use might positively impact skin health:

Increased circulation. As mentioned above, the heat in a sauna can lead to vasodilation, which means that blood vessels expand. This helps to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body, including the skin. Improved circulation can bring more oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, promoting overall skin health.


  1. Exfoliation. Sweating in a sauna can also help facilitate the removal of dead skin cells. Anybody who's ever had a good sauna sweat may have exprienced that 'rolling off of dead skin' - so rewarding 😃)

  2. Collagen Production. Some proponents suggest that the heat and sweating in a sauna could stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a protein that provides structure to the skin, and its production may contribute to skin elasticity and firmness.

  3. Improving Skin Barrier. An article in the publication Karger concluded that 'the present data suggest a protective effect of regular sauna on skin physiology, especially surface pH and stratum corneum water-holding capacity.'

  4. Less puffiness. Through a combination of increased body temperature, improved blood circulation and enhanced muscle contraction, sauna can help our lymph flow!!  You may know that puffiness (on my face and body!) is something I've suffered with for years and years. While I'm only one person, I can confidently say that I feel less puffy since committing to regular sauna. It's funny - While I hadn't anticipated this benefit, I'm thrilled to bits!!

  5. Decreases ROS. We know how reactive oxygen species can wreak havoc on our skin (that's why we use all those antioxidants!!)  sauna enhances the activity of our system upping boosting enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase -leading to a more effective removal of ROS.


MECHANISMS OF ACTION:

HOW DO SAUNAS WORK TO IMPROVE OUR HEALTH?


What does sauna have in common with microneedling and strength training with weights in the gym?   Hmm... they're all good for us, but it may not be obvious that their benefit has a common underpinning: hormesis.  In fact, so much of what helps us grow and keep healthy and well has underpinnings in hormesis.


Sauna heat prompts a number of responses in the body, including the activation of heat shock proteins (HSPs) and the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines. I've just touched on some of what's going on in the background as we relax in the sauna. The whole process is highly complex (and not fully understood.) If you're interested in learning more I encourage you to do further research - I've included some links below to get you started.


HEAT SHOCK PROTEINS (HSPs)


Sauna use has been found to stimulate the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs), a family of proteins crucial for cellular stress response and adaptation. When the body is exposed to the high temperatures in a sauna, cells undergo a form of stress (hormesis) prompting the production of HSPs as a protective mechanism. Heat shock proteins play a huge role in maintaining cellular homeostasis by assisting in something called 'protein folding', preventing protein aggregation. Protein folding is the natural process of proteins adopting specific shapes for proper function, much like folding paper into origami. On the other hand, protein aggregation is when proteins lose their correct shapes and start sticking together, leading to functional problems and potentially contributing to diseases including neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases.







ANTI-INFLAMMATORY CYTOKINES

Sauna use induces an increase in the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-10 (IL-10), which play a vital role in regulating the immune response and dampening inflammatory processes. Additionally, sauna-induced heat stress has been associated with a reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines, helping to enhance the immune system. Effectively studies show that regular sauna use can reduce chronic inflammation - and we know how many health issues are caused by chronic inflammation.


ENHANCED CIRCULATION

Sauna sessions have been found to positively impact circulation, and one key mechanism involved is the enhancement of nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes and widens blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow. Exposure to the heat in a sauna induces a heat stress response in the body, triggering the release of nitric oxide. As the body heats up, endothelial cells lining the blood vessels release more nitric oxide, promoting vasodilation and facilitating better circulation. This dilation of blood vessels helps to increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to various tissues and organs.



HOW TO GET STARTED


TRADITIONAL VS. INFRARED?


Okay, now we get down to the practical 😀. Based on my research, pretty much all saunas that can get to the right temperatures are good for you... but like with everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to different choices, and some will fit your preferences and lifestyle better than others. While the below info isn't exhaustive, these are the top level distinctions I've found.  But as I've indicated above - the most important thing is to choose a sauna approach that will enable you to be as compliant as possible!!  One word of caution... saunas get hot. Everybody is different but for me personally, it's important that I know and trust the company I'm buying a sauna from. I want to know that it's safe but also that there is excellent service backing up the product.


First off - the technology: Infrared saunas and traditional saunas offer distinct experiences and have different mechanisms for generating heat. Here's a comparison of the relative benefits of infrared saunas vs. traditional saunas:


Traditional Saunas: 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. They have a long history of use (and study): Traditional saunas have a long history of use across various cultures. They are well-established in promoting relaxation, improving circulation, and offering a social aspect to the sauna experience. And most studies on the benefits of sauna are done on subjects using traditional saunas.

  2. Wet and Dry Options: Traditional saunas come in both wet (steam) and dry versions. Steam saunas can provide additional benefits for the skin and respiratory system, while dry saunas offer a more intense dry heat experience.  Most studies are done on the Finnish model where the 'hot stone' saunas typically offer humidity of 5-20% , depending on how often the hot stones are doused with water.

  3. Higher Air Temperatures: Traditional saunas use heated air to warm the body indirectly. The air temperature in traditional saunas can be much higher (around 150-195°F or 66-90°C), leading to more intense sweating.

  4. Relaxation: The enveloping heat of traditional saunas can induce a deep sense of relaxation and stress relief, contributing to an overall feeling of well-being.


Infrared Saunas: The temperature range for most infrared saunas is approximately 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 66 degrees Celsius).

  1. Deep Tissue Penetration: Infrared saunas use infrared light to directly heat the body, penetrating the skin more deeply than traditional saunas. This can potentially lead to a more profound heating effect at the cellular level (more research here)

  2. Lower Operating Temperatures: Infrared saunas typically operate at lower temperatures (around 120-150°F or 49-66°C) compared to traditional saunas. This makes them more tolerable for individuals who may find the high temperatures of traditional saunas uncomfortable.

  3. Easier Breathing: The lower operating temperatures in infrared saunas can be more comfortable for individuals with respiratory conditions, as the air is not as hot and dry as in traditional saunas.

  4. Quick Warm-Up Time: Infrared saunas generally have a quicker warm-up time compared to traditional saunas, allowing users to start their sessions sooner.

  5. More cost effective (and simple) to run if the unit is at home.


To get the benefits you'll want to make sure the heat is xxx and you stay for yyy.  For liablility reasons, many gyms and health clubs in the US keep their saunas at a cooler temperature -so it might make sense to inquire. The important thing is that you're able to get hot enough. As Andrew Huberman


PUBLIC SAUNAS

If you're not sure whether you're going to like using a sauna, the sensible place to start would be to visit a public one local to you. This might be in your gym or health club/spa.


So many gyms/health clubs have saunas these days. This can be such a good way to 'test the waters' to see if you enjoy sauna and wether you're likely to commit. It's also an extremely cost effective way to introduce sauna to your life - normally included with gym memberships.


Some other options:

Twin Cities Sauna Cooperative: https://612saunasociety.com/



HOME SAUNAS

For those people wanting to sauna in the privacy of their own home, there are a number of choices.


Sauna suits. I've done a bit of research into sauna suits after Andrew Huberman mentioned them in his video on heat exposure. These are certainly very cost effective. Huberman suggested that these may be an affordable option.

Hot baths. Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Andrew Huberman both suggested a hot bath could be a good cost effective option. I guess it's worth a try but I'd be very careful about the temperature of the water. Additionally there is a concern regarding water waste and the fuel cost of heating water that high has to be considered in the cost equation.

Pods/tents. There are a few options here from 'tents' or 'pods' you can set up and sit in on a chair. These range from $100 on Amazon to a few thousand dollars. They have infrared lights that can be suspended from the sides/top. Some have mats at the base that can collect the sweat. Honestly, none of these had amazing reviews so I haven't tried them.

Sauna blankets.

I have the HigherDose sauna blanket (and insert) which goes from 68 to 158 degrees. I really love this as a portable (relatively) affordable option for someone wanting to do sauna at home. And I love HigherDose as a company. It's founded and run by women and their products are not only innovative but they really pay attention to the detail. And the quality is top.


 

HigherDose Sauna Blanket https://go.shopmy.us/p-1166409 code PENNHD for a discount.




 


Walk in saunas. I have the full spectrum sauna from HigherDose https://go.shopmy.us/p-3831582 Max temperature 176 Fahrenheit.


MY PERSONAL PROTOCOL - AND NOTES


One thing I want to be sure to mention. In order to get the most benefits out of sauna (or cold) therapy, one must get uncomfortable. We need to be safe, but we need to be uncomfortable. I picked this up about sauna therapy from this Andrew Huberman YouTube video. The feeling of discomfort starts when the hormones are being released that are doing the good).  Funnily, I picked up the same piece of information when I watched Huberman's interview about cold therapy with Susanna Søberg.  The point is that both hot 🔥 and cold 🥶 therapy (like so many things that help us grow) can be uncomfortable. In fact, the released dynorphin that makes us feel uncomfortable is what sets off those amazing heat shock proteins too.  Over time the 'feel good' hormones take over and the background stuff happens that make us healthier. But it isn't like sitting on a sunny beach - it's a bit uncomfortable.


How long I stay in the sauna depends on the free time I have and whether I'm at home, traveling, or staying with family. I have both a cabin sauna and a sauna blanket.


What I do before my sauna:

  1. Hydrate internally: LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes (on Amazon) or plain water (I like mine with lemon slices)

  2. Clean face: I always cleanse my skin before sauna and apply lightweight skincare (I am going to sweat so I don't go crazy!)

  3. Serums: Keep it light. I often use my Drmtlgy 10X hydration and needle-serum (no moisturizer) to keep my skin hydrated. My sauna is dry and if I use nothing my skin feels strangely dry and sweaty all at once.

  4. I dry brush my arms and legs (sometimes I skip my legs and only do my arms... I am not sure why ... I am guessing laziness lol).

What I do during my sauna:

  1. Hydrate internally: LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes (on Amazon) or plain water (I like mine with lemon slices)

  2. Relax. Sometimes I talk on the phone, sometimes I listen to a podcast. I often study for content I'm working on. I recently bought a Kindle scribe (you can take NOTES 🤯) and I love to study and take notes. If I am in my sauna blanket I try to really relax. I listen to podcasts (I think I have listened to every single Dateline ever made LOL) or I take the time to catch up with friends on the phone. It is beyond relaxing. I do get to that 'uncomfortable point', and I try to push through it a bit before getting out in a puddle LOL. On that note, I HIGHLY recommend the sauna insert. I started out without one and would get in with sweats and socks on, with the insert I can wear shorts and a tank. I throw the insert in the wash as needed- I consider it a must have with the sauna blanket.


What I do after my sauna (check the bottom of the page for any discounts I have negotiated!)

  1. Hydrate internally: LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes on Amazon (I like mango chili flavor BTW) or just plain water, or water with lemon. This is so important (hydration).

  2. I typically shower after sauna because I am sweaty. This is when I do my hair routine- I put a bond buiding conditioner or pre-shampoo conditioner in my hair and prep my shower. I shampoo and mask in the shower. Sometimes I will sauna with a deep conditioner in my hair or I'll wear a sauna hat to protect. my hair from drying out.

  3. I always cleanse, treat, hydrate and protect my skin after sauna (like any other day from the start)

  4. My AM routine right now is

    1. Cleanse: (various cleansers) but I am loving the Cerave SA cleanser after sauna: Find it on Amazon

    2. Treat: I'm testing a new device (JOVS DPL) so if it is testing day I will do that before moving on with my routine. I am pretty excited about this device. I have taken before pictures with my skin analysis camera (The Reveal: Visia's little sister) and I have high hopes that this device will reduce my redness and brown spots (which is what it claims to do). I will report back! In the meantime, check it out! It is unlike any other at-home IPL I have tried.

    3. Tone: I often use lotion P50 1970 from Biologique Recherche (this is completely dependent on how my skin feels and whether or not I did the JOVS device)

    4. Serum: Revivserums Ultimate serum and Drmtlgy Vitamin CEF are next (I go back and forth on their order. Either way I wait a few minutes before applying the other).

    5. Moisturizer: if I need it- typically Drmtlgy Water Creme or Drmtlgy Peptide Night (beautiful during the day)

    6. SPF: I am pretty faithful to my Drmtlgy Universal Tinted Moisturizer. I have yet to find one that checks ALL the boxes and performs like a priming perfect-or. It's just gorgeous.

    7. Makeup next if I wear it.


This routine does change as I test things but this has been my core routine FOREVER.

Obviously I mask, I use under eye masks, I mist (unless I forget...but I love a good mist! The Futurewise mist from Target is SO good!) I sometimes use manual exfoliation...But this is the basis of my routine (for years and years). 😄


On my body I love the Riddle Original Oil (have you tried this?! SO SO GOOD), Gold Bond Body Moisturizer (on Amazon) and the OneSkin Body lotion. I have other body butters and lotions but those three are my staples.





Safety


Whether you've got a home sauna, are visiting one at a gym or other facility, or have invested in an infrared sauna blanket, you'll want to take a few precautions (it really can get hot in there!!)


Consultation with a doctor.

Before hopping into an infrared sauna, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. Individuals with cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems, or other chronic illnesses should seek guidance to ensure that infrared sauna use is safe for them. Of course, if you're pregnant you should avoid saunas - and check with your doctor if you've recently had a baby and/or are breastfeeding.


Stay Hydrated:

Proper hydration is key when using an infrared sauna. Sweating is a natural response to the heat, and it's important to replenish lost fluids. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session to avoid dehydration. Adding a good electolite product to your water helps ensure that you're replacing those key minerals that you'll be sweating out.


Pace yourself

Most manufacturers recommend (and I agree) that it's best to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your body acclimates to the heat. Typically, 15-30 minute sessions are recommended, but individual tolerance varies. Listen to your body, and exit the sauna if you feel uncomfortable.


Temperature Moderation

Most infrared saunas allow users to control the temperature. Begin with a lower setting and adjust as needed. Extreme temperatures can lead to discomfort or overheating, so finding a balance that suits your preferences is crucial. Again, best to start low and go slow!!


Clothing and Accessories while you sauna

Wear lightweight, breathable clothing to allow your body to sweat efficiently. I like to remove jewelery to prevent any burns or discomfort. If you're using a public sauna you'll want to sit on a towel - I do this with my big sauna at home too just to keep things hygenic (and comfy!).


When I use my HigherDose sauna blanket I always use the HigherDose insert that's made for the blanket. It's very soft, perfectly sized to fit inside the blanket and is designed to be particularly absorbent. I misplaced the insert for a short period so have tried going into the blanket  wearing light workout clothes and socks and I really don't recommend it - it didn't absorb enough sweat and didn't protect my hands from the higher heat - I had to wear socks on my hands!!  If you're considering the HigherDose blanket and want to save on the price of the insert you might consider measuring out two large absorbent towels and sowing them together to form a sleeping bag 🙂.



Further reading/viewing - there's lots of great content out there!!

The Science & Health Benefits of Deliberate Heat Exposure https://youtu.be/EQ3GjpGq5Y8?si=UABG0LljzL5DYoL4

Sauna Benefits Deep Dive and Optimal Use with Dr. Rhonda Patrick https://youtu.be/RWkv9ad7zvc?si=HlxDiuzv_QykpRdz

Sauna use as a lifestyle practice to extend healthspan https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34363927/




FTC: Links in this post are affiliate ~ Please take note that all links on this page are affiliate and if you choose to shop from them I earn a commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support!!!

Penn Smith Skincare participates in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate program. All Amazon links are affiliate. If you choose to use any Amazon link Penn Smith earns commissions.


Disclaimer: This post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or skin related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this website should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare/skin professional. The statements made about specific products throughout this website are not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. It is important that you check labels to determine if a product is right for you. Before starting any treatment at home consult a health care or skin care professional to determine if it’s right for you.





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3 則留言


Claudia Ayala
Claudia Ayala
2月10日

It's crazy how this came out in time, I was searching about this!! Thank you Penn🥰

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Alyssa Carrera Messina
Alyssa Carrera Messina
2月10日

Penn, first of all, THANK YOU for the exhaustive research you did. We’re all benefitting from you sharing this info with us! You’ve almost sold me but I’m most concerned with my melasma (which I finally see some improvement on thanks to oral Tranexemic acid!). I love going in the hot tub, but I’ve noticed that after that or even a hot bath, my skin gets aggravated and I def think my hyperpigmentation is exacerbated by heat in general. How are you finding your skin reacting? Is there something special about sauna or the infrared heat that somehow bypasses the mechanisms of what would normally cause a worsening of melasma/pigment? Thanks again!

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R A
R A
2月10日
回覆

Melasma girl here too, and heat absolutely makes my melasma worse. I would LOVE to sauna too, so would appreciate a cheat code too if there is one!

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