Skin and sauna: Which skin diseases should I not use in the sauna?


The sauna is part of many cultures around the world, especially in Nordic countries like Finland, where it is an integral part of daily life. Many health benefits are associated with sauna use, such as improved circulation, skin cleansing, lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, as well as reducing stress and muscle tension. The sauna’s ability to stimulate sweating also contributes to the body’s detoxification, which in turn can improve the overall condition of the skin.

How heat and humidity in the sauna affect the skin

The sauna affects the skin in many ways. First, intense heat causes an increase in blood flow, which accelerates the metabolism of skin cells. As a result, the skin becomes firmer, more elastic, and nourished.
Heat and humidity in the sauna also lead to intense sweating. Sweating is a natural skin cleansing process during which toxins and metabolic waste products are excreted. This process contributes to the cleansing of skin pores, which can help reduce acne and blackheads.

Additionally, the sauna can help moisturize the skin. High humidity in the sauna leads to an increase in the skin’s hydration level, which translates into better elasticity and appearance of the skin.

However, it is worth remembering that despite these benefits, different people’s skin reacts to the sauna in different ways, and individuals with specific skin conditions should be cautious. It is always worth consulting with a dermatologist if you have doubts about the impact of the sauna on your skin.

How does the sauna affect unhealthy skin?

Acne, pimples, blackheads

The sauna helps cleanse pores, which can contribute to reducing pimples and blackheads. Heat and humidity can help soften the skin, making it easier to remove blackheads. However, excessive sweating can also lead to pore blockage and intensify acne. Therefore, it is recommended to wash your face after the sauna to remove sweat and oil that could block pores.


The sauna can be beneficial for some people with psoriasis, as moist heat helps moisturize the skin and exfoliate dead cells. However, the sauna may exacerbate symptoms in some people with psoriasis, so it is always worth consulting a doctor before starting to use the sauna.


The sauna can have both positive and negative effects for people with eczema. On the one hand, the humidity of the sauna can help moisturize the skin, which is particularly beneficial for people with eczema who often struggle with dry skin. On the other hand, intense heat can worsen the skin condition, causing irritation and redness. Therefore, people with eczema should use the sauna in moderation and observe their skin’s reaction.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a condition that causes dry, itchy skin, and sometimes also a rash. Similar to eczema, the sauna can help moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. However, intense heat and sweat can irritate the skin and exacerbate atopic dermatitis symptoms. It is important to remember that atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease that requires an individual approach, so people with atopic dermatitis should consult a dermatologist before using the sauna.


The sauna can have a negative impact on rosacea, as intense heat causes blood vessels to dilate, which can increase the visibility of “spider veins”. Therefore, people with rosacea should be cautious when using the sauna and may choose to use a lower temperature sauna to minimize potential risk.


Ringworm is a fungal infection that results in ring-like rashes on the skin. Heat and humidity of the sauna may exacerbate the spread of the fungus, as these conditions create a favorable environment for fungi to thrive. Therefore, it’s not recommended for people with active ringworm infections to use a sauna until the infection has been treated and cleared up. Not only is this important for the infected individual’s health, but it also helps prevent the spread of the fungus to others using the same sauna.


Vitiligo is a condition that causes loss of skin color in patches. There’s no evidence that sauna use directly affects vitiligo. However, as with other skin conditions, individuals with vitiligo should monitor their skin’s response to sauna use. If they notice any adverse effects, they should stop using the sauna and consult a dermatologist.

Practical Tips for Sauna Use

Given the potential benefits and risks of sauna use on skin health, here are some practical tips to optimize your sauna experience:

  1. Hydrate Before and After: Due to the intense sweating, you can easily become dehydrated in a sauna. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your session to compensate for the fluid loss.
  2. Cleanse Your Skin: Before entering the sauna, cleanse your skin to remove makeup, dirt, and oils. After the sauna, take a shower to wash off sweat and toxins that have been released.
  3. Take Breaks: Limit your time in the sauna to avoid overheating. It’s recommended to stay in for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, then take a break and cool down before going back in.
  4. Protect Your Hair: The heat can also affect your hair, making it dry and brittle. Consider wearing a towel or hat to protect your hair.
  5. Moisturize After: After you’ve showered post-sauna, apply a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
  6. Consult a Dermatologist: If you have a skin condition, consult a dermatologist before using a sauna. They can provide personalized advice based on your skin type and condition.

Remember, while saunas can have several benefits for the skin, moderation is key. Overuse can lead to dryness, irritation, and in some cases, exacerbate existing skin conditions. Always listen to your body and adjust your sauna use accordingly.

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Since 2011 I have had my own business selling sauna building materials, sauna cookers and sauna accessories. I know all about building a quality sauna!