Why I’m Addicted To Far-infrared Saunas And Why They’re So Great For The Skin

Why I’m Addicted To Far-infrared Saunas And Why They’re So Great For The Skin

My sauna experienceOne of the great things about working in the natural skin care industry is the great people I meet along the way. A couple of weeks ago I made a new friend, Andrew, who works with far-infrared saunas.

Andrew is very passionate about what he does (which I now understand why after trying one of these things). But when he first told me he worked with saunas my first impressions were still “yeah whatever”, because I could vaguely remember sitting in a steam sauna with my girlfriends over ten years ago now and not liking it at all because it felt way too humid to be comfortable.

But then Andrew told me that the saunas he works with are far-infrared (FIR), there’s no steam involved AND they’re amazingly good at detoxifying the skin. So now I was interested. And of course even more interested when Andrew invited me around for a session to try it out for myself.

My far-infrared sauna experience

My sauna experienceI was a little wary before my first FIR sauna experience because of my previous steam sessions that I didn’t particularly like. I’m a summer girl so I love the heat but steam saunas can get uncomfortably hot and very humid which is not that fun. So on the way to my FIR session I was a little more apprehensive than excited because I assumed this sauna experience would be the same as the others.

Wow was I wrong. I was lucky enough to enjoy a cabin FIR sauna for a whole 45 minutes. Sure the last ten minutes were feeling a little too hot and uncomfortable and I should’ve either opened the door or finished earlier, but the first 35 minutes were absolute bliss. Sitting in the cabin felt so beautiful, cosy and warm. Andrew gave me a few CDs to play in there (yes some cabins have CD and DVD players) and I took in a book to read figuring I’d get bored sitting in there for 45 minutes. But it was so cosy and so warm that all I wanted to do was close my eyes, relax and do nothing.

Infrared saunas are different to traditional steam saunas in a lot of ways. But most noticeably by the lack of steam. In fact the heat feels like a dry heat (I can tell because my hair didn’t go frizzy at all) even though you sweat a lot. And wow did I sweat. For the first 20 minutes or so I had a nice little sexy glisten of sweat. By the end of the 45 minutes my body was literally dripping with sweat, which …was no longer sexy at all! Was it uncomfortable? No, because I was in there to sweat out some toxins so was happy that it was actually working.

But the best part was how amazingly good I felt after the session. You know that feeling after you’ve had a long hot bubble bath or a good massage? It was exactly the same feeling as that. I felt happy and relaxed, and to be honest I think it calmed my mind down a little so it must be good at reducing the vata too.

The night after my sauna session I went out with a friend of mine. One of the first things she said to me was “wow, you’re glowing” which of course every girl wants to be told, but it’s especially desirable in the industry I work in. I’m not entirely sure why I was glowing that night but I can’t help thinking the sauna session had something to do with it. And my skin did feel clearer and healthier for a few days afterwords.

Cabin vs capsule

I also got to borrow a smaller “capsule” sauna for the weekend (by the way, did I tell you how much I love my job?) which was great because I got to have a few more sessions to really test it out and I got to compare the different sizes. It’s actually called a “solo system” but I prefer capsule because that’s just what it looks like. Don’t you think?

capsule FIR sauna
solo system

cabin FIR sauna
cabin sauna

I have to say that even though I enjoyed the capsule and it did give me a good detox, I liked the cabins a lot better. In the capsules your head sticks out the top which frustrated me a little because I felt like it wasn’t detoxing the skin on my face enough which is the area I’m most concerned with.

For this reason, if I was to purchase a FIR sauna I’d definitely invest in a cabin. And there are lots of sizes to choose from so I wouldn’t need to be ridiculous with the size. I tried a couple while I was in the show room and even the smallest cabins are comfortable.

How it works

To be honest I was initially surprised when Andrew told me how great they are for the skin and how acne sufferers have seen improvements from regular sessions. But really it makes sense. We all know that acne is caused by toxins and dead skin cells that have built up under the skin, so of course you’re going to see improvements if you sweat these toxins out before they turn into a spot.

If you want a detailed scientific description on how and why far-infrared saunas work at detoxing the body and the skin then you’ve come to the wrong blog. I’m just not that scientifically minded (hey, I read the material so I tried!). But if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the Sunlight Saunas website which is where I had my trial session.

There’s also a passage here from The Science of Far Infrared Therapies by Dr. Toshiko Yamazaki, MD which explains it all better than I could -

When a 10 micron FIR wave is applied to thee large water molecules containing toxins, the water becomes active. It begins to vibrate. This vibration reduces the ion bonds of the atoms which are holding together the molecules of water. As the breakdown of the water molecules occurs, encapsulated gases and other toxic materials are released.

Whatever that means, but it sounds impressive.

Apparently FIR saunas help with blood circulation and deep cleansing of impurities. Research has also shown improvements in acne (which is what we wanted to know about right?), rashes, burns and skin lesions.

Tonight I had to give my solo sauna back which was a bit sad but I know I’ll have another session again soon. If you want to try a far-infrared sauna too, then check out your local spas because they’re the ones that are most likely to own them.

Info for Aussies …

If you’re in Australia, then check out the Sunlight Saunas website. They have a list of spas that they can refer you on to.

Sunlight Saunas are also available for rent which works out to be a bit cheaper or a good way to trial before you buy. To arrange this, you can call them on 1800 SUNLIGHT (1800 756 544), email sales@sunlightsaunas.com.au or visit the website and leave your details.

29 comments… add one

  • Colin Mc Callum

    Hi there, dont know if you can help me.
    I purchased an infra red Luxury Cedar Signature sauna with solocarbon far – infra red technology from Sunlight saunas in Queensland.
    It was purchased for my partner Pauline and soul mate who at 40 was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer stage 4.
    It was purchased to help her relax and help with pain management and it is set up in our home,
    It is set up and is in immaculate condition it was the luxury signature series seats 6 people / I believe.
    Tragically I lost Pauline on November just 5 months after it was set up.
    I know it was therapeutic and gave a lot of comfort to her. I have only used it approx 6 times since then and I feel it would be better for someone who loves saunas to have it.
    I have all receipts and I believe it was around $11000 will have to check.Comes with a full 7 year warrenty so it still has at least 5 – 6 years left
    If you know anyone interested it will be going up for sale in the next 2 weeks for $6900. There is a local man who sets them up in Perth they are very straight forward
    My home number is 0408 917 756 or home 9305 4552 if you know of any interested partys , its a very good saving on the cost
    I can also e mail pictures if you like
    Thanks for your help

  • vola

    thank you for your suggestions n wishes

  • Kristina

    Hi Vola,
    The sauna that you are using doesnt sound like an infrared sauna? An infrared sauna is a dry sauna, no hot rocks, no water… there are heating panels in the walls that produce far-infrared. The heat is at a very comfortable temperature… it is not as hot as a hot rock sauna, but the far-infrared penetrates so much deeper into the body and induces the deepest cleansing sweat! i cant use a hot rock sauna because i get burst capillaries in my face.. thats why the sunlight sauna is so great. If you are using a Sunlight Sauna it shouldnt be affecting your use of antibiotics.

    I have heard couple of cases of people who have used tretinoin and have had the same reaction to it that you are now (google ‘tretinoin effects’). knowledge is power! the more you know about products that you are putting on your skin the better – one of the side effects of Tretnoin is sensitivity to Sunlight. this could by a reason as to why this is happening? i would be reluctant to use a chemical on my skin as it not only strips away the protective layer but the body absorbs all toxins… natural and organic is best! Get into a Sunlight Sauna and sweat away the toxic burdens on your body.
    Good Luck for your wedding!! i’m sure it will be a magical day!

  • vola

    @Kristina was your acne itchy and painful with big red patches? coz that is what mine look like on my right cheek ……….full with it ……….

    i take infrared sauna (the rock/sweat one) everyday at least 30 min plus i take wet paper towel to wipe up my face when i exit coz outside of sauna is very cold and i do not wish that my skin observes remainig sweat back to my skin as it might make it worse or more time to heal

    I also use tretinoin gel .05% …….it make my skin dry and than it starts peeling off

    Does anyone know if it is safe to use infrared sauna when i use antibiotic (doxycycline) for acne?

    I really hope my skin will clear up by end of Nov as i am getting married in Nov.

    Plz pray for me ………………….

  • Kristina


    i have seen people who have had huge scars and it has slowly disappeared with the use of a far-infrared sauna. Reason being is that because the wavelengths penetrate deep into the tissue, it slowly starts to break up the clumping. The only time that i have seen scars flare up is when there is a build up of toxins underneath the scarring… but after a few uses it does improve. However, in saying this i would always recommend to take on board the advice of professionals, and if you still want to proceed, do so with caution.
    Far-Infrared is such a wonderful healing heat that, for my personal use at least – no matter what ailments i have or dont have – i couldnt imagine not using my sauna for any reason. :)

  • Kristina

    Hi Vola,

    When i first starting using the saunas, my skin too started to break out more than usual. This only lasted about 10 days for me… and is definitely not a bad thing.
    Because far-infrared saunas penetrate deep into the skin – it is helping the body detox from any impurities – the breakouts should be temporary. After about 10 days my skin was soft, clear and for the first time in my life i was getting compliments about how great my skin looks! The sauna will also assist in bringing the natural oils to the surface to help protect your skin. Give the sauna another few goes and see how things pan out :)

  • vola

    after taking sauna my acne got worse…………..is it normal or i should stop using in it need help with acne so badly

  • jenise

    I am getting ready to undergo a breast aug/lift and it says to avoid sun, and infared saunas do to the fact that they can discolor scars and make them more noticeable. Is this true for your saunas?

  • Marina

    Hi Fran! I just found your blog and I really enjoy it :) I was just wondering if you have any good advice on doing a steam facial at home like putting some herbs in the water or just whatever that might be good for the skin. Thanks!

  • Cassandra

    Youre amazing. I just found your site today, and have been watching your videos.
    Today I made an appointment to go to the Local far-infared sauna, as Id heard it was excellent for de-toxification…and googled it obsessively (as I would when researching) and read these saunas help clear up skin problems ( I have eczema on my left hand) AND THEN>>> I read what YOU had to say, I found it Completely by accident! I’m on your wavelength, babe, I think Im close to having skin as gorgeous as yours!!!

  • Darryl

    Sunlight Saunas now have a showroom in Perth at 164 Flinders Street, Mount Hawthorn, 6016.

    Available by appointment, phone 08 9444 9791 or Kylie on 0433 415 324.

    Come in and try the Sunlight Sauna Difference.

  • Micah Hines

    I love saunas! I just got my own Infared Sauna six months ago. It really does help listening to music to pass the time. I have lost 10 lbs since I started using it regularly. I just thought it was cleaning my pores. Ignorance IS bliss!

  • Chrissi chrissi holt

    wooooo sounds really good x

  • elena

    Wow, this sounds amazing!
    i’m defenitly going to invite my friends to a sauna somewhere and relax before school is over! I bet we’ll be glowing, just in time for summer vacation!

  • Far-infrared saunas are an excellent way to improve your health through detoxification, and they’re very relaxing as well. You can even build a portable lamp setup that you can use in your bathtub if you don’t want to spend the money on a full unit. The lamps also have the benefit of less electromagnetic radiation.

    Dr. Lawrence Wilson is an excellent resource on this subject and provides great info on his website including the plans to build a sauna yourself. http://www.drlwilson.com.

  • Kim

    Hi Fran, I couldn’t resist commenting on this post when i saw sauna. I used to have acne 2 years ago and i tried everything to clear my face. Not enough knowledge of acne medication, i ended up using a lot of harsh topical treatment like proactiv, etc. etc. Nothing worked for me. Actually i had only mild acne at that time but i was so desperate to clear my face so started using a lot of topical treatment, makeup to cover my blemishes, etc. So you can imagine how all these things aggravated my acne worse (i even had mild rosecea becos of all these harsh acne cream). Well at one point, i started going to gym and used sauna (traditional one) without knowing how it could make wonder on skin. anyway, I liked how it makes my body feel relaxed and de-stress. Believe it or not, my face was clear after 2/3 months using sauna. No blemishes, no acne scars, no blackheads on my nose. So i continue using it since then. Well, six months ago, i didn’t have time to go to gym and also getting busy/lazy (i’m in my last year of college). Even though i stopped using it, i didn’t get any pimples or bump on my face until i used this MAC mineralized skinfinish foundation. Right away, my face which had been clear for over 1 year was getting 4 huge zits on my face (i was so mad and angry). Then getting one after another for like a month and also clogged pores! the whole acne story began again. but this time i was more careful about what i used and how to cure it. So i go to gym and use sauna religiously like 4 times a week and it cleared up my acne in 3/4 weeks. But i still have some clogged pores though. I’m sure it will go away soon. Also, i gotta know your blog from youtube and i follow your some of your instructions like never pick up skin, eat healthy and cut diary food, etc. I believe that to clear skin, we need to be careful what we intake everyday. If something’s wrong inside, it will show outside of our body. oh I also drink 3 – 4L of water everyday.

    Speaking of sauna, I’ve never used Infared sauna cos my gym doesn’t have one. I heard a lot of good things about that one. maybe I will try one day though.

  • I will add this to my long list of “important things to buy when I get rich”, right next to ‘hyperbaric oxygen chamber”… :) Great post, Fran! I honestly can’t wait to read more

  • Kyle

    Oh!! Hahaha that’s cool!

  • kevin

    Andrew- Thanks for the info!!

    Fran- I have a dell computer from 2003.I spend a lot of time on a computer but now I can’t even count on staying late on weekends cause of the strain.Think I should wear some shades when I’m using the computer? Or something else maybe?

  • Kitty

    Oh and yes Fran, you have an amazing job! :) if you ever need an assistant/researcher let me know… lol ;) firstly I have much diet/nutrition/skincare/cosmetics/spirituality knowledge and before motherhood I was an investment banking research analyst… ;)

  • Kitty

    I am wondering if these saunas would make me get a rosacea/pustule breakout… My skin is so clear at the moment, but any heat (like summer! argh!) aggravates it and makes me breakout – as a result I hate summer and love, love, love winter – means much clearer skin…

  • Hi Kevin,

    I personally find that a half hour session in a Sunlight Sauna will clear any congestion in my sinuses. I try to Sauna daily, however if I feel a cold coming on, I sauna twice daily (while keeping up my minerals and hydration) – that takes care of they symptoms and I haven’t had a full-length cold since I started using my sauna five years ago. So I would certainly recommend trying a Sunlight Sauna for sinus issues.

  • Yeah Kevin, my job is awesome! The sinus issue is a question for Andrew …

    As for your eyes, what kind of computer are you using? Since I’ve had my macbook I’ve had no problem with my eyes, I think the screens are better. But if you’ve got one of those old CRT monitors then they can make your eyes really sore. BUT I also take regular breaks, I don’t like to be in front of the computer for longer than 2 hours which makes a big difference.

  • kevin

    Fran- Your job rocks. Can this sauna help with sinus issues? I know the capsule wont help with it but did you feel any difference with your nose with the cabin?

    Another question,non related to this post.Your job is this blog so you probably spend an enormous amount of time on the computer.Is there anything you’ve found that helps with the strain the computer puts on your eyes?Mine have been so strained for the past 2 months that I can barely stay up in the night.

  • Fran

    Kyle- Me too! This blog is my job :)

    butterfly- True, it doesn’t end up costing that much long term, I’m so going to buy one too …one day

  • Hi Karen, my name is Andrew, I’ve been speaking with Fran for the last few weeks.

    It’s important to understand that Sunlight Saunas are not the same as other infrared and non-steam saunas. Sunlight Saunas are unique in that they use a special FAR-infrared heating technology called Solocarbon – you can read more about it at http://www.sunlightsaunas.com.au/carbon-surround.htm/,

    Basically this is the only heating technology that is proven to emit the safe and gentle wavelength of far-infrared heat required for the benefits people are looking for – deep detoxification, skin purification, improved circulation etc.

    If you’d like to try a Sunlight Sauna, you can call us on 1800 SUNLIGHT (1800 786 544) or email sales@sunlightsaunas.com.au – we rent them and they’re in locations all over Australia, so we should be able to find one near you. :)

  • Karen

    There’s a steam sauna and non steam sauna at the climbing arena I regularly use. I started using the non steam one a while ago to relax after climbing and to help my skin but I read here somewhere that it wouldn’t help the skin so I stopped not long after.. do you think it is helpful afterall then? Surely the one I use gives the same effects as you got as it doesn’t use steam and just makes you sweat like you described? I might start using it again.

  • I also had a chance to experience far.infrared sauna and I loved it(and even more when I heard all about its healing proprieties). So then I planned to buy my own sauna in the near future. :) There aren’t really that expencive if you think about how much one visit to the sauna costs and a home sauna can also be used by the whole family!
    Great article Fran!

  • Kyle

    I’m definitely going to look for one of those. I love warm!

    What’s your job? I really really want a job I like!

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