If your idea of heaven is the rain forest, then this beauty tip is for you. No matter the season, dry skin is a constant. Most commonly associated with the bitter cold of winter, dry, flaky skin is a year-round issue. Slathering yourself with the right creams, lotions and oils will help, but that layer of lotion will only get you so far when dry air is constantly pulling water from your skin. It's not just the dry air outside you need to worry about, but also the climate inside your home (or office). "Air conditioning and heating can have a drying effect on skin because they work by removing a large amount of moisture from the air," says Corey L. Hartman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology. He adds that you might not be able to control the weather, but you can control the environment of your home. The solution? Good ol' humidifiers.
How a humidifier can help your dry skin:
Humidifiers help restore the humidity levels in the air, providing skin with the moisture it needs, even in the driest of climates. "When your skin's protection barrier is damaged (super dry), it creates small cracks in the skin, causing moisture to escape," says Marina Peredo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Running a humidifier pulls moisture back into the air to improve dry, itchy skin and help it retain that hydration." Cracked lips, limp hair, itchy skin, and bad allergies are all conditions that can improve with the use of a humidifier. But note: Humidifiers won't—and shouldn't!—replace your skincare routine. Humidifiers take the benefits of good skincare one step further: "Using creams and moisturizers daily is important to draw moisture back into the skin. Like a moisturizer, humidifiers simply help replenish moisture," says Dr. Peredo.
How to use use a humidifier correctly:
To keep your humidifier at its best, experts recommend filling it with distilled water. If you opt for water from your tap, make sure to clean the tank once a week to disinfect and remove mineral buildup (a natural byproduct of tap water). Your cleansing method doesn't have to be laborious. Either soap and water or vinegar are adequate for proper cleansing. Also, don't feel the need to hold your face directly above the appliance. Instead place the humidifier at least three feet away from your location, or your bed in the bedroom, and it should be aimed to release moisture into the air so that the benefit is felt by the skin all over the body. The smaller the room, the more benefits you'll get from using it. The humidifier can help retain moisture to your entire body.
Can humidifier reduce the signs of aging?
We went back to the experts and asked Mona Gohara MD, a Danbury, Connecticut-based dermatologist for her thoughts on the anti-aging benefits of humidifiers. "Like cosmetic moisturizers and creams, humidifiers definitely add moisture to the skin, and this is important from a skin health perspective," she says. "This moisture can leave the skin feeling heavenly, radiant, glowing, dewy, and even a bit more plump; these, I suppose could be credited as anti-aging benefits." So, how do you know when to start using a humidifier? As mentioned, colder and drier periods of the year like fall and winter are an ideal time of year to use humidifiers, because that’s when humidity levels drop below 30-40%, causing the skin to be at its driest and most prone to chafing. Research indicates that optimum household humidity should be between 30-60% year round, and maintained at about 30% when temperatures drop below freezing. The best way to test humidity levels in the home or workplace is by using a hygrometer which is a small and inexpensive device that can be found separately or built into digital household thermometers.
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