After a winter of pent-up air dried out by indoor heat, the toll on your skin may be all too evident. Heating your home in winter and blasting the air conditioning in summer has the same effect on skin, and it isn't good. For those with eczema, dermatitis or any condition that causes the skin to crack, flake or become inflamed, it's even worse.
That's why humidifying your home is so important throughout the year. Nothing helps dry skin more than keeping a comfortable, hydrated atmosphere in your home. Room humidifiers provide an easy way to achieve that by adding moisture to the air whenever you want it.
One of the best times to do this is while you and your family sleep. During night hours, humidity is brought back to a comfortable level and helps not only the skin, but prevents lips from chapping and helps hydrate the mouth, eyes and nasal areas as well. Without the extra moisture being pumped into your bedrooms, these surfaces can become severely dry and may lose the protective layer of mucus that's naturally produced by the body.
"Humidifying the air can reverse the process of skin dehydration and is particularly helpful for patients with dermatitis," said Michelle Tarbox, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University.
Beyond the humidifier
Choosing a room humidifier that's portable and can be easily moved around the house wherever you need it most is the first step toward keeping your home at a balanced humidity level. Once using a humidifier becomes a regular part of your routine, you can try other ways to reduce dehydration of your skin.
The drying effect of constant hand-washing to ward off flu and cold germs also contributes to skin dehydration, as does the use of harsh home cleansers. According to Tarbox, some moisturizers are more helpful than others. Those that contain ingredients such as essential oils, jojoba and shea butter are most likely to keep skin supple. Pay attention to your skin type – dry, normal or oily – to determine the best match between your skin and a moisturizer.
In addition, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee and alcoholic beverages can deplete your skin of moisture. For this, Tarbox has a rule of thumb – for every caffeinated beverage you consume, drink one glass of water to rehydrate your system.
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