Use a humidifier to fight winter dry skin!
Millions of people use humidifiers to combat seasonal dry air and its impact on skin (e.g., “winter dry skin”). However, it may not always be clear how well they work and whether they really can support better skin care. These are important concerns, so I decided to conduct a simple test using a small room humidifier in my home office.
The relative humidity in my home office had been running around 30% when I decided to conduct the humidifier test. The Dry Skin Index was also high, averaging between 6 and 7 DSI. During this time of elevated DSI levels, I was treating my skin with moisturizing lotions.
The humidifier test
I started the test by placing the humidifier in my office, filling up its water reservoir, shutting the door, and then turning on the “high” fan setting. By shutting the office door, I reduced the room volume to be humidified. In addition, the high fan setting sped up the humidification process. I ran the humidifier for a few days and then shut it off. The humidifier was an evaporative unit that operates by drawing room air through an evaporative wet wick–as opposed to a sonic unit that emits water droplets into room air.
I used a digital hygrometer to track the daily increase in the relative humidity of room air. The initial increase was slow because the water vapor emitted from the humidifier was being absorbed into the room’s carpet, furniture, walls, etc. After a while the relative humidity reached about 45% and I was able to turn the fan setting to “low” to maintain that level.
As the chart above shows, the Dry Skin Index dropped from about 6 to 4 as the room air was humidified, a reduction of more than 30%! Not only was the resulting humidity of 45% comfortable, the related DSI level of 4 was at the lower bound of the “moderate” category of the Dry Skin Index. After the humidifier was shut off, DSI levels quickly returned to the “high” category.
Implications for better skin care
More and more people are working from home–which means that they now have the ability to monitor and control their workplace environment to enhance their skin care! When used in conjunction with moisturizing lotions and creams, a room humidifier provides an extra tool for managing dry skin during the driest months of the year. Moreover, a room humidifier can also be used for skin hydration while you sleep.