Humidity — the amount of moisture vapor in the air — affects the skin in several different ways. Whether you currently suffer from a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, etc., airborne water vapor (or lack thereof) will impact your skincare. For a better understanding of this phenomenon and what you can do to protect your skin from its damaging effects, keep reading.
Let’s first discuss the skin problems of exposure to low humidity. Our skin is comprised of approximately 70% water. It plays a critical role in maintaining our skin’s flexibility, elasticity and overall health. When you are exposed to low humidity over a prolonged length of time, however, the moisture on and within the skin literally evaporates into the air. This can lead to dryness, itching, peeling, and it can irritate existing skin conditions.
Unfortunately, low humidity is a common occurrence during the winter. When you turn on the heat in your home of office, the air becomes less dense (heat expands). And when air is less dense, it’s unable to hold as much water, at which point the humidity drops. On the other hand, cooler air is denser, so it’s able to hold more moisture.
There’s a simple solution to protect your skin from the harmful effects of low humidity: maintain a proper humidity level in your home and office. A compact humidifier will monitor the moisture vapor in the air, releasing water when it drops below a specified amount. The only downside is that you’ll need to empty the water storage tank on a regular basis (or connect the humidifier to a drain).
Other ways to raise the humidity in your home include turning on the shower, boiling a pot of water, or even leaving a bowl of water on the kitchen counter. These aren’t long-term solutions, but you can temporarily raise the humidity in your home by using any of the aforementioned techniques.
So, how can you protect your skin from the harmful effects of high humidity? Thankfully, high humidity isn’t as much of a problem as low humidity. Our skin absorbs moisture like a sponge, which is actually a good thing: it keeps it moist, improves its elasticity, and preserves its skin tone. High humidity can, however, promote the growth of bacteria, dust mites and mold, which is why it’s a good idea to strive for a 40-50% relative humidity.