By Roxanne Adamiyatt for Redbook©
A general rule: dry tissue is probably irritated tissue. Ensuring your skin is moist and hydrated can be done a number of ways, but can be made infinitely harder if the air in your living space is dry. Central heating or your radiator turns on and all of a sudden your nasal passages are as dry as the Sahara. Let’s face it, that only gets worse when you’re moving from the cold air outside to the dry heat indoors. And if you get sick? Talk about un-comfy. Enter, the age old, but not exactly sexy humidifier. It adds moisture to your air, and in this day and age, that’s a luxury you simply cannot do without—not only because it’s good for your airways, but because it’s also good for the dewy appearance of your skin. That will come in handy for all of those Zooms during the winter months.
Turns out, there’s an explanation for why humidifiers are a practical purchase for your health and your skin these days. Dr. Dendy Engelman tells us why the investment benefits the former: “According to the CDC, in low humidity environments, influenza virus is 5x more infectious than in higher humid environments. The reason being that moisture in the environment, attaches to the viral particles making them heavier and pulls it out of circulation. The longer the virus is airborne, the higher the risk or inhalation and subsequent infection. In addition, higher humidity supports mucous membrane health. Mucous membranes protect our body from harmful pathogens by forming a barrier around portals of entry (think our nose and mouth). If these areas become dry or cracked, then it provides potential portals of entry for bacteria and infection.” But beyond that, Dr. Engelman reinforces that there are a number of reasons one should run their humidifier. Most importantly: it supports skin barrier function. “The skin barrier functions by keeping bacteria and pathogens out, while keeping moisture in. If Dryness, cracking and flaking occur then there is not enough moisture in the “mortar,” which puts the skin at risk of infection, irritation or breakouts where these portals of entry occur,” she explains.
Another benefit according to Dr. Engelman is of course, preventing transdermal water loss. Translation: “While you’re sleeping, body temperature varies. When the core temperature increases, vasodilation occurs and we can experience dehydration through transepidermal water loss. If our environment is optimally humidified, the water loss through the skin is lessened and our skin remains hydrated throughout the night,”
Whether you’re in it for the skincare boost or the airway relief, here 5 good options to get in on the non-negotiable beauty essential of the COVID-era.