As colder weather begins to emerge, you may need to use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air to help ease allergies, sore throats, and congestion. This drop in temperature can also cause dry, flaky skin and cracked lips. You may be wondering, do humidifiers help with dry skin, too?

Yes, many people find that humidifiers can help combat dry skin. Read on to learn about the benefits of using a humidifier, the best humidity level for skin health, and how to get the most out of this tool to keep your skin healthy all winter long.

What Causes Dry Skin During the Winter?

As an article published by Harvard Medical School defines it, dry skin occurs when the skin isn't retaining a sufficient amount of moisture. This can happen for a number of reasons, including frequent bathing in hot weather, abrasive soaps, certain medical conditions, changes in weather, and more. That explains why dry skin is such a common concern experienced in the colder months. It's important to protect your skin in the winter as much as you can, and a humidifier is a great way to do that.

How Do Humidifiers Help With Dry Skin?

How do humidifiers help with dry skin, exactly? Essentially, humidifiers increase air hydration levels by releasing moisture into the air. By doing this, the humidifier helps raise humidity levels indoors to balance out the loss of humidity that dries out your skin.

Studies show that low humidity hurts the skin barrier, which is your skin's first defense against any damage. When the skin barrier is damaged, it leaves you more susceptible to peeling, cracking, and rashes. With sufficient hydration, the skin absorbs the moisture overnight and can focus on rejuvenation.

How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Humidifier?

Humidifiers can be a great beauty tool—although they can actually make you sick if not maintained properly. It's best to use distilled or demineralized water to limit bacteria growth, and you need to keep it clean. It's recommended that you clean it every three days.

You can use a humidifier for a few hours during the day or overnight as you sleep; it's all about personal preference and what works best for your lifestyle. If you aren't finding relief, you may need to test the humidity levels in your room. The Mayo Clinic states that ideal humidity levels for your home are between 30 percent and 50 percent. While not enough humidity causes dry skin and irritated nasal passages, on the flip side, too much humidity can cause condensation on the walls, floors, and other surfaces of your home, which can promote the growth of mold and harmful bacteria.

Keeping Skin Healthy All Winter Long

Humidifiers work best to beat winter dryness when used in tandem with a solid skin care routine. This may mean that your skin care practices or products need to be tweaked a bit in the winter. As the temperature starts to drop, swap out your lightweight moisturizer for a thick and rich moisturizer product—like the EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer—that moisturizes, restores, and repairs skin while you rest. If your oily skin can't take on something heavy, focus on gel-based products that contain known moisturizing ingredients like Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Niacinamide.

You'll also want to avoid super hot baths and showers, as the hot water can actually dehydrate skin and cause more dryness. You can further reduce irritation by wearing soft fabrics that won't scratch your already vulnerable skin.

Be prepared for the winter months ahead by adjusting your skin care, changing some lifestyle habits, and setting your skin up for success.


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

    View all posts