People in Minnesota know how bitterly cold and bitterly dry the air gets during the winter. It’s simple physics. Colder air is unable to hold as much moisture as warm air. This dry air can really do a number on our skin, regardless of type. Skin care is indispensable.
People who already struggle with dry skin can see chapped lips, cracked skin, and even nosebleeds. Eczema outbreaks are common. Conversely, people who struggle with oily skin can see their sebaceous glands become turbo charged by the dry air and create an outbreak of winter acne. Even people with normal, healthy-looking skin can struggle to stay ahead of the game with their skin care routine. As local CBS news affiliate WCCO says, “It’s that time of year when our best friend may as well be a full tub of moisturizing cream.”
We’re not going to disagree. Skin care products are important year-round, but a daily moisturizer is often essential during the winter.
Home Humidifiers can Help
Pumping some extra humidity into the home is no replacement for skin moisturizers, but it can provide that little extra benefit which lets skin care products really do their thing. Your skin may never be as comfortable as it is during the summer, but with a modest investment in multiple single-room humidifiers or whole-house humidifier systems, you can get through the season relatively unscathed.
Especially if you don’t have modern replacement windows, trouble with condensation in the home isn’t uncommon when using humidifiers. This story in the Star Tribune demonstrates the problem with getting the humidity level just right. Really high humidity can even allow mold and other microbes to infiltrate your home. One of the things you can do to minimize this risk is to use a vaporizer that produces steam to humidifier your home.
From the State of Minnesota Guidelines for Managing Indoor Air Quality, “When humidification is needed, it must be added in a manner that prevents the growth of microbiologicals within the ductwork and air handlers….Steam humidifiers should utilize clean steam, rather than treated boiler water, so that occupants will not be exposed to chemicals.”
Safe, Comfortable, Healthy Humidity Levels
During the summer, an ideal relative humidity level might be as high 40-50%. In the coldest part of winter, this type of humidity level would cause serious problems. Again, colder air will naturally have lower humidity levels, so this is unlikely with single-room humidifiers or properly calibrated whole-house humidifiers. So, what is the best humidity level for your home? Well, when the temperature reaches single digits, the indoor humidity level shouldn’t exceed 30 percent. When the temperature plunges lower than 10-below zero, the indoor humidity level should be as low as 20 percent. View this chart from Green Building Advisor for more complete information.
If you are worried about going too far humidifying your home, this resource guide from the University of Minnesota Extension explains the risks and signs associated with having too much moisture in your home.
Good for the Skin, Good for the Environment
If you’re willing to go for a bigger home improvement project, a new home heating system can be better for your skin and better for the environment. Gas furnaces produce more heat than electric ones, but along with forced-air ductwork, this is a recipe for super-dry air. A radiant heating system uses heating elements in the floor or along the baseboard and are generally more energy-efficient and comfortable at the same time.
Get Skin Care Advice Year-Round from Zel Skin and Laser Specialists
There’s no bad season to start taking your skin care seriously. We can provide personalized advice for your skin type, dermatological conditions, and skin care goals. We’ll help you figure out how to get through the winter and how to best take care of your skin year-round. Whether it’s help with an annoying skin condition, cosmetic skin treatments, or an early skin cancer screening, don’t wait any longer to schedule an appointment with our Minneapolis, Edina, or Plymouth skin care clinic location.