If you have dry skin, and sleep in an air-conditioned room, have I got a tip for you!
No, it does not involve any new skincare. In fact, it doesn’t even involve any use of special skincare (although I would still use a nightly skincare routine – it’s not a replacement).
I discovered it purely by chance, but it’s one I’m happy to share so you don’t have to suffer dry skin anymore.
What you need is a humidifier 😀
Suffering from dry skin?
I have dry skin, and whenever I go anywhere for a skin analysis, I’m always told the same thing – your skin is dehydrated. This is especially so on the cheeks.
I notice it even without a machine telling me that. Dry and dehydrated skin can feel tight and parched, and you may notice fine lines forming, and skin can look dull or flaky. Misting, hydration serums and facial oils can help – I’ve been using them for years and years, but still always get the same result – your skin is dehydrated.
I’ve always attributed this dehydration and dryness to sleeping in an air-conditioned room at night. When working in an office, you will be similarly exposed to air-conditioning for long hours. Living in a tropical country, air-conditioning is now not a luxury as much as it is a necessity!
Air-conditioning, while making the air comfortable and cool, is drying. The humidity in an air-conditioned room is usually lower, as what an air-conditioner does is reduce heat and humidity, to make the air cooler and drier. When our skin is exposed to air with low moisture for a long time, it will dehydrate.
I had come to accept and live with it, thinking I’d have to go through my life with dry skin, which isn’t unusual at my age. So, imagine my surprise when my recent skin analysis results showed me the opposite!
Get well hydrated skin even when exposed to air-conditioning
I recently went for a detailed skin analysis at the Ambassade Biologique Recherche, which is very comprehensive and uses a machine to read your skin, and to give you your result. I was prepared to be told “Your skin is dehydrated”
Instead, the result came back as Hydration = 100%. 100% That’s like scoring an A+! LOL I was a happy Asian 😛
I did not quite need a machine to tell me this. I had noticed that in recent times, my skin was feeling more plumped and moisturised than it used to be. I am diligent about my skincare, as you will know, and I had been using some hydrating serums alongside my facial oils. But these are staple items in my skincare routine, and experience had taught me that your skin rarely shows dramatic improvement with just changing 1 or 2 products.
I knew it was more than that. There was something else at play.
That’s when I thought to myself – “Hmm… could it be the humidifier I’d been using in the room?”
What is a Humidifier?
A humidifier is a gadget that releases water vapour or mist into the air to keep it moist and increase humidity. While most of us are familiar with the concept of a dehumidifier, that removes water moisture from the air, to preserve things better, a humidifier is not a gadget I see used often here in the tropics.
I first got myself a humidifier a few months ago, not for myself, but for my dog(!) 😛
He sleeps in the same room as me, and enjoys the cool air at night. However, I noticed that he would occasionally wake up and cough or have some breathing problems. Research told me that air-conditioning reduces the humidity, which can dry out the sinuses of dogs – and they suffer more than humans do when this happens.
Because I’m one of those dog-mums, I immediately hunted down a humidifier online, and 2 days later, was a proud owner of a Xiaomi Mijia 4l humidifier!
Xiaomi Mijia 4l humidifier
I wanted a machine that could last the night. I used to have a diffuser that you would use with essential oils, but it was small, and would turn itself off once the water dried out. I figured a 4 litre water capacity would be about right.
I also wasn’t sure if it would work, so I did not opt to get anything too expensive or high-tech. All I wanted was an affordable machine that would release water vapour into the air and keep it moist, and this was it.
The Xiaomi Mijia 4l Humidifier merely has a water tank, and a single dial for controlling the release of the vapour. I use it on the lowest setting, and let it run all night. There is a slight sound of water, but isn’t too loud. The light can be a little irritating if you are sensitive to light when sleeping (as I am), so I turn the machine, so the dial faces away from where I sleep and that solves the problem.
I bought mine for under RM80, and it’s worth watching and waiting for the sales or deals to happen, as you can save quite a bit, like I did 😉
I’ve learnt that a humidifier helps those who suffer from sinus or respiratory problems, as it keeps the air moist. I have personally noticed that my nasal passageways aren’t as dry these days. There were occasions in the past when I’d wake up in the middle of the night with painful sinuses because the air was too dry.
I’m also told that it’s helpful for those who suffer from dry skin like eczema as well. It is of course, not a cure-all, but if you are using a cream, this may help, alongside, keeping the air comfortable and moist so the skin does not dry out any further.
I don’t work in an air-conditioned office anymore for now, so I don’t have to contend with dry office air. But if I did, and knowing what I now know, I’d probably get myself a smaller humidifier that I can put in my office or on my desk, to keep the air around me moist, and my skin and sinuses comfortable.
Happily, my pup no longer wakes up coughing in the middle of the night, so my mission was accomplished! 😀
But the other benefit I experienced was skin that was more moisturised. My lips were not as dry as they were before, and my skin was more moisturised and more plumped all over.
Humidity is a good thing!
Coming from a tropical country that is hot and humid all year round, travelling somewhere cool or cold is always fun. When I was younger, and my skin was more oily and unpredictable, the cool air and low humidity of a temperate country actually helped it. My skin was more balanced, and would erupt when I returned home to Malaysia.
As I got older, I noticed that the cool dry air and heating would be murder on my skin. Skin oils helped, but there was only so much I could do. Fortunately, I was only visiting on holiday, so did not have to deal with any long-term effects on my skin.
Whenever I returned home and stepped off the plane, I used to remark that it was like walking into a wall of water. The humidity really hits you like a wall!
But my skin would love it! I could literally feel it soaking up all the moisture in the air, and rehydrating, just like a sponge. I revel in it! That is, until I start to sweat 😛
Since then, I’ve grown to enjoy living where it’s humid. It might be hot, and the humidity makes it feel even hotter. But all that moisture in the air is great for the skin! Sure, I’m vain, but if it helps slow down the appearance of aging, heck, I’d take it 😀
I imagine that a humidifier will also be useful in cooler, drier climates. Heating in winter is truly super drying on skin, and always gives me scaly legs 😛 If I had a humidifier back then, I might have avoided the itchy, scratchy dry skin commonly associated with winter!
Do you use a humidifier?
I have a small dehumidifier in other parts of the house to keep the air in the room dry. I do notice that the room is always marginally cooler than other parts of the house. My humidifier comes on when I sleep, and makes it a more comfortable sleeping experience for everyone, humans and dogs 🙂