Esthetician Clare Guarín is romantic in her description of humidifiers, but also right on the nose: “Humidifiers help the skin retain moisture levels and achieve dewy skin, almost as if we were to walk through a tropical rainforest or a botanical garden.”
By now, most people know that these home devices can have huge benefits to your health during the winter, or that they’re just one more way to keep our favorite plant babies alive, but the best-kept secret about humidifiers is that they should be used regularly during the summer. “They’re especially great for those with cracked skin, dry lips, psoriasis, eczema, and dry skin,” says Guarín. All of which are realities that don’t magically turn off when the temps hike. But skin care isn’t the only reason to run your humidifier year-round. Turns out there are lots of perks.
Humidifiers benefit everything from your mental health to your sinuses
“When you are experiencing allergies and skin flare ups, you may notice itching of the eyes or skin, nasal congestion, and headaches amongst other reactions, which could lead to lack of sleep,” says Danielle DiCamillo, LCSW, a licensed therapist practicing in New York City. “And when you experience a lack of sleep, imbalances in both your mind and body can show up such as fatigue, difficulty focusing, low mood, negative thoughts, and/or intensifying pain that already may exist in the body.”
So humidifiers can support someone’s mental wellness by helping them sleep more comfortably, explains DiCamillo. They do this by mitigating some of the downsides of sleeping with the AC on, which can include airway irritation due to the lack of humidity they create. And while you’re awake, they can promote calmness and help you breathe easier for the same reasons, two things Catherine Zack, meditation teacher and mindfulness coach, says can support the continuity of your meditation or breathwork practice.
“No one wants to sit and watch themselves breath for five minutes of meditation with a stuffy or dry nose,” she says. “Similarly, some people get more anxious when they have trouble breathing. Proper respiratory maintenance, like using a humidifier when we need to, can help set us up for a successful and sustainable breath-focused meditation practice. which can increase our attention and focus and reduce our stress levels.”
A humidifier also helps repair and reset your skin, especially through the night
“First, understand that in order for the outermost barrier (epidermis) of the skin to function effectively, it should not be dry or compromised, and hydration is key,” explains Guarín. “When the surrounding air is dry and lacking moisture, it searches for moisture [to absorb] from available sources, including our unsuspecting skin. Having a moist environment lessens the chances of our skin being zapped of precious hydration. This science is similar to why hydrating serums need to be applied to damp skin in our daily routines.”
While a humidifier shouldn’t be the only tool at your disposal to keep your skin well-hydrated (Guarín recommended monthly facials too, if budget allows), having one gives you more wiggle room to have a stripped down routine that focuses on your own well-being—especially if you’re running the AC. “After applying hydrating serums and lightweight gel creams, try turning on a humidifier in your bedroom as a final step towards achieving dewy and hydrated skin,” Guarín suggests. It can’t hurt, and could honestly do your body (and mind) some serious good.
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