Does a Humidifier Help Prevent Winter Acne?

Now that winter is upon us, we are facing severe cold and dry environment. It does not help that the central heating is also working overtime, making the homes, offices and malls even drier. Dry air is very bad for the skin; I have already spoken about winter acne in this article. Many of my readers wrote to me asking if running a humidifier in winter could make a difference in their skin. So I thought I’d talk about that today.

What causes winter acne?

Majority of acne sufferers have combination skin in that; it is dry in some areas and very oily in others. Dry skin works overtime in winters as it tries to produce more sebum in order to overcome the dryness. This sebum is then trapped underneath layers of moisturizing lotions which we invariably slather on to keep the skin from becoming dry and itchy. The sebum, trapped bacteria and debris leads to acne, pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. In Western society, we also overemphasize on bathing which makes the skin even drier aggravating the problem. The dryness caused by heating also leads to sleep issues for many people. Many people report waking up with dry throat and coughing in the night. Bad sleep often translates to bad skin with acne breakouts.

Does sleeping with humidifier at night help acne?

The hot air circulating indoors due to the central heating makes the environment very dry. Outdoors isn’t any better too; winter air is dry and lacks humidity. When we do not drink adequate water (which is the case with most people in winters), our skin starts looking parched and extremely dry. As explained above, the skin then goes into an overdrive and tries to work harder by creating more sebum. So if you are using central heating, space heaters and other heating systems, you must make sure to add a humidifier on the furnace or in the room. This will help replenish the lost moisture and also disperse moisture throughout the room more evenly. I would definitely recommend sleeping with a humidifier. It has many benefits as follows:

  • Adds moisture to the environment and prevents dryness
  • Good for people who suffer from seasonal colds and coughs. The dry air aggravates the problem. Humidity added back into the room can prevent nasal congestion and sinus issues. If you tend to wake up coughing or with sleep apnea, you must use a humidifier. Good sleep will definitely give you good skin.
  • Dry and itchy skin sufferers will definitely notice an improvement in their skin with regular use of humidifier night after night. You could run the humidifier through the day as well. If not, at least reduce the thermostat temperature.
  • If you need proof, take some ‘Humidifier skin before and after’ pictures to see the difference for yourself.

In case you do not have a humidifier

If you don’t have a humidifier you can also try this simple trick. Place a large pot of water to boil. Let this water boil and steam for a while. This will add moisture back into the room. You can use this trick during the day time. I recommend adding some lemon peels and cinnamon or clove sticks for some nice aromatherapy. At night, you can try soaking a towel in warm water and placing it in the room near your bed. You can keep a large bowl to collect the dripping water from the towel to avoid a mess. This simple trick will add moisture back into your environment. It may not be as effective as a cool or warm mist humidifier but something is definitely better than nothing.

Which is better: Warm mist or cool mist humidifier for acne?

Originally, the word humidifier was only used for cool mist humidifiers. Warm mist humidifiers were called vaporizers. Today, both these appliances are known under the general parlance as humidifiers. Talk to any doctor as to which humidifier type is better, warm or cool, the answer would invariably be cool mist humidifiers. In fact; an experienced doctor might even assure you that the temperature of the moisture coming out of the humidifier does not make any difference at all. Cool mist humidifier is actually more soothing for the skin and inflamed tissues of the nose and throat. This can help keep skin hydrated and prevent winter dryness, flaking and acne. Also, in case or warm humidifiers, the water inside the humidifier is boiling hot. You certainly do not want to use any more heat so go for cool mist humidifiers for acne. If you already have warm humidifiers, you can continue using them. If needed, add some essential oil to them to get some aromatherapy. Do note that another drawback of warm mist humidifiers is that they tend to consume more electricity to boil the water.

 Does humidifier cause acne?

I certainly don’t think so and neither do doctors. Almost all doctors feel that a humidifier in winter can only do you a world of good-be it for your skin or sinuses. You could, as suggested above, take before and after pictures to see the difference it makes in your skin.

Best humidifier for acne

UCAREAR cool mist humidifier

I like this humidifier for its quiet operation. It runs all night and has automatic shut off for safety. You can also choose between low and high misting speeds. This is a filter-less humidifier so you need not worry about refill expenses.

Crane USA Humidifier

I love this humidifier because it has antimicrobial material that prevents mold and fungal spores from growing inside the tank. This is also a filter-less humidifier but it does need a de-mineralization filter if you live in an area with hard water.

Vicks®Warm Mist Humidifier

Vicks® is a big brand as far as products for cough and cold are concerned. Their warm mist humidifier has received great ratings and reviews. People even run it 24 hours at a stretch. It comes with a medicine cup for using with inhalant. Vicks mist humidifiers come in 2 settings and both run with quiet operation. This filter-less humidifier also has an auto shut off.