The Benefits of Using a Humidifier for Your Skin

Sure, keeping your skin hydrated with topical products is helpful, but using a humidifier can make an even bigger [better] difference.

best-humidifiers-skin-care , The Unexpected Skin-Care Tool That Belong's In Everyone's Routine

There's no escaping it: Skin care takes effort. First, you have to decode your skin type and specific skin concerns, then you have to find products to suit your needs, and then — perhaps most difficult of all — you have to stick to the routine to see real results.

But there's an underrated tool that can basically do some of the work for you — at least when it comes to hydration: a humidifier. Turning one on before you go to bed or placing one on your desk can actually help you improve your skin in your sleep or while you work. Here's the DL.

The Benefits of Using a Humidifier for Skin

"Everyone can benefit from a humidifier if they're in a sub-optimal humid environment," says New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., F.A.A.D, FACMS. The optimal level of humidity to keep your skin hydrated is 40 to 60 percent, she adds. The easiest way to measure the humidity in your home is with an inexpensive hygrometer, such as ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer (Buy It, $13,, or with an indoor air quality monitor, such as Awair Element Indoor Air Quality Monitor (Buy It, $149,

Why does humidity matter for your skin, you ask? Spending time in a low-humidity environment can cause your skin to lose moisture. "Think of your skin barrier like a brick wall, where the skin cells are bricks, and ceramides, lipids, and cholesterol are the mortar that holds the bricks together," says Dr. Engelman. That brick wall helps keep moisture in and harmful pathogens out, she explains. When your skin has low levels of that "mortar" — that is to say, when your skin is dry — moisture can more easily escape.

"When humidity is low and the air becomes dry, it can lead to dehydrated skin," echoes Ryan Turner, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Turner Dermatology. "Dehydrated skin lacks water and may feel dull, rough, and tight. Using a humidifier can help by adding moisture to the air. This may help reduce dry or cracked skin especially overnight when skin cell regrowth and repairs are at their peak." Using a humidifier may also help reduce dryness, flaking, redness, and breakouts, adds Dr. Engelman. (

How to Use a Humidifier for Skin Benefits

If you really want to make the most of your humidifier's skin-care benefits, you should be using it every night while you sleep. That's when your body's hydration rebalances, says Dr. Engelman. (When you're sleeping, the outermost layer of skin, that "brick wall" is more permeable. That means it's more prone to moisture loss or gain.) Using a humidifier nightly can prevent excessive moisture loss throughout this phase, says Dr. Engelman. Running a humidifier for eight hours or however long you sleep is ideal, and you should start receiving benefits within 30 minutes of turning on the device, she adds.

That said, you can still benefit from using a humidifier during the day if that's more to your liking. In addition to all the skin perks,keeping a humidifier on during the day can alsohelp ease allergy symptoms; dry air can cause irritated sinus passages, and the added moisture a humidifier provides can also help break up mucus. You can run the humidifier for a few hours or all day long — the important thing is to make sure the room's humidity level doesn't exceed 60 percent humidity while using it. That can allow harmful bacteria, dust mites, and mold to grow, according to The Mayo Clinic.

Regardless of when you want to use a humidifier, you've got plenty of options. Some are portable and are meant to be placed right next to you, others are designed to hydrate an entire room or even multiple rooms. Typically, brands and models will specify the maximum square footage a humidifier can work in for best results.

You also have the choice between two types of humidifiers: evaporative or ultrasonic. Ultrasonic humidifiers use vibrations to release water droplets into the air while evaporative humidifiers use a fan to release water vapor into the air. Since they emit water droplets, ultrasonic humidifiers can push whatever is in your water (including metals) into the air. For this reason, Dr. Engelman recommends going with an evaporative option. "Evaporative humidifiers add moisture to the environment, but [won't] force metal or particles into the environment (or your face if you're near the humidifier)," she says.

If you'd like to start using a humidifier for skin care or other benefits, here are a few that have raked in tons of positive reviews.

The Best Humidifiers for Skin Care

Canopy Humidifier Starter Set

Canopy Starter Kit
Violet Grey

The Canopy humidifier is an evaporative humidifier. (Reminder: that means it doesn't release a visible mist.) features an anti-microbial filter that catches bacteria and metals in the water and is equipped with technology that stops mold from growing within the device. The brand recommends replacing the filter every five to seven weeks. Otherwise, it's low maintenance — you can simply pop the humidifier into the dishwasher to clean it.

Buy It: Canopy Humidifier Starter Set, $150,

Dyson Pure Humidify Cool

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool
Best Buy

It can be hard to tell if your humidifier is even doing anything since most machines don't measure your room's humidity, but this Dyson humidifier allows you to view the exact moisture percentages in your environment and adjust them to meet that sweet spot of 40 to 60 percent humidity. (Without this feature, you're going to need a separate hygrometer or air quality monitor to measure humidity.) As an evaporative humidifier, it adds moisture to the air while also purifying the air with HEPA and activated carbon filters that capture 99.97 percent of allergens. It even cleanses the water you pour into the bin with ultraviolet light that kills bacteria. Though this is a higher-end option, it can save you money and space by acting as a fan, humidifier, hygrometer, and air purifier in one.

Buy It: Dyson Pure Humidify Cool, $800,

Hey Dewy Portable Face Humdifier

Hey Dewy Portable Humidifier

If you want to make office life (even WFH life) feel more luxurious, this mini humidifier will do the trick. It works with a USB cord to provide a personal mist to hydrate any space — or face — so you can plug it into your laptop while you're working. Or, take it to your room and pop it on your nightstand if you want to add moisture to your skin overnight. (

Buy It: Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier, $39,

Miro Humidifier

Miro Humidifier

You'd be wise to spring for a humidifier that's easy to clean or, even better, is self-cleaning, because if it gets gunky and you're not the best at remembering to clean it, those dust mites and mold will thrive in that moisture. The Miro humidifier is completely hand-washable, and there's no filter you need to replace every few months, making maintenance less expensive. That way, you'll have more money to spend on other skin-care goods.

Buy It: Miro Humidifier, $139,

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