Prevent Dry Winter Skin Part 1: Use a Humidifier and Moisture Boosting Plants | WELL Aging Sun Care

Prevent Dry Winter Skin Part 1: Use a Humidifier and Moisture Boosting Plants

Keeping the air moist in your home could possibly be one of the best things you can do for yourself in the winter. There are so many benefits to maintaining humidity in your home, but in the winter there are so many ways that moisture is being zapped away.

Dry air in your home can lead to problems like:

  • - Increased spread of airborne viruses, infections and allergies
  • - Throat irritation and heightened asthma and snoring symptoms
  • - Dry, flaky, chapped skin and worsening skin conditions
  • - Damage to wood structures and potentially dangerous static levels
  • - Can lead to colder air - requiring more heat, making more dry air = vicious cycle

Increased spread of airborne viruses, infections and allergies.

Bacteria and airborne viruses thrive and travel in dry air. Raising the humidity levels in your home by 43% can have a dramatic effect by rendering them virtually ineffective. As the germs and allergens combine with the moisture in the air, they simply drop as the particles become too heavy to float in the air.

Just remember to clean it regularly so you don't actually end up adding more bacteria and/or mold into the air!

Throat irritation and heightened asthma and snoring symptoms.

Placing a humidifier in the bedroom can provide much desired relief for asthma and snoring (and their partners!) sufferers. And why suffer more than necessary if there's a simple, cost-effective solution?

The extra water in the air can help soothe the tissues in the throat and nasal passages. Not only will this help everyone rest easier and wake up feeling more refreshed, but they'll likely have slightly better breath in the morning (not that morning breath is ever good, but dry airways and mouth are a big factor that leads to bad breath).

Dry, flaky, chapped skin and worsening skin conditions.

Your skin takes a beating all year round. It's bad enough being exposed to the harsh elements, it doesn't need further assault at home.

50-60% of our bodies are made of water. Our bodies require a certain amount of water to feel good, not to mention function at an optimal level. When the air is dry, it's trying suck the water it so badly wants from our bodies (ooh that sneaky air! *shakesfist*), leaving our skin feeling dry and chapped.

Because our skin has so much surface area, it offers a lot of real estate for water to both enter and escape. If you're an eczema and/or psoriasis sufferer, surely you know how fun drier conditions can be! (hands up over here! 👋 )

Humidifiers are a great way to beat that greedy air at its own game. By giving it exactly what it wants, competition for this precious resource is reduced and water is kept inside your own body (take that air!).

Damage to wood structures and potentially dangerous static levels.

Dry wood may be great for camping, but it can cause problems for your house and furniture. If it gets too dry, it can become brittle and crack. This can loosen joints, cause floors and doors to warp. This is one reason why doors get stuck in the frames - or don't close properly, and furniture starts to creak or wobble.

Remember how fun it was when you were a kid, running around in your socks, rubbing them on the floor, collecting all the static electricity and using it to shock everyone and make your hair stand on end? Well it's all fun and games until a spark catches something and the house burns down!

Ok, maybe that's being a bit dramatic, but the point is, when things get too dry, they do increase the potential for fire. Kinda feel like that's an obvious statement, but sometimes it's the little things in our daily life that we don't think about (*guilty*).

And of course, what is fire's greatest foe? (10 points if you get this in one guess! If not, well that's what Google is for - also we worry a bit for you... #justsaying)

Can lead to colder air.

It's the classic "catch 22". You use heat to warm your place, the heat dries out the air, the dry air sucks the moisture from your body, you get colder more easily, you use more heat... and so it goes. It’s more difficult to transfer your body heat to water than it is to air.

Plus, with more moisture in the air, it's not constantly trying to suck it out of you, which causes your sweat to evaporate more slowly. This is a good thing.

One caveat though, too much water in the air can also have the same effect. We're looking for that sweet spot, that "Goldilocks" atmospheric balance of humidity.

Natural Ways to Increase Humidity in Your Home

If you don't have a humidifier and aren't able/don't want to obtain one, there are a few DIY hacks you can do around your house. Many of them you probably do already:

  • - Allowing your clothes to hang dry can also release a small amount of water into the air.
  • - Steaming food and boiling water for tea is a quick way to infuse the air with water.
  • - Aromatherapy diffusers act like miniature humidifiers.
  • - After a bath, don't drain the water right away and allow it to cool off and evaporate into the air for a little while.
  • - Placing small bowls of water around the house is probably the cheapest and easiest way to allow for.

Another great and affordable way to keep your home's air humid, is to keep at least two good-sized house plants per 100 sqft of space.

Of course this requires a bit of effort to keep them alive. Fortunately most of the good moisture-releasing plants are fairly low maintenance. Spider plants, Jade plants, ivys, palms, ferns and lilies are all great options that also have the added benefit of cleaning the surrounding air.

Look for plants with big leaves and, if possible, place the pots on a tray of pebbles with water in it. This will make it easier to care for the plant and also create added humidity.

If you have animals, be careful to learn which plants are poisonous and hang them out of reach.

With that, there are some plants that will actually draw moisture in rather than let it out. These are typically hot/desert climate type plants, like cactuses and succulents. So maybe don't keep that pretty succulent or aloe vera in the bedroom?

All Good Things in Moderation

Like with most things, moderation is key. Naturally, a whole host of other problems can happen if the air is too moist.

Fortunately our bodies make great indicators. And no one knows yours better than you. If your skin is extra dry or you feel that scratchy irritation in your throat and nasal passages, these are indications that you could use a good boost of atmospheric H2O.

If you're unsure and concerned you can always get a humidity monitor for relatively cheap. Some smart home systems have these integrated already.

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