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  5. How Does Humidity Affect Your Skin?

You may have most likely felt, seen, and closely experienced how hot and humid weather can wreak havoc on your hair. However, did you know that even low or high humidity may adversely affect your skin appearance and health?

Yes it's true. Novel research indicates that the secret to a youthful, flawless complexion may lie in the humidity level your skin is exposed to in your home and surroundings.

So, scroll down to know how humidity affects your skin, and how to take care of your skin in low and high humid conditions.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

Humidity levels of the environment affects the Kapha dosha dependent physiology in the body”

-Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

How Is Humidity & Your Skin Health Related?

It is a well-established fact that exposure to ultraviolet radiation and extreme temperatures may adversely affect your skin’s health [1]. In a recently published study, the effect of another climatic condition of humidity, was also reviewed on both deteroiting and healthy skin. The study established that low humidity may lead to increasing skin roughness, depleting skin elasticity, and worsening of persisting skin conditions.

While traveling to a different climatic destination, you may have observed a visible change in your skin texture. There are high chances that you may have cracked or extremely dry skin, which felt much smoother or you may have experienced dry and rough skin all of a sudden after traveling. Varying climates usually have varying levels of humidity. This may result in potential skin issues.

Even when you stay at one place and don’t travel, you must have observed a difference in your skin condition based upon seasonal changes. This happens when humidity level changes along with changing seasons. These fluctuations in humidity may lead to a few noticeable, and painful or itchy changes in your skin.

Recent research found that a slight fall in humidity (as low as 30%) may result in the appearance of fine lines and premature wrinkles in less than 30 minutes [2].

How Does Humidity Affect Your Skin?

woman with multiple skin prbolems due to humidity

As the common adage in life goes, too little or too much of anything can wreak havoc. The same principle applies for humidity too. High or low humidity levels may cause harmful effects, which may vary from mild to severe.

A. How High Humidity Affects Human Skin?

It is a misconception that high humidity levels make your skin youthful, hydrated, and supple. On the contrary, excessive humidity harms your skin more than hydrating it. It makes a suitable breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and fungus. All these microbial strains may infect and irritate your skin.

A high relative humidity is potentially harmful for individuals with persisting fungal infections, oily complexion, and allergic reactions.

1. Allergies

Most individuals with a bout of seasonal allergies already know how difficult and inconvenient it is to live in an environment filled with dust mites and molds. An allergic reaction causes a runny nose, gives you an aching headache, severely constricts the airways, and irritates your skin.

Allergic reactions may leave your skin bumpy, red, puffy, and itchy. High humidity levels may also raise the allergen concentrations in the air.

2. Oily Skin

If you have an oily complexion, then a high humidity level may trigger your body to secrete more sebum and natural oils. Even though it may prove to be beneficial for individuals with dry complexion, it wreaks havoc in individuals with oily complexion as it may cause acne breakouts and whiteheads. It is, therefore, advisable to maintain a relative humidity within 30 to 50% range.

3. Fungal Infections

Fungus grows and develops in moist and humid conditions. Hence, it is commonly found in wet and warm places in your body like the groin area and the area between the toes. If you have already experienced any fungal infections (jock itch, athlete’s foot, ringworm, etc.) or fungal acne, then it is imperative to prevent excessive moisture and humidity.

If you believe extremely low or high humidity is adversely affecting your overall health, it is advisable to acquire a quality dehumidifier. It helps in regulating the optimum range of relative humidity in your home.

B. How Low Humidity Affects Human Skin?

A low relative humidity is considered as the biggest enemy of glowing, hydrated, and healthy skin. The dry and low humid air sucks out the natural moisture from your skin surface, leaving your skin irritated and dry.

A low relative humidity allows the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses that may disbalance your skin and body’s normal functioning [3]. This may result in various skin disorders. Low humidity level is specifically harmful for individuals with respiratory issues, eczema, and dry skin condition.

1. Respiratory Issues

Not only does it deplete the moisture level from your skin surface, but low humidity also depletes the moisture level in the mucosal membrane. The mucosal membrane is the inner layer found in your lungs, sinuses, throat, nose, and mouth.

You may have experienced a dry nose or sore throat while staying in an air-conditioned room or flying in an airplane. Therefore, if you have a chronic respiratory issue like asthma, it is imperative to maintain the optimum relative humidity to avoid any irritation.

2. Dry Skin

When the surrounding air has lower moisture content than your skin, it results in loss of moisture from your skin surface via evaporation. This process is known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL). It results in the loss of optimum moisture level from your skin which is necessary for good skin health.

For individuals with dry skin, it is common to be susceptible to the effects of this process.

3. Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition which appears when the skin barrier is weakened or affected due to genetic issues, allergens, or environmental triggers [4]. The skin condition leads to irritated, patchy, scaly, and cracked skin. In individuals with eczema, it may become emotionally distressing, itchy, and painful.

As a lower relative humidity may cause extremely dry skin condition, eczema becomes prevalent in dry climatic conditions, especially during fall and winter.

How To Take Care Of Your Skin In Humidity?

woman making facial massage with organic face scrub

A. High Humidity

As high relative humidity has its potential advantages and risks, it is imperative to tweak your skincare routine to prevent any skin issues.

Below are a few skincare tips you may follow to shield your skin from high humidity levels:

1. Opt For Oil-Removal Cleansers

During warm and humid conditions, it is best advised to opt for mild and herbal oil-removal cleansers to balance and regulate excess oil secreted by the sebaceous glands in your skin.

Additionally, these cleansers minimize your chances of clogging the skin pores. Active agents such as hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B3 ensure that your skin is clean and clear yet supple and smooth.

2. Exfoliate Your Skin Twice A Week

It is important to exfoliate and remove accumulated dead skin cells and impurities from your skin. Remember that dead cells usually don’t accumulate in your skin in warm, humid climatic conditions as much as they accumulate during winter.

In warm, humid conditions, it is important to ensure that dead skin cells and impurities don’t clog the skin pores, resulting in acne breakouts. Active agents such as salicylic acid help prevent acne and blackheads.

3. Use Lighter Moisturizers

Moisturizing is an integral part of every skincare routine, even when relative humidity level is high. However, opt for a light-density moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and supple, while letting it breathe easily.

4. Avoid Touching Your Face Frequently

Ensuring clean and clear skin is an important skincare goal, irrespective of the humidity level or weather. It is more important to keep your skin clean in high humidity conditions. The safest way to prevent any bacteria and dirt accumulation in your face is by not touching it frequently with your hands.

Your hands are mostly exposed to different types of bacteria, germs and impurities, and touching your oily face is a strict no-no. Different types of bacteria and other microbes thrive in oily, moist conditions. Therefore, it is important to keep your hands far away from your face.

5. Shower/Bathe After Sweating

Sweat exposes your skin to bacteria and impurities that may clog the skin pores. In order to prevent clogged pores, always shower or take a bath after exercising or strenuous work. This will help you keep your skin clean, clear, and fresh.

Vedix Tip: Asthapana basti, which is an Ayurvedic enema of a herbal solvent, is suggested and administered to prevent any health conditions due to low or high humidity levels.

B. Low Humidity

The adverse effects of low humidity on your skin may appear scary and daunting. However, tweaking your skincare regimen will benefit your skin health.

Below are a few skincare steps to shield your skin from low humidity levels:

1. Opt For A Rich, Cream-Based Moisturizer

Ensuring your skin is bestowed with deep hydration and moisture is essential for maintaining good skin health in low humid conditions. By choosing a rich, creamy formulation, you may protect your skin from getting flaky and dry.

Rich moisturizing formulations with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin boost the hydration and moisture level in your skin. Ensure that your daily moisturizer has these active ingredients to keep your skin supple and smooth.

It is imperative to apply your moisturizer right after bathing or taking a shower, as your damp skin allows the rich moisturizer to penetrate deeper into the upper layers of skin. Also, it helps to naturally retain the moisture level in your skin.

2. Drink Adequate Water

In order to substitute for the lack of natural moisture level outside, it is imperative to keep drinking adequate amounts of water to maintain your hydration level. Additionally, by following a healthy and nutritious dietary plan, you will be able to maintain good skin health.

3. Exfoliate Your Skin Once A Week

To prevent accumulation of dead skin cells and impurities, it is crucial to exfoliate your skin weekly. This will allow the hydrating skincare products to effectively and properly penetrate the upper layers of your skin.

If you don’t wish to use physical scrubs, then you may switch over to natural and mild peels which will gently exfoliate your skin without peeling off the natural oils from your skin.

4. Protect Your Skin From Extreme Cold Weather

To offer your skin adequate protection from the extreme cold weather, try wearing warm clothing before stepping outside your home. Always remember to wear gloves, scarfs, ear muffs, and warm caps to keep your skin protected and covered.

Vedix Tip: Start your day with drinking a glass of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of pure honey on an empty stomach. This will remove accumulated toxins from your body, especially your skin.

What Is The Best Humidity Level For Your Skin?

In order to maintain an optimum relative humidity at your home, it is suggested to invest in a quality air humidifier. A relative humidity level within the range of 30-50% is beneficial for your skin and overall health. Additionally, it ensures that you have optimum moisture content at your home which may protect your skin from dryness and irritation.

The Last Word

It is established that both low and high relative humidity may lead to their own group of potential risks to your skin. The harmful effects of low and high humidity may impact your overall skin texture and health. Hence, it is imperative to take good care of your skin by adopting healthy dietary, skincare, and lifestyle habits, irrespective of the climatic condition.

Being aware of your skin type and its specific needs is a good starting point for healing and rejuvenating your skin when low or high humidity impacts your skin.

Know Your Dosha Now

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