Have you ever noticed your hair getting frizzier whenever you’re vacationing near the beach? Just like that, the quality and texture of our skin also vary from city to city and country to country. Our skin reacts differently to different climates. The most prominent factor for this occurrence is humidity.
Humidity arises from the moisture content in the air, and can change every day, maybe even more often. Having a controlled environment at home to regulate humidity levels is an excellent idea and can make staying at home comfortably and healthy for your skin. It becomes important for us to go through the effect that humidity can have on our skin and find out how we can minimize its negatives.
What Is Humidity
The water cycle is responsible for the continual evaporation and condensation of water in the air through the numerous bodies of water. This water turns into gaseous water vapour when it evaporates and the amount of water vapour in the air at any given time is called humidity. Water vapour is gaseous, therefore, it isn’t visible to the naked eye.
Humidity varies with different climatic conditions, geographic locations and proximity to large water bodies. Hotter climates generally have higher humidity levels because an increase in the temperature means an increase in the rate of evaporation, resulting in higher humidity levels. Humidity levels are even higher near coastal areas and beaches.
High humidity levels also translate to oily skin. Humidity can cause break-outs for people with acne-prone skin. It makes people sweat more, leading to clogged skin and increased oil secretion.
Is Humidity Good For Skin
There is no straightforward answer to this question. The effect humidity has on skin has a lot to do with the skin type and level of humidity. Having at least some level of humidity in the environment is necessary, without which skin becomes flaky and itchy. It also has a negative effect on the eyes.
Humidity has proven to be pretty beneficial to people with dry skin, as the added moisture in the air leads to better water retention in the skin and reduces flakiness. It is recommended that people with dry skin should invest in a good humidifier for their house during the winters. People with Eczema can also benefit from buying a good humidifier.
Research has also found that high humidity levels can be harmful to people with eczema, the excessive sweat due to humid conditions might itch and irritate the skin. Excessive humidity aggravates the skin and leads to acne breakouts. The moisture in the air opens up pores, making them vulnerable to debris, oil, and allergies. It may also lead to eczema and allergic reactions.
How Does High Humidity Affect Your Skin
The ideal level of relative humidity to prevent dry skin is around 60 percent, which might not always be achievable. Therefore, even 30 to 50 percent humidity inside the house is considered achievable and desirable. It should not exceed 60 percent as it may lead to skin problems as discussed above.
Very low levels of humidity are undesirable as well and may lead to an increase in the loss of water vapor through respiration as well as from the capillaries in the skin. They are also associated with persistent dry skin, parched lips, an itchy throat, and nose. Humidifiers are great machines that help to increase the amount of moisture in the air.
How To Take Care Of Your Skin In Highly Humid Weather
As we discovered above, humidity levels that are too high or too low can both be harmful for our skin. For healthy skin, there should be a balance in the moisture content in the air, a perfectly balanced humidity level can make the skin feel fresh and hydrated. Dry skin is prone to flakiness and itching, whereas oily skin in humid conditions is susceptible to breakouts and acne.
Let's take a look at the effects of high humidity in detail:
- Heavy Sweating- Even regular temperatures can feel severely hot if the air is extremely humid. In such a scenario, the combination of heat and humidity can make a person sweat excessively, and even if the sweat dries out faster, it leaves behind greasiness that can clog the pores of the skin.
- Pimple Outbreak- The greasiness of the skin and excessive heat bring a slew of problems with them. Acne outbreak is one such problem. The humidity opens up the skin pores and sweat, dirt and other material clogs them, leading to popping up of painful pimples. Acne outbreaks are accompanied by redness, itchiness and a lot of discomfort.
- Heat Redness- Conditions for Heat rashes are similar to those that lead to acne. Excessive sweating can also close the sweat ducts in the skin, resulting in small red bumps all over the body. These lumps are known as heat redness and they are very itchy and uncomfortable.
There are some habits and lifestyle changes that can be adopted to control the effect of high humidity.
- Drink plenty of water- Staying hydrated is a very good way to do so. A study has recommended drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
- Get rid of blocked pores- Make sure to clear out clogged pores by spraying or sprinkling a bit of water on your face at regular intervals. Over-washing your face can be counterproductive, and dry out your skin. Use of a gentle cleanser is also advised.
- Moisturise only if required- People with oily or greasy skin can and should skip using a moisturizer. A waterproof sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher should be applied instead.
- Make the use of sunscreen a habit- Sunscreen provides an extra protective layer for the skin. It protects the skin from intense sunlight and UV rays and safeguards the eyes as well.
- Incorporate neem oil in your skincare routine- Neem has antibacterial, antifungal as well as antibiotic properties. It is a hundred percent natural, and protects the skin from everything from pimples to rashes.
Low humidity levels present some unique challenges too.
- Dry Skin- The humidity levels of the air are low when it is devoid of moisture. Moisture is necessary for soft and supple skin, no matter the skin type. A lack of moisture can even deplete the skin’s natural oils, which makes the skin flaky and irritable. In extreme cases, it can even lead to cracked skin and bleeding.
- Aggravate allergies- Low humidity aggravates skin allergies. Dryness of the skin and nasal passage can result from a lack of moisture. Bleeding and sinus infections may also occur due to a dry nasal passage.
Here are some tips to neutralize the effects of low levels of humidity.
- Avoid Makeup- Makeup gets stuck to pores and clogs them in low humid conditions. Night creams can make the skin oilier too, so they should be avoided as well. Switching from cream-based cosmetics to a mineral powdery foundation also helps.
- Get Facials- Getting a facial treatment can rejuvenate and hydrate the skin. Getting a clay-based mask is recommended as it absorbs excess oil and unclogs the pores.
What Are Ideal Humidity Levels For Human Skin
The ideal level of relative humidity ranges anywhere from 30 to 60 percent. It is critical to keep your home's relative humidity at a suitable level. Feeling sweaty and sticky is a sign that the level of humidity is too high. Whereas, having dry and flaky lips, dry and itchy eyes, and irritated sinuses are all symptoms of low humidity. Investing in an indoor cooling system and humidifiers that cover almost the whole house is essential for maintaining ideal humidity levels inside your home.
Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air and is extremely important for the health of our skin. Ideal humid conditions might help us to keep our skin hydrated and healthy but if the humidity levels are too high or too low they might lead to skin problems. Taking steps ahead of time to take care of our skin and adjusting our habits make it easier to protect ourselves in either condition.
Variations in the levels of humidity are also indirectly related to a number of other concerns. It has been found that even though dryness does not cause the occurrence of wrinkles earlier, research has shown that it can be a significant contributor. A team of scientists evaluated a group of people in a room with hot temperatures and a space with mild temperatures and discovered that the low humidity climate caused respondents to retain the most moisture preventing wrinkles. This is why care should be given to neutralize any negative effects that extreme levels of humidity might cause. Humidity regulating systems and practicing healthy skincare are only some ways in which we can ensure the health of our skin.
- 3 Sources
Biocule has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
Bhattacharya, S. (2021, August 24). How Does Humidity Affect Your Skin? Retrieved from skincraft: https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/how-does-humidity-affect-your-skin