The Best Humidifiers for Dry Skin, According to a Dermatologist

Anke Neustadt

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It’s no secret that we’re all feeling a little extra parched and flaky these days. Throughout this Northeast winter, I’ve dealt with bloody noses and worsened allergies. It got me thinking about what I could do to fix this. To my surprise, I came across humidifiers a la Google search and discovered that these devices provide major skin benefits on top of their more well-known health advantages.

Even if you don’t live in a tundra (a.k.a. the East Coast), you’re bound to also be experiencing dry skin right about now. Because it doesn’t matter how thick of a moisturizer you pack on, sometimes it’s simply not enough. Luckily, we spoke to a dermatologist on humidifiers and their many skin benefits.

Dr. Mohiba Tareen, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Tareen Dermatology, gave us the low-down. To sum it up, a humidifier is the anti-aging skincare product you never knew you needed. It tackles dryness better than anything else, thus diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while also plumping skin and giving it a dewy glow. 

Keep reading for the answers to all your questions about humidifiers and how they actually are the best remedies for dry skin. 

RELATED: ‘Bridgerton’ Star Phoebe Dynevor Loves This Sunday Riley Face Oil for Treating Her Dry Skin 

What does a humidifier do?

Let’s start with figuring out what a humidifier even does, because quite honestly, I was even unsure of its purpose up until now. “A humidifier releases water vapor into the air to increase humidity or moisture levels,” says Dr. Tareen.

That’s important to note because your skin functions as a barrier that controls water loss and retains moisture. “Excessive humidity or too little can have negative effects on the skin,” she adds.

What does skin look like in low humidity and high humidity environments? 

In a location with little humidity, your skin might appear dry, cracked and scaly, according to Dr. Tareen. On the flip side, in a place with lots of humidity, your skin can gather dirt, oil and allergens more easily. “Living in a location that has high humidity may cause the skin to be prone to acne, rosacea, fungal and bacterial skin infections and allergic reactions,” she says.  

How does a humidifier benefit the skin?

We know a humidifier can help relieve sinus congestion, dry throat and nose irritation, but what can it do for your complexion? “A humidifier allows us to control the environment, which is a great way to control the skin. So, when it comes to keeping our indoor air hydrated, it also benefits our largest organ, our skin!” explains Dr. Tareen. “Adding moisture to the air, allows our skin to hold on to its natural oils and moisture barrier.”

Are there certain types of humidifiers that work best for the skin?

This is a question I’ve been baffled by myself because I’ve seen both warm-mist humidifiers and cool-mist humidifiers on the market. However, Dr. Tareen says she recommends cool-mist humidifiers to her patients. These models release a cool vapor into your space, unlike warm-mist humidifiers, which emit a hot vapor.

Do you have to use a humidifier year-round?

It might seem like refilling a humidifier year-round is excessive, which is why Dr. Tareen says they’re especially useful during colder months when the air is extra dry.  

What else can someone do or use to combat dry skin? 

She suggests “adding a cream-based moisturizer such as CeraVe or Vanicream” on your skin to enhance the moisture it receives overnight. She also mentions hyaluronic acid serums, since they do fantastic jobs at locking in moisture. “During particularly dry weather, using a ceramide-rich cream moisturizer followed by an occlusive agent such as Aquaphor or Vaseline can help trap in the moisture,” Dr. Tareen adds. 

Below, find four cool-mist humidifiers that’ll have your skin glowing in no time.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Amazon

Photo: Pure Enrichment.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Dr. Tareen notes that you don’t have to buy a super fancy, pricey option. In fact, Pure Enrichment’s $40 MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier works just fine. “It runs for up to 16 hours and is quiet with an automatic shut off once the tank is empty,” says Dr. Tareen. “It is also very easy to clean—something I recommend doing once weekly.” This model already has a 20 percent discount at the moment, but clip the coupon to save an extra $5.

Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier Amazon

Photo: Levoit.

Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier

If you’re looking to treat yourself to something a little more hi-tech, go for the Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier that’s 10 percent off when you enter code STYLECASTER10 at checkout. I have one and love how you can control the device from the Levoit app on your phone. It’s easy to set up, operate and refill. I also love the night mode, which allows you to turn off all of the humidifier’s lights so that you can still get to bed. You can additionally shop it on Amazon, if that’s your go-to online shopping destination.

AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier Amazon

Photo: AquaOasis.

AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier

For a model that doesn’t hum, whistle or make any noises while you sleep, opt for AquaOasis’ Cool Mist Humidifier. It’ll help you breathe better and achieve healthy, moisturized skin. It also has a 360-degree rotating nozzle so you have total control over mist output and mist flow direction. This model has a 34 percent, as well as Amazon’s spot as the best in its category. 

Levoit Dual 200S Smart Top-Fill Humidifier Amazon

Photo: Levoit.

Levoit Dual 200S Smart Top-Fill Humidifier

A bulkier model with a huge tank might not be the most practical for those who live in close quarters, which is why the Dual 200S Smart Top-Fill Humidifier is a great space-saving option. It also happens to be on sale at Amazon right now. 

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The Best Anti-Aging Product Isn’t What You’d Think—Here’s Why Experts Say a Humidifier Is a Must For Skin Junkies

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