The One Thing You Need to Actually Get Rid of Dry Skin

By February 15, 2017

What do you do when your skin care routine is already 20 steps long and you’re still waking up to dry, parched skin? You consult an esthetician and find out that you should be doing something you never thought of to cure your flaky skin. Read on to learn why a humidifier will get rid of dry skin.

For most of my adult life, I’ve suffered from severely dry skin. It’s so dry; it’s tight. When it’s really bad, it’s flaky. At its worst, it’s so sensitive it’s actually painful. And since I’ve made the jump from Los Angeles to San Francisco (where I keep daily tabs on the pollen count), it’s gotten much, much worse. Before the move, quelling a dry spell was simply a matter of adding on a few steps to my (already pretty packed) skincare regimen.

That hasn’t been the case lately. This past winter, I found myself adding serums, oils, sheet masks, toners, essences, moisturizers—nothing. Then I tried chugging at least eight cups of water a day. Still nothing (except a lot of extra bathroom trips). I finally sought professional help. I consulted an esthetician, and she told me I needed to purchase a humidifier.

Why a humidifier works:

Doris Day, a dermatologist in New York City, told The Cut that a humidifier helps balance out the dry air that’s caused by your heater during the winter and bring it back to a proper moisture level (it also just helps retain moisture in the air even in the summer when your heater’s not on). “A humidifier will add water vapor to the air, which indirectly helps the skin retain […] moisture,” Doris says.

The humidifier I bought:

I went for one that was quiet, extra hydrating, and, most of all, not expensive— the Crane Cool Mist model with a 2.3 gallon-output, a steal at $35. I set it up next to me wherever I went in the house. As I type, there’s a gallon of water to my left, with a spouting humidifier to my right. I fill the humidifier up with filtered or distilled water about twice a day and tappity-tap away at the keyboard and just let it do its thing.

Did it work for me?

To be totally honest, I’m not sure. It’s soothing, sure. And my allergies seem to have let up a tad. But my tight, dry face was back by the afternoon.To my shock and horror, my esthetician explained that it’s entirely possible that my dry skin was being caused by piling on too many products. It was likely that a few formulas were clashing with each other, irritating my skin in the process. And it can take a while to identify the culprits. Weeks. Months, even. I was devastated. And I definitely couldn’t wait that long. Eventually my peeling forehead suggested it was time to check out the second suggestion on the esthetician’s list…

If you’re impatient for the humidifier to work, try mists.

I’ve turned to an arsenal of moisturizing misting sprays that I’ve relied on for years. These do the trick, if only for an hour or so. But still, just imagine—an entire hour of relief. An hour of blissfully hydrated, friendly skin. I’ll take it. Two recommendations here. First is what I think of as SK II without the pricetag: Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence. For years I’ve dutifully emptied the contents of a bottle into a handy, plastic mist-er I purchased at Target’s travel section for 99 cents. I only recently learned it also comes in a prepackaged mist version to make it even easier. This is my mobile option. I spray it after toner, after BB cream, and then I throw it in my bag for impromptu moisture sessions on the road.

It’s also wise to have a stationary option and to look for mists that have less water content. The less water it has, the more hydrating ingredients it has and the better it will work to hydrate you. The eNature Birch Juice Hydro Mist is an exceptional option because it contains 91 percent birch sap. Along with chamomile and plantain seed extract, this mist uses a powerhouse of moisturizing ingredients to keep skin supple long after you spritz it on your face. 

Bonus side effects of a humidifier:

Aside from having patience and giving it some time to show how much it will add moisture back to your skin, all that humid air relieves parched sinuses, prevents nosebleeds, and might help you or your bedmate finally stop snoring. In my testing phase, I learned two key tips. First, avoid tap water. Hard tap will leave a coating of fine, white dust on all surrounding surfaces. Second, let the humidifier dry out after use and clean the unit once a week with a vinegar solution to avoid any gross mold issues.

+ Do you know of a unique way to quench parched skin? Share your tip in the comments!

 

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