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How Does Humidity Affect Your Skin?

a girl looking at a pimple on her face

Humidity & Skin

Humidity generally increases bacterial infections and can have issues with acne, rashes, skin, sweat glands, and other infections. The ones who have oily skin, skin with acne or acne-prone, combination skin, extra humidity can definitely be a big problem to the health of the skin. One can fight all these problems by learning how to make your skin better by using natural or Ayurveda products and by following simple daily things.

In humid weather, due to air moisture, skin pores open and it makes the skin collect oil, dirt, and foreign substances (allergens). Excessive humidity can result in skin breakouts, pimples, or eczema. Have you ever experienced skin changes when you visit a new place? Or when there is a seasonal change? Usually, it’s because of weather change (change in levels of humidity). Humidity is the number of water droplets available in the air. Our skin requires a balance of dry and humid settings. Extra humidity or little humidity can be detrimental to your skin. If you live in dry places, i.e. at low levels of humidity, the skin will become dry, and if you live in areas of high humidity, the skin will have acne and rashes.

Effects of High Humidity

  • Extreme Sweating: Summer usually becomes unbearable due to humidity. If the humidity is high, even the normal temperature makes it feel too hot. This results in too much sweating, this sweat usually evaporates but the moisture remains on the skin, which makes it worse and might result in skin infections
  • Acne: As mentioned above, extreme sweating causes skin issues, and one of them is acne/ pimples. Skin pores are clogged due to sweating which results in painful bumps. Acne then causes itching and rashes
  • Anhidrosis: It is a condition of the skin in which it’s unable to produce sweat. This condition is more visible across humid places. Due to excessive humidity, one’s ability to sweat gradually reduces, and when the sweat is not able to evaporate, it stays there and blocks ducts. Due to this blockage, the skin usually can’t sweat further, and sweat glands stop functioning properly.
  • Heat Rashes:  Due to extreme heat and sweating, heat rashes are developed on the skin. These start when sweat ducts can’t open due to the perspiration process. This results in small red bumps and makes those rashes itchy and uncomfortable.

Effects of Low Humidity

  • Respiratory Issues: Lower humidity not only lowers the moisture level on the skin but also lowers the mucosal membrane moisture level. This membrane is found in the lungs nose, mouth, and sinuses.
  • Eczema: It’s a skin condition that occurs when there are genetic issues, environmental factors, or foreign substances (allergens) on the skin. The skin becomes red, itchy, and causes irritation. With eczema, one also faces emotional breakouts.
  • Dry Skin: When the air has lower moisture or has low humidity, moisture is also lost from your skin via evaporation. It is called transepidermal water loss. This causes a reduction in required moisture level and skin health deteriorates. Low humidity also makes the skin lose natural oils, which makes it even drier and flaky. If the situations are severe, it can also make skin cracking & bleeding.
  • Allergies: If your skin is sensitive or prone to allergies, the low humidity could be very bad for your skin. When humidity levels are lower, it makes you dry, and this dryness also comes to your nasal passage. In case you have allergies, your nose might also start bleeding which can further result in sinus infections.

Other Health Concerns

  • Asthma: Extreme humidity can make it difficult for asthma patients as the air becomes heavy, and one can find it difficult to breathe. This can increase the probability of having an asthma attack
  • Frizzy Hair: If there is no balanced humidity, it also deteriorates your hair health, and makes it frizzy
  • Heat Stroke:  If the sweating mechanism is failed, or if the body overheats due to over-exposure to high temperature, this condition is known as heatstroke. It usually happens when the body can’t cool down (after the body temperature increases) which leads to heat exhaustion.

Things To Do

  • Know your skin, i.e. understand your skin and determine what suits your skin
  • Keep it clean, i.e. try to keep the skin clean at all times with cleansers
  • Use moisturizer daily
  • Always apply sunscreen to keep yourself protected from UV rays
  • Get a humidifier to balance the hydration
  • Have weekly or biweekly facials to keep skin pores clean and unclogged
  • Always hydrate yourself (with a sufficient amount of water and a balanced diet)

Take away

As explained above, both low humidity and high humidity are bad for skin health. Skin prefers a level of humidity that is kind of balanced and lies between that balance range. Excessive humidity can result in extreme sweating, acne, pimples, bacterial infections, rashes, redness, and skin breakouts while lower humidity can result in dry skin, allergies, and respiratory problems. Moreover, there could be other health concerns as well like asthma, frizzy hair, heatstroke, and so on. Ideal humidity can be different for different persons but usually stands between 30 and 50 percent according to health experts and dermatologists.