The Best Humidifiers for Dry Skin and Bad Sinuses


humidifierFor many people, cracked lips, bloody noses and dry sinuses are synonymous with winter, thanks to dry indoor air resulting from central heating units.
Humidifiers can ease these symptoms for many people; however, it’s important to use caution to avoid unexpected problems.

Using a Humidifier in Winter

While humidifiers are especially helpful for dry skin and sinuses, they can actually make you sick if humidity levels get too high. Likewise, when they get dirty, humidifiers can breed bacteria and mold; so it’s important to clean your unit regularly and carefully monitor humidity levels in your home.

Different Types of Humidifiers

All humidifiers emit steam or water vapor to increase moisture levels in the air; however, there are a variety of different types, including:

  • Ultrasonic units, which produce cool mist using ultrasonic vibration
  • Central humidifiers built into home air conditioning or heating systems
  • Impeller unites, which generate cool mist using a rotating disk
  • Steam vaporizers, which use electricity to generate steam that cools before leaving the unit
  • Evaporators that blow air through a wet filter, wick or belt

Monitoring Humidity Levels

Any humidifier can sooth dry skin and sinuses, as long as it’s powerful enough to moisten the air in your home. Ideally, home humidity levels should fall between 30 and 50 percent. If the levels fall too low, you may develop irritated nasal passage, dry skin or itchy eyes. On the other hand, if they ascend too much, humidifiers can create condensation on floors, walls and other household surfaces, resulting in bacteria growth, mold and dust mites.

To ensure that your humidity levels fall where they should, use a hygrometer, which looks similar to a thermometer, but measures the amount of moisture in the air. You can find a hygrometer at your local department or hardware store. Some modern humidifiers also have built-in hygrometers, which provide convenient, accurate readings.

Dr. Jeannie Kenkare

Written by Dr. Jeannie Kenkare

Dr. Kenkare is a highly experienced clinician with a background in family medicine. As a founding member of PhysicianOne Urgent Care's parent company Happy Mountains, she is also our Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kenkare provides guidance and leadership to our health care team, and is responsible for the review of clinical guidelines, decision tools, and outcomes to develop and implement strategies that will improve patient care and clinical quality.


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