For Teen Vogue, by Tina Ferraro.
Photo: Courtesy of CNP Montrose
Don't let the fact that it's practically sweet summertime fool you: dehydrated skin doesn't simply dry up and flake off forever once temperatures start climbing. Everyone knows that cold, arid winter air sucks hydration from your pores and leaves you looking and feeling chalky, but few think that the battle with dry skin can last all year long -- especially in the summer, when the air's moisture levels are at their peak. But even with that, combined with a daily dose of face mists, sheet masks, and serums designed to keep your skin cool, some still struggle to keep their faces from flaking in the heat.
Thankfully, there's an unbelievably simple, hands-free solution to keeping your complexion glowing all year round, and it comes in the compact form of a humidifier -- you know, the tiny machine you typically plug in to keep seasonal colds at bay. Having a humidifier running all day long or sleeping with one on full blast actually offers a ton of glow-y skin benefits because it infuses the air around you with moisture, indirectly helping your skin retain the hydration that it naturally loses throughout the day or while you sleep. "This process is known in the dermatological world as transepidermal water loss," notes New York-based derm Dendy Engelman, MD. "The body naturally loses water through the skin via evaporation -- and that's something that's out of our control. We're simply prone to dehydrated skin during the day and while we sleep." Getting your fill of H2O by drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help, but making sure skin has an external source of hydration and reinforcing the skin barrier with hydration -- whether in the form of your fave moisturizer or with a constant stream of humidifier steam -- is just as important, Dr. Engelman says. In a way, you can think of your humidifier as a lower-key steam room for your face. "Steam has the ability to open pores and let water back into your skin," says board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD. "Skin will then have a beautiful sheen to it."
When it comes down to it, creating a more favorable, moist environment for the skin is a major key to staying hydrated. "Not only does skin look better when it's well hydrated, but it's healthier and able to function better," notes Alicia Yoon, founder of the all-encompassing K-beauty site Peach and Lily. "In the long run, making sure your skin is hydrated makes a huge difference in your complexion's appearance and overall health." She likens switching on a humidifier before bed to leaving on an intensively hydrating sheet mask, then slathering a moisturizer all over your face to lock in moisture. Now, imagine the skin-quenching benefits if you managed to do all three.
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