Q: My skin is so dry and irritated in the winter, even though I moisturize it. How can I fix it?
A: That comforting clank of the radiator should be a signal to turn on a humidifier. Indoor heat saps moisture from the environment, which is why you could be waking up with parched skin, a dry sore throat, itchy eyes, and even acute sinus problems. “Humidity is much lower in the cold winter months, and the extremes of dry, hot air inside and cold, dry air outside pull natural water from your skin, leaving it overly itchy and chapped,” explains NYC dermatologist Doris Day. “A humidifier will add water vapor to the air, which indirectly helps the skin retain that moisture.” Just think about how dewy your skin looks and feels in a tropical climate as opposed to an arid one — like an airplane — then make your way to Duane Reade.
Day recommends putting a humidifier in your bedroom because that's where you're "ideally" spending eight hours a night sleeping. "Keep it on overnight, setting it just high enough to add water into the air without completely fogging up your windows. That brings the humidity level to an optimal 35 percent.” She also recommends a warm mist over a cool one, since it’s closer to the natural skin temperature. Low on funds? You can also place a bowl of lukewarm water on top of the radiator — a low-tech way to add moisture into the air as it evaporates while you sleep.