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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Humidifiers For Dry Skin

Our reviews cover the top-rated brands and are sure to produce moist and healthy quality air.

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Humidifiers For Dry Skin

Our reviews cover the top-rated brands and are sure to produce moist and healthy quality air.

by Joshm

For Large Spaces

Honeywell HCM350W
Honeywell HCM350W

Best For Bedrooms

VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser
VicTsing

Best Facial Steamer

Pure Daily Care NANO-IONIC
Pure NANO-IONIC

According to WebMD, the ideal humidity range for healthy skin is 45% to 55%. You can easily maintain this humidity range by choosing a humidifier powerful enough to cover your space. Other aspects of the humidifier, such as ease of maintenance, the temperature of steam, or mechanism of vapor production, depend on your personal preferences. This review lays out the reasons to choose particular types of humidifiers so that you can make your best choice.

How Humidifiers Help Dry Skin

A humidifier increases the concentration of water vapor in the air. Ideally, there is a sort of equilibrium between the air’s moisture and your skin’s moisture. However, dehydrated air tends to make skin’s moisture evaporate off, relentlessly drying the skin out. While warm air tends to be more humid than cold air, heating systems do not help, because they merely heat cold dry air from the outside. It makes the dryness worse because then you have warm, dry air that tends to absorb any moisture it can get. Humidifiers reverse this process.

Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist for Dry Skin

In general, both cool and warm mist humidifiers are helpful for dry skin—they both effectively add moisture to the air. However, there are reasons one might prefer one over the other. Some cool mist units use evaporative technology, which means the unit will only introduce the amount of moisture the air can absorb, reducing the chance of over-humidification (which promotes mold growth). Other cool mist units use ultrasonic (high-frequency sound vibrations) to turn water to vapor. Most people favor ultrasonic units for their simplicity, quietness, and safety.

That said, warm mist units partially sterilize their steam—potentially better for those with some skin issues. Also, concentrated warm mist, as in a facial steamer, helps the skin to more efficiently receive moisturizing products.

Choosing Humidifiers for Dry Skin

Mist Type

Both cool and warm mist helps dry skin; however, there are other considerations. Cool mist units are safer—there is no risk of scalding or steam burn (primarily a concern for pets or children). Warm mist units are better at removing scale from the steam, so it does not splatter on the surrounding area, and they are better at killing microorganisms.

Filtering Properties

Some units come with a replaceable filter. While replacing or cleaning a filter creates added expense and effort, it does clean the vapor coming out of the unit. However, keep in mind you still must follow any maintenance or cleaning instructions to get this benefit.

Filter types is especially important for those searching for a humidifier to solve their sinus problems.

Diffusion Functionality

Many people enjoy having a diffuser to release essential oils into the air. While oils in the air do not directly help skin, they might relieve stress—and stress is generally bad for the body, including the skin. Therefore, a humidifying diffuser is a great way to help your skin in more than one way at once.

Size of the Room

Larger rooms or whole homes require more powerful humidifiers. Keep in mind that more humidification is not always better. A powerful humidifier in a tiny room will need to be heavily monitored to prevent over-humidification (over 60% relative humidity). Conversely, a tiny humidifier in a huge room will not have much impact.

Water Tank Capacity

Generally, powerful humidifiers with extensive room coverage have larger tanks. A high-capacity tank means that the unit can keep going longer, even with great moisture output. Unfortunately, a large tank takes up more space. If you do not need that much moisture, a small-tanked unit is ideal.

Ease of Use, Setup & Maintenance

Since stress is not good for skin, choose a humidifier that is all-around most comfortable for you. Low-maintenance is best. However, there is no such thing as a no-maintenance humidifier. Even the simplest units need to be emptied and wiped down after use. Larger units need thorough descaling with white vinegar and antimicrobial cleansing (use ratio: 1 tsp. bleach to 1-gallon water) regularly.

Noise Level

Generally, all humidifiers are very quiet devices. At worst, there is a faint hum, and possibly some periodic water bubbling sounds. Generally, ultrasonic or warm steam units are a little quieter than traditional evaporative units, but the difference is negligible to most.

Warranty

Most units have 1-3 years of limited warranty. Such warranties only apply to demonstrable poor manufacture. Therefore, inadequate user maintenance sometimes voids such warranties; however, most buyers find humidifier companies’ customer service to be fairly accommodating.

Extra Features

Many units have two or more humidification settings that allow you to control how quickly humidity is added to the air. Usually, this means a change in fan speed or an on-and-off intermittent setting versus continuous running. Many units also give you similar control over lighting features—some humidifiers glow in different colors and intensities, but usually, you can turn the light off entirely and still run the humidifier. Almost all humidifiers shut off automatically when out of water.

7 Best Humidifiers for Dry Skin Reviewed

1. VicTsing

Best for Bedrooms/Sleeping

Type of Humidification Ultrasonic
Water Tank Capacity 300 mL (0.3 L)
Room Coverage 269–323 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output .32 gallons/day
Runtime 10 hours (on low); 6 hours (on high)
Warranty Yes—1 year; 45-day, money-back guarantee

Even if it were not such an effective humidifier, the VicTsing diffuser would be an excellent piece to keep around. Its LED light band glows in 7 different colors—you can adjust the brightness or turn the light off entirely if you would rather. It has an attractive, compact, and natural-looking shape, with a wood pattern exterior, and it only has 2 buttons to control its functions. Aside from the potentially purifying and relaxing scents it can put out, the look of it speaks of relaxation in one’s personal space.

However, it is also a good humidifier, at least for small-to-medium spaces.

While it does not look like a child’s room humidifier, the majority of online feedback has shown that it clears the air in smaller spaces very well. Users have stated – It’s small enough to keep on the nightstand, but strong enough to make a difference….this is so convenient because of its size and how easy it is to fill.

We like it because of the effects it has on dry skin during the evenings. By working efficiently next to your bed throughout the night, you can wake up feeling refreshed and with radiant skin.

Pros

  • Modern, attractive, chic design
  • Easy to clean and use
  • Dual purpose: humidifier, oil diffuser
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • Beeping sound when out of water
  • Not high-capacity

2. Honeywell HCM350W

Best Evaporative Humidifier for Dry Skin

Type of Humidification Evaporative
Water Tank Capacity 1.1 gallon
Room Coverage 500 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output 2 gallons/day
Runtime Potentially 24 hours, but depends on room humidity
Warranty Yes—3 years

This Honeywell humidifier is perfect for those who want strong humidification of a medium to large space. Do not worry about over-humidification, though: there are 3 fan speeds to draw your room’s dry air into the evaporative unit. Do not be alarmed that you cannot see the vapor rising from the unit as you can in other humidifiers. It does not force moisture into the air. It only adds as much moisture as the room air can take by evaporation.

You do need to replace the antimicrobial wick filter in this unit regularly. The build design makes it easy to clean and manage. It’s quiet, has a large tank that’s dishwasher safe and super easy to keep clean in general. This combination of quality and easy maintenance makes it a smart choice for larger spaces and provides relief to dry skin 24 hours a day.

Pros

  • Tank is easy to fill and resistant to breaking
  • Tank and tray are dishwasher-safe
  • Self-regulating humidification
  • Antimicrobial (bacteria, fungi, mold, virus)

Cons

  • Filter to change regularly
  • No automatic shutoff when out of water

3. Pure Daily Care NANO-IONIC

Best Facial Steamer and Humidifier

Type of Humidification Steam vaporizer
Water Tank Capacity 200 mL (or .2 L)
Room Coverage Not given—but probably small room
Daily Humidity Output Not given—depends which mode you use
Runtime .5 hours (facial steam mode); longer (but time not given) for humidifier mode
Warranty Yes—1 year

From a company committed to non-cosmetic skin improvement, comes the Pure Daily Care Nano-Ionic Steamer. This steamer is small, attractive, and easy to use, no matter which of its 3 functions: facial steamer, small room humidifier, towel warmer. (However, be warned: towels come out of this unit being hot—do not remove with bare hands.)

Reviewers have praised the product, and have compared it to “…It’s almost like having a mini sauna at home”. Just be careful not to put your face too close to the device, as the steam can get very hot. Covering with the towel while using the steamer is a good idea too, as it helps for steam remain for longer.

Pure Daily Care also includes a professional-grade 5-piece skin extraction kit suitable for all acne types. This is perfect for someone who struggles with a combination of skin problems—skin that is sometimes dry and sometimes oily or acne-prone. Furthermore, the negative ions of the steam promote overall wellbeing.

Pros

  • Upkeep/cleaning is simple
  • Comedone/acne extraction kit included
  • 3-in-1 design
  • Attractive design and colors

Cons

  • Must use a towel to focus the steam

4. Pure Enrichment MistAire

Best Seller

Type of Humidification Ultrasonic
Water Tank Capacity 1.5 L (.4 gallons)
Room Coverage 250 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output .9 gallons/day
Runtime 16 hours (on low); 10 hours (on high)
Warranty Yes—2 years

The Pure Enrichment MistAire is the perfect humidifier for a child or baby’s room. It is safe and space-saving; also, it has adjustable mist direction and is of adequate capacity for a small-medium room. Furthermore, it can even double as a nightlight—of course; many adults can benefit from all of these features, too.

Online reviews have reinforced these basic pluses of the product with the majority of purchasers stating it is an excellent cool mist humidifier. Most used like that it holds a fair amount of water which allows it to run on high for 2 nights before refilling.

Some also warn that the unit can build scale and mold if not cleaned regularly. Note, however, that use of distilled water greatly decreases maintenance. Also, this unit is filter-less, so there are no accessory parts of purchase over and over.

The look and feel of this humidifier is reminiscent of a modern computing device. It has a glowing power button that controls every feature (press over and over to get to the lighting and humidifying mode that you want). The design is sleekly compact and modern.

Pros

  • Space-saving design
  • Controllable mist direction
  • Optional nightlight
  • Long runtime

Cons

  • Parts that are difficult to clean
  • Might need distilled water to avoid buildup

5. Venta LW25 Airwasher 2-in-1

Humidifier + Purifier

Type of Humidification Evaporative
Water Tank Capacity 2 gallons
Room Coverage 400 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output Not given—depends how dry the air is
Runtime 24 hours (on average)
Warranty Yes—10 years

The Venta 2-in-1 Airwasher is an example of intelligent German engineering. There is no filter: the same mechanism—a set of rotating Disc Stacks—that pulls particles as little as .3 microns out of the air also allows water to evaporate into the room air as needed.

There are 3 fan speeds: The highest option can keep humidifying an estimated 15 hours, the lowest 48 hours.

You might find a Consumer Reports article saying the Venta does not have any purification capabilities; however, this article is dated (2008), and it misreports the size of particles that the current model can filter out. In actuality, recent users find that it does make a difference:

By adding a gallon of water to the washer every day you will notice a vast improvement in the moisture in the air. The device is well made and easy to clean. These factors make this another solid choice for improving dry skin.

Pros

  • Unusually long warranty
  • Self-regulating humidification
  • 2-in-1 design: purification and humidification
  • Relatively high capacity and coverage

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Requires treatment additive used regularly

6. URPOWER 2nd Version

Best Cheap Humidifier for Dry Skin

Type of Humidification Ultrasonic
Water Tank Capacity 100 ml (or .1 L)
Room Coverage 120 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output .2 gallons/day
Runtime 3 hours continuous, 6 hours intermittent
Warranty No

The URPOWER 2nd Version is the most economic humidifier option on the market: It performs well as a diffuser and as an effective humidifier for small spaces. Users enjoy the selection of 7 LED light colors, which can be adjusted to bright or dim, or you can turn the glow off entirely.

There are 2 mist options: continuous mode and intermittent mode—the intermittent mode promises a total runtime of 6 hours. However, many users are satisfied to find that it can last longer than stated and can work well in a larger space than indicated.

This unit is simple to clean—it can be used with tap water and just needs a periodic wipe down. Purchasers have confirmed that it is an eye catching model which is simple to use. One user claimed that it still produces mist after 6 hours when filling it up with water, and setting it on 30 sec misting interval.

Pros

  • Great value, very affordable
  • Multi-purpose: humidity, diffuser, nightlight
  • Small, with compact design
  • Easy to maintain/clean

Cons

  • Not high-capacity or high-coverage

7. Vicks 1-Gallon

Best Warm Mist Humidifier for Dry Skin

Type of Humidification Steam vaporizer
Water Tank Capacity 1 gallon
Room Coverage 400-1000 sq. ft.
Daily Humidity Output 2 gallons/day
Runtime 12 hours on high; 24 hours on low
Warranty Yes—3 years

The Vicks 1-Gallon provides all of the expected benefits of a warm mist humidifier. It pumps out hours of warm, clean (95% bacteria-free) vapor, sufficient for medium to large spaces; in fact, this unit has a larger coverage area than any other on this list.

This unit requires no filters or additives. While it does require regular cleaning to prevent mold and scale buildup, the tank and other parts are dishwasher-safe, and the tank’s opening is wide enough to make cleaning relatively easy.

It has a special medicine cup on top to pour Vicks VapoSteam® or another similar product of choice. This is the perfect humidifier for someone living in a cold, dry environment and suffering from dry skin or sinus issues.

Verified buyers have praised the output of this units moisture with windows being covered in water after running it on high overnight. They also enjoyed the quiet nature of this product with only a slight soothing sound to be heard.

Pros

  • Great value: powerful unit, low price
  • Tank is easy to fill and clean
  • Large capacity and coverage
  • Option to add medicine to vapor

Cons

  • Needs multi-step regular maintenance
  • Relatively large in size

Dry Skin Causes and Remedies

For most people, dry air (usually during winter or in cold environments) is a serious culprit. A humidifier remedies this major cause of dry skin. Lifestyle choices such as frequent washing, hot water bathing, and the use of unhealthy chemicals (cosmetics, detergents, fragranced soaps, etc.) can also contribute to the condition. While dry skin is usually at worst uncomfortable, it can make skin crack open, which increases infection risk. Chronically dry skin exacerbates existing skin conditions, such as eczema.

Humidifiers, Aromatherapy & Skincare

Humidifiers with the capability to diffuse essential oils are usually called diffusers, and some people may buy them for this purpose exclusively, rather than the humidification (even though the unit must humidify to release the oils). While topical use of some oils can help skin issues, diffused aromatic oils do not have any direct effect on the skin. However, aromatherapy does reduce stress for many.

Simple diffusers require little maintenance—but do not leave water and oil in them for long periods of disuse—they can clog and stop working. Only use a few drops of essential oil with every tankful of water.

Other Ways to Help Your Skin

While a humidifier will generally help your skin keep its moisture, you might find that frequently exposed areas (hands, face, or legs) still need more help. If your face tends to get dry, you should look especially for a non-comedogenic moisturizer (will not clog pores and promote acne)—it is possible to have acne and dry skin at the same time. For other parts of the body, look for a fragrance-free moisturizer, especially one with ceramides.

The CeraVe® line of products covers all bases—it is hypoallergenic, and it contains hyaluronic acid, which is famous for its ability to reduce the effects of aging by helping skin retain moisture.

Different Types of Humidifiers

Single Room

This article has focused on single room humidifiers. However, some of the higher-capacity/coverage units could potentially work for multiple rooms as long as doors are open to keep air circulating. However, most people like the customizability that single-room humidifiers give: you can make the room you are in very humid if you want while having little impact on other rooms.

Whole House

It is possible to get a whole-house humidification system, potentially one that works along with your HVAC system. This is ideal for houses in chronically dry environments and houses with collectibles that need to be in a humidity-controlled environment. A good example of such a unit is the Aprilaire® 700 Series Whole House Furnace Humidifier, suitable for spaces 4200 sq. ft.

Portable/Travel

The smaller of the units reviewed above would be easy to carry in a suitcase or duffel; the larger ones are also portable, but you would need to make some room for them in your luggage. Vogue provides a nice list of highly portable humidifiers—primarily marketed to women, but potentially helpful to anyone.

Which Location Should I Put My Humidifier

Mostly, commonsense suffices: Place the humidifier in the room with the person who needs the humidity—better yet, put it close to the person. However, there are safety considerations: Do not position a humidifier so that its electric cord runs where someone could trip over it. Also, avoid aiming the steam at a person or object at close range. (Even use caution with units, such as facial steamers, that are made to be directed at the user.)

Lastly, if you are using a humidifier in a babies room, take extra care and be sure to have it situated further away than a full grown adult.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A good rule of thumb with any humidifier is to change the water in the tank daily and to do some weekly check/clean. Never store a humidifier with wet parts.

One of the biggest issues with all humidifiers is the build-up of hard-water minerals from tap water. Cool mist humidifiers have no way of separating the minerals out of the steam, and so minerals settle around the humidifier in the form of white dust. Warm steam units do not emit white dust, but they still suffer from an internal build-up of scale. Vinegar is the best weapon against scale. If you do not like the idea of doing a weekly vinegar cleanse (or white dust pick-up) consider using distilled water, rather than tap water, in your humidifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended humidity range for a home or office?

The recommended humidity range for interior spaces is 35% to 45%, ordinarily—this is safest for furniture, house structure, belongings, along with being best for most people’s comfort. Some sources indicate that up to 60% is okay. Those with very dry skin or sinus trouble might find relief at the upper end of the range.

How do manufacturers make their humidifier antimicrobial?

One approach, used in the Honeywell unit above, is internal UV (ultraviolet) light. Some units use HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate arresting), including carbon filters—which are often laced with silver, silica, or other material—to pull out microbes and other pollutants. This can help with allergies and asthma.

How often should I change my humidifier filter?

Most humidifiers are filter-less; however, if yours does have a filter, replace it monthly (or possibly every 2 months, if your use is light).

Can I use tap water in my humidifier?

Normally, yes. However, there can be mineral build-up and white dust if your tap water has any hardness to it. Furthermore, you have to consider whether you are okay with breathing the contents of your tap water. Water that is heavily chlorinated, fluorinated, or contains other additives could exacerbate skin or respiratory problems.

Is it safe to leave a humidifier on all night?

Usually, yes. Continuing to run while out of water could harm the humidifier and create a safety hazard, but most units have an automatic shutoff to prevent this. Also, many units are capable of running continuously for 24 hours or more without running out of water.

Where is a good place to buy these units?

While you can often order these units on company websites, and the Home Depot and Walmart websites, Amazon is usually the best place to find bargain prices and helpful customer reviews.

Conclusion

The VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser provides the perfect combination of aesthetic beauty, aromatherapy, and humidification, all while being space-saving, low-maintenance, and safe to use. On a basic level, you should look for these traits in any humidifier. However, as demonstrated in this article, there is still much variation—this gives you the chance to find the perfect one for you.

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