Another common question I receive is, “Do humidifiers help eczema?” This article will talk about whether it helps and the best humidifier to choose. I have personally found that my child’s skin does better in humid weather than dry climates. A humidifier can definitely be helpful, especially if you live in an area with dry climate.
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Do humidifiers help eczema?
Eczema can be triggered by dry climate. To prevent this, a humidifier can be used to produce moisture and increase humidity in the air. (1) So the answer is yes, humidifiers can definitely make a big difference. That’s why it’s important to find the best humidifiers to help your child with eczema.
Is using a humidifier good for your skin?
Given the skin is the largest organ in the human body, it is important to keep the skin from drying out. This is even more so for children with eczema and during the winter months when using indoor heaters. To keep the skin hydrated, it is important to use good topical products AND maintain the humidity by using a humidifier. Using humidifiers is the best way to keep the air moist during cold and dry seasons. (2)
Why does eczema sometimes get worse during the winter?
During the winter season, the temperature decreases. Many people resort to using a heater in their homes which dries the air out. This contributes to dry skin. People who have sensitive skin or eczema will react more severely to dry air than those without eczema.
On the other hand, the summer season can increase air humidity (depending on region), which can result in better skin condition. I have found this to be true when traveling to tropical regions such as Hawaii. (3)
How Do Humidifiers Help Eczema?
Humidifiers can help restore moisture in the air, which will hydrate the skin and keep it from drying it out. This is why eczema skin tends to improve in moist and humid climates. (5)
What are the different types of humidifiers?
There are two main types humidifiers:
- Warm mist (warm moisture)
- Cool mist (cool moisture)
Warm mist: Warm mist humidifiers produce warm steam through boiling water. This produces water vapor and humidifies the air.
Cool mist: Sometimes warm mist can worsen the skin. A cool mist humidifier is the best option for people with eczema. Warm mist can exacerbate sensitive skin. There are 3 types of cool mist humidifiers.
- Evaporative Humidifiers: This humidifier produces cool moisture when a wick filter absorbs the water and then blows out through the filter. When this happens, moist air is blown out of the humidifier.
- Ultrasonic Humidifiers: This humidifier vibrates the water and makes a fine spray cool mist. These humidifiers are quiet and easy to clean. (5)
- Impeller humidifiers: This humidifier uses a rotating disc to produce tiny droplets. The downside to these humidifiers is that they can be loud. (7)
What features should you look for in a humidifier?
Humidifier’s room capacity
- For a single room, a tabletop or a portable humidifier can be used
- For the whole house, there are in-duct systems similar to a central air conditioning system (8)
- Most humidifiers have a water capacity of 0.5 – 6 gallons
- Keep in mind how frequently you will replace the tank. For example, if the humidifier has an output of 4 gallons per day, but it can hold max 2 gallons, then the tank will have to be refilled every 12 hours. (9)
- Humidifiers with fans make the most noise
- Evaporative humidifiers produce noise, but it’s low and more like white noise (10), (11). This may be soothing for your child when sleeping
- Impeller humidifiers can be loud when humidifying
What kind of water should be used in a humidifier?
Distilled water (soft water) is the best to use for humidifiers, but it can be expensive. Distilled water should be used for ultrasonic humidifiers since the sodium and minerals from hard water can damage the internal mechanism for humidifiers, especially the ultrasonic type. For the other types such as evaporative and steam models, hard water can be used. (7), (4)
Where should the humidifier be placed?
- Bed: We recommend placing your humidifier several feet from your bed – a minimum of 3 feet
- Although you can use them on a floor, placing them at least 2 feet above the floor is ideal
- Don’t place a humidifier where it will be constantly exposed to sunlight (Ex.: near a window)
- Avoid placing the unit on top of or very close to wooden surfaces subject to moisture or water damage. A tray or other water-resistant cover underneath the unit can avoid issues from mist droplets or spilled water
- A non-metallic, level surface is ideal. Do not place on carpet or similar surfaces
- For best results, place humidifiers closer to the center of the room or even to one side, whichever is convenient
What is the best humidifier for eczema?
The LEVOIT LV600HH is one of the best humidifiers on the market. Some key features include:
- Can produce BOTH warm mist for the winter and cool mist for the summer.
- It uses an ultrasonic mechanism so it’s very quiet, which is important for your sleeping child
- Excellent output to fill a large room at 500mL/hour, requiring a refill every 36 hours! Can someone say environmentally friendly?!
- Essential oil aroma diffuse mode for your favorite essential oils
I hope this article helps you find the best humidifier according to your preferences. There are many things to look for, but from my research, the LEVOIT LV600HH is one of the best humidifiers on the market to help keep your child’s skin hydrated whether in the winter or summer. The key features to look for in a humidifier, especially if you are looking to use it for your child with eczema are warm and cool mist capability, quiet ultrasonic mechanism, large tank so you’re not constantly refilling, and excellent output for a large room. So in short, do humidifiers help eczema? Yes!
Also, don’t forget to use an excellent moisturizer. For a list and review of the best topical eczema products, check out this article.