The 6 Best Humidifiers For Dry Skin, According To A Derm

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by Chelsey Hamilton and Jen Fiegel
Originally Published: 
Best Humidifiers For Dry Skin

Whether you live in a place that’s dry year-round or find that moisture levels drop dramatically as the heat goes on, dry indoor air can cause chapped, dehydrated skin. Fortunately, the best humidifiers for dry skin are easy to operate and keep clean. But to decide the best one for you, consider your room size and what functionality you’re looking for to restore the humidity level of your home, leaving your skin (and everything else) feeling hydrated and happy.

When it comes to the skin, proper humidity levels are especially important at night so you’ll likely want a model that is quiet enough for you to sleep through. “Using a humidifier each night can help to keep the air more moist and in turn, your skin will also have more moisture to absorb,” Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, Board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology explains.

You’ll also want to find a model that’s easy to clean since you’ll want to use “soap and water or a mild vinegar solution every week” on it, according to Dr. Evans. This is especially true if you use tap water. As Dr. Evans explains: “Tap water (as opposed to distilled water) contains impurities which can build up on your humidifier. They can also harbor mold, or fungus inside.” Top-fill humidifiers are one popular choice for their ease but any style can do as long as you’re diligent.

Finally, when searching for a humidifier, you'll want to consider if a warm-mist or cool-mist option is best for your lifestyle. Warm-mist humidifiers work by releasing hot steam into your space. This can feel extra-soothing, but they're not the best option if you have kids or pets because the steam can burn them. In contrast, the best cool-mist humidifiers are safe to touch (read: better for homes with kids and curious pets). “In terms of moisture in the air, both are good,” Dr. Evans adds.

To help inform your choices, I've rounded up the best humidifiers for dry skin, below.


The Overall Best Humidifier For Large Rooms

Best for: Rooms from 430 to 861 square feet

The features: Thanks to its top-fill design, large tank that runs for up to 72 hours, and ability to produce both warm and cool mist, this humidifier is a great all-around pick that’d suit most homes. And one reviewer called it the “easiest to clean of all the humidifiers i've ever seen.” It’s also as quiet as 20 decibels, about the volume of a whisper, making it easy to sleep through. It also works with essential oils, has a timer, and features a humidity sensor.

According to a customer: “Dry skin is my enemy and this Humidifier takes care of that problem, one can put as much humidly in a room as you need and as a top fill one does not need to carry a full heavy container from the humidifier around anymore, love this humidifier.”


The Overall Best Humidifier For Medium-Size Rooms

Best for: Rooms up to 300 square feet

The features: With an easy-to-clean top-fill design with a large opening, this cool-mist humidifier is a great option for smaller and medium-size rooms. It features quiet operation one customer called “whisper quiet” and a tank that lasts for up to 36 hours. There’s adjustable mist settings and a nozzle you can rotate. While you don’t get a humidity sensor for this one, it does operate filter-free.

According to a customer: “We live in Denver which is DRY, all the time and we noticed our chapped lips, cracked skin and raw nostrils have greatly diminished the last 2 months since purchase. Also and unexpectedly, the unit evenly disperses the moisture, the wall closest to unit isn't wet or sticky, it's kinda of amazing. FYI: on HIGH, this unit sucks up a GALLON of water every 12 hours. That what makes the TOP FILL critically important. Instead of twice a day picking up the entire unit, unscrewing the cap and filling up the old fashioned way that includes dripping it every where to and from your sink.... now we just dump our water bottles in it every couple of hours.”


The Fan-Favorite, Budget-Friendly Humidifier

Best for: Rooms up to 250 square feet

The features: Pure Enrichment's ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier uses a 1.5-liter water tank that can operate for up to 16 hours of continuous use, making it a great option for overnight use in medium-size rooms. It also has an optional nightlight, high- or low-speed mist settings, and automatic shut-off feature once the tank is empty. This humidifier is also an ultrasonic model, meaning the mist won't make a lot of noise and disturb light sleepers. For all the quality features it offers, it's a steal at $40. No wonder more than 45,000 customers have given it a perfect five-star rating.

According to a customer: “I live in the northern US, so I'm used to dry, cold winters and the dry noses / skin that accompanies them. However, since using this product every night, I've noticed the cracks are healing and not coming back! [...] Even though the function is excellent, I'm also impressed by how silent the machine is. We put it in our bedroom, and I have no problem falling asleep.”


The Editor’s Pick

Best for: Rooms up to 600 square feet

The features: When it comes to humidifiers, BDG Associate Commerce Editor Cristina Sanza loves the convenience of this Vornado model: “This humidifier has helped my dry skin and sinuses so much during the cold winter months. I love that it automatically adjusts to my desired humidity level, and the water tank’s wide lid makes it so easy to fill and clean.” Other fans report that it’s quiet enough (especially on the lowest setting, which has been described by one person as “whisper quiet”), and it can operate for up to 24 hours on a single fill.

According to a customer: “I have noticed a significant improvement in how my skin feels. I've been using humidifiers for over 15 years and these are the best. I bought them because they are easy to fill and just hold a gallon, so they aren't heavy.”


A Humidifier For Large Rooms With A Remote

Best for: Spaces up to 753 square feet

The features: If you prefer a humidifier that offers both cool-mist and warm-mist options, look no further than this ultrasonic humidifier by Levoit. With a 1.5-gallon water tank (that's more than 5 liters, for reference) that can operate for us to 36 hours, it's also the best choice for large rooms.

It lets you choose between three different misting strengths on both the warm-mist and cool-mist settings, uses ultrasonic misting for a quiet operation, and includes a sleep timer and remote control for added convenience. This option even displays the current humidity level in the surrounding air and has an optional automatic mode that adjusts the mist levels based on the current humidity level. All of this is displayed on a sleek touch control panel. Choose between white or black.

According to a customer: “It keeps my room at a nice moisture level and I’ve noticed a difference with my skin and my sleep. I don’t find it at all loud when it’s on. The only thing loud about it is the chime when selecting settings.”


A Mini Humidifier & Diffuser For Desks, Nightstands & Travel

Best for: Smaller areas, or to bring with you while traveling.

The features: Urpower's cool-mist humidifier is a portable option that doubles as an aromatherapy diffuser. The compact sizing makes it ideal for use next to the bed or for travel, but won't last as long as other options or cover as much space. The 100-milliliter water tank can operate for up to three hours continuously.

With an optional LED light that lets you choose between seven different colors and two brightness levels for each, it can also act as a bedside night light. It features an auto shut-off feature and lets you opt for either a continuous misting mode, which emits mist nonstop, or an intermittent misting mode, which mists for 30 seconds and then pauses for 30 seconds. Even better, this mini humidifier is just $16.

According to a customer: “Perfect little humidifier. [...] I have it at my desk to alleviate the dryness from our way too stuffy, way too hot and dry office. My face used to get so dry my skin would start itching and burning by the end of the day!”


Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, Board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology

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