Humidity and Its Effects on Your Skin

Both high and low humidity levels can cause your skin to react in certain ways. If you, for instance, live in a place with too little of it, your skin can feel dry and may have a dull complexion. If you, on the other hand, live in a place with too much humidity, your skin may be prone to acne and rashes due to excess sebum production.

Continue reading to learn more about humidity and how it affects your skin, as well as the ways to protect your skin against low/high humidity. 

What exactly is humidity? 

Humidity refers to the amount or concentration of water vapor in the air. High levels are often related to higher temperatures and indicate a high concentration of water in the air. Low levels of humidity, on the other hand, are associated with lower temperatures and indicate a lack of moisture or water vapor in the atmosphere.

When humidity levels are high, the air usually feels wet or damp. This is because the air is filled with water vapor, making it harder for anything else to get in. When it’s humid, your skin can feel sticky and sweaty. You may, however, find it difficult to cool off, as the sweat can’t evaporate readily. 

Relative humidity or RH is an important term to know when talking about what humidity levels are ideal for the skin, particularly indoors vs outdoors. It refers to the percentage measurement or the amount of water vapor actually in the air, relative to the maximum amount of humidity the air can hold. 

How does humidity affect your skin?

One important thing to know before making changes in your skincare habits is to find out whether the place you’re living in has low or high humidity. Singapore, for instance,  has a typically tropical climate, which means that there is a high level of humidity all year round. The same can also be said for many cities or countries near the equator. 

High Humidity

With a high amount of moisture in the air, high humidity can sometimes do your skin a favor. Your skin won’t dry out, so you can expect it to be hydrated and supple. This can also have anti-aging effects, making lines and wrinkles less pronounced. The extra moisture in the air, furthermore, can increase cellular turnover, resulting in easy shedding of dead skin cells. This can make your skin brighter and more glowing.

High humidity, however, can also have negative effects on the skin. These include: 

  • Excess sebum or oil production – Warm and hot weather can cause the skin to produce more sebum that gets trapped on the skin surface. This can make the skin look oily and feel greasy.
  • May trigger breakouts – Excess sebum production means a  higher risk of getting your pores clogged, which can then lead to breakouts. You may also sweat a lot in humid environments, which is a good breeding ground for mold and bacteria. 
  • Can worsen allergies, asthma, and other skin conditions – As mold and dust mites thrive in high humid levels (particularly indoors), asthma and allergies are more likely to occur. 

Low Humidity

If you, on the other hand, live in a place with a cold, dry climate, you’re probably accustomed to low humidity levels. This may sound ideal for those with oily skin, but it is not always the case. Low humidity in cold and dry climates can also strip the skin of its natural moisture, causing the skin to become dry, red, or itchy. 

Other negative effects of low humidity include: 

  • Skin dryness – With a lack of water vapor in the air, the skin doesn’t get the moisture and hydration it needs. The skin can then become dry or in some cases, flaky and chapped. 
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells – As the skin isn’t moisturized properly, dead skin cells build up and aren’t shed easily. They can then clog your pores and hinder the proper absorption of essential ingredients in your skincare products.
  • Dull and older-looking skin – Dry skin can make existing lines and wrinkles deeper or more prominent. There is also a lack of suppleness, which can make your complexion look dull and older.
  • May exacerbate allergies and other skin conditions – As cold climates can dry out your skin and compromise its moisture barrier, you are likely to develop acne, as well as worsened allergy symptoms and other skin conditions like eczema. 

How to protect your skin against humidity? 

Making adjustments in your routine can help protect your skin against potential damage. Below are a few tips on protecting your skin against high and low humidity.

Tips for high humidity

  • Use a facial cleanser that can remove excess oil without stripping your skin.
  • Exfoliate at least once a week.
  • Use a light and gentle moisturizer.
  • Stop touching your face or picking/squeezing blemishes.
  • Shower or wash your face after a sweat session.
  • Consider using a dehumidifier.

Tips for low humidity

  • Use a rich moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.
  • Apply the moisturizer after showering or while your skin is still damp.
  • Stay hydrated; drink more water.
  • Exfoliate weekly.
  • Consider using an air humidifier. 

Regardless of the weather, make sure to always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. This is to protect your skin both from the harmful UV rays and extreme weather conditions. 

How Cutis Can Help

Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore provides a number of non-surgical anti-aging and skin rejuvenation procedures. We have medical-grade facials that can unclog your pores, nourish your skin, and provide anti-aging benefits. Our Hydra Dermabrasion (HydraFacial), for instance, gently exfoliates and hydrates the skin, as well as improves pigmentation, oily skin, and signs of aging. 

We also have our own Skin Care Line, Dr. Sylvia Skin Care, which features a medical grade collection that delivers multi-layer fortification. We have cleansers, toners, moisturizers, sunscreens, and serums that can give your skin the care and protection it deserves.

Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to learn more about our treatments and products.