Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is the Winter inside heat getting to your skin?

As I said in my previous post, my cousin, who is a beautician has started a blog with very useful information about taking care of yourself, beauty tips etc. She recently did a post about taking care of dry, winter skin. It reminded me of some household tips that I've learned to help prevent dry skin and other winter problems. Hopefully, I can combine the two and keep my skin soft, all year long.

When we were in West Virginia, and Chloe was born, and it got cold for the winter, Our heat was running pretty much non stop. She started waking up at night but didn't seem hungry. She would want to nurse for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. Since I was also waking with a parched throat, I determined that the gas heat was drying her out and started running a humidifier in her room. It fixed the problem.

Now my mother-in-law is a sleuth for any obscure product that will result in a better well being. Sometimes, she hits the jackpot. For a couple of years, she has been monitoring the humidity in her home. So while we were there, we got to talking about the humidity issue and she gave me a gauge that measures the humidity in our house.

So, after chatting with Lynn and a little further internet research, this is what I discovered about humidity:

If you are waking up with a dry, parched throat, the humidity in your home is too low. The humidity should be somewhere between 30 and 50%. Anything below thirty is too dry and the ideal environment for sinus trouble and anything above 50% is too high, the ideal environment for mold and dust mite growth, also, causes of sinus problems. Ideal comfort level in the winter is 40-45%.

You can get a tool to measure the humidity in your home for around 5 dollars. Here is a link to ONE at Lowe's. Also, you know how the humidity being up in the summer makes it feel even warmer? The same pricipal applies here too. When I keep our humidity level around 40 percent, I can keep the thermostat set on 65 and we may have to put on a sweat shirt but we're not freezing. When I first started measuring it, the humidity was right at 30% and we were keeping the thermostat on 72.

Not only will upping the humidity in your home during the winter save your skin, it will also save on your utility bills!

Here's an easy little test you can do to see if the humidity in your home is low. Fix a glass of ice water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. If condensation doesn't build up on the glass then it's too dry. Now drink that glass of water to help your dry throat!

So what can you do to up the humidity in your home? The most obvious answer is humidifiers. If you have gas heat, I'm not sure if any other option will be powerful enough. It has been freezing here this week (literally) and even at 65 degrees our heat has been running a lot of the time. I have a humidifier in each of our bedrooms and it's still only been around 36-38%. But, on those milder days, here are some small things you can do..

Think about how moisture leaves your home and think about how you can keep it in.

*When taking a shower, leave the bathroom door open and don't turn on your exhaust fans.
*Turn the drying function off on your dishwasher and open it to let the dishes dry.
*Hang up wet clothes to dry.. The closer to your heating vents the better.
*after baths (if it is safe with children) leave the bathwater sitting in the tub.

I don't recommend you stop flushing the toilet but you get the general idea :).

I'd love to hear if these tips work for you!

And for those of you that could care less about my dry skin and came here for pictures. I'm working on getting all of the Christmas pictures into one gallery. If you were with us on Christmas and have pictures, I would be ever so grateful for your contributions.



Nellie the Great said...

There's also those attachments you can get for your dryer (if it's electric) to vent the moist air back into your home(minus the lint). Of course, that would depend on how well ventilated your laundry room is! :)

Jay said...

I'll try the glass trick today and see what's up. I wake up with a parched throat almost everyday... I thought it was b/c George sleeps with a box fan.

Hmmm, interesting. :)

Tina said...

Thanks for the information. It is amazing that you are writing about this issue. Last night I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-"love" and we were discussing how dry everyone's skin is and the use of humidifiers, etc. Thanks for the tip for the measurement tool at Lowes!

Are answer for the dryness, sinus and throat's because we live in Delaware...the #1 allergy capital of all the states!!

Tracy Campbell said...

I am getting one of those gauges this weekend! I did read about being careful with a humidifier. You must keep it clean, or else the bacteria and dirt that are in it will be put into the air. I will keep you updated.

Whitney said...

I have never thought about checking out humidity! Very interesting post! The comment about not flushing the toilet made my mind immediately flash back to the summer of the drought at Camp Wiregrass. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

I have a humidifier in my room (use it all the time once I switch the A/C over to heat). Even with that, the humidity in my bedroom is only 21% !! At work, the combo thermometer/hygrometer (whatever it's called) simply says "LO" -- so I'm humidifier + saline eye drops + saline nose drops + vaseline at the corners of my mouth (and copious amounts of lotion). This cold weather is wicked!
Glad you are doing better than me!

Sunny said...

Thanks for all of these tips. We have gas heat and Jack has had a humidifier in his room since his first winter. Now, it has been recommended that we get one for both Joshua and Abby Kate's rooms too. I will have to put these tips to use.

Sara-Beth said...

Have now added get humidifier to my to do list this weekend! Thanks for the tips- I was beginning to think I just needed to buy stock in lotion!

Brenda Collins said...

Thanks for sharing your cousin's blog. I love it and have now discovered exfoliating!!

Runnin' Mommy said...

Great advice! I have learned something new today! Thanks!