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Do Humidifiers Help Eczema?

Do Humidifiers Help Eczema?

If you or any of your loved ones are experiencing eczema you would for sure know how annoying that dry, itchy skin can be and how it becomes much worse during the winter. What makes eczema in winter worse is the lack of moisture in the air.

Can adding moisture to the air be your solution, do humidifiers help with eczema? These questions might be popping into your mind. In this blog, we will you understand how humidifiers can help manage your eczema symptoms.

What is Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)?

Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder that causes dry, itchy, and red rashes. It’s often made worse by environmental triggers like cold temperatures and dry air, as they can further dry out and irritate the skin.

What is the Cause of Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, though experts believe it’s a combination of genetics and the environment.

It’s well-known that eczema runs in families, especially those with other inflammatory conditions like asthma, allergies, and hay fever. Doctors theorize that this is because people with eczema genetically lack certain skin proteins that help keep the skin moisturized and protect it from irritants in the environment. These irritants, called triggers, can cause an eczema flare-up.

Eczema Triggers

Triggers can vary from person to person, but the most common include 

  • Scratchy fabrics like wool 
  • Fragrances
  • Harsh ingredients in detergents and skin care products
  • Food allergies
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Dry air
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dry skin

Can Dry Air Make Eczema Worse?

Have you noticed that your skin and lips get dry and can even crack in the winter? Winter air, or any dry air at all, can strip even the healthiest skin of necessary moisture.

Eczema makes it hard for skin to hold onto moisture, so any environment that additionally removes moisture can make the symptoms of eczema, like dryness, rashes, redness, weeping sores, inflammation, and bumps, even worse. That’s why people with eczema, especially children and babies, have more eczema flare-ups in the winter or when the air is particularly dry.

Do Humidifiers Help Eczema?

Using a humidifier can help keep the air moist and room from becoming too dry, which can, in turn, help soothe and moisturize eczema-prone skin and reduce flare-ups. You can also use a thermostat to keep your home at an even temperature, as both extreme heat and extreme cold can trigger a flare-up.

Precautions for Using a Humidifier for Eczema

Humidifiers are mostly safe to be used by every skin type, even sensitive eczema-prone skin. However, there are a few precautions that people with eczema need to take to prevent any complications.

  • Regularly clean your humidifier and get rid of the debris and scale to prevent mold build-up.
  • According to the National Eczema Association, try maintaining a humidity level in your house between 30 to 60%. It is the best humidity for people with eczema.
  •  Avoid using warm mist humidifiers; these are risky and cause accidents especially with children and pets.
  • It is important to use the right disinfectants to clean the humidifier, wrong ones can do more harm than good.
  • If you suspect your eczema gets worse when you use a humidifier, discontinue its use and consult your doctor about it.

Choosing the Right Humidifier

There are countless options of humidifiers to choose from but some can be more beneficial for eczema-prone skin than others. Some of the common types are

  • Central humidifiers target a large area just like your central heating and cooling system.
  • Console humidifiers target a large area but are smaller than the central ones and are placed in one location.
  • Portable humidifiers target smaller spaces, usually a room and can be taken from one place to another.

But which humidifier is best for eczema? The two types of humidifiers mostly recommended to help eczema are:

Cool mist humidifiers

These humidifiers vaporize water into the air but the temperature of the steam or moisture is cool. This moisture helps protect the skin from getting dry and may help with eczema symptoms.

Ultrasonic humidifiers

These use ultrasonic frequency vibrations to produce water mist. The mist helps moisturize the dry air and your skin. These are much quieter than the mist humidifiers.

Look for a humidifier that comes with built-in filters and is easy to clean.

Managing Eczema Symptoms

Beyond avoiding dry air and extreme temperatures, the right skincare regimen is key to relieving eczema symptoms and reducing flare-ups, especially in children.

Cleansing the Skin

  • Bathe your child once per day. 
  • Keep bath time to 10 minutes or less to keep from drying out the skin 
  • Be sure to use only warm water as hot water can also cause dryness 
  • Pat skin dry with a soft, clean towel.
  • Always cleanse eczema-prone skin with a gentle, non-soap cleanser. Many body washes and soaps on the market are made with harsh ingredients and fragrances that can dry out or irritate sensitive skin. 
  • Instead, use an eczema body wash like Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash. Pediatrician-developed for dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin, this gentle cleanser is made with 95% natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Oatmeal Extract, and Licorice Root Extract to soothe and moisturize the skin.

Keep it Moisturized

  • Moisturize skin with eczema cream immediately after bathing while the skin is still damp
  • Moisturize at least twice per day. 
  • Moisturize the skin every time after washing it.
  • Early and frequent moisturizing has been shown to protect the skin barrier and decrease eczema flare-ups, so be sure to apply a gentle cream from head to toe to seal in moisture and help protect the skin from other irritants.
  • Not just any cream will do. Use a baby eczema cream made without harsh dyes, fragrances, sulfates, and preservatives – like Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream for Eczema.


Eczema becomes worse during winter due to a lack of moisture in the air. A humidifier can help with redness, itching, and dryness associated with eczema. 

Humidifiers add moisture by blowing out evaporated mist into the air. A cool mist or ultrasonic humidifier is best for eczema. It might help with your eczema but it is important that you keep the humidifier clean at all times. A dirty humidifier can blow bacteria, molds, and viruses into the air which will make your eczema worse.

Along with the use of a humidifier follow a proper skincare routine that includes the use of an eczema cleanser and eczema cream on a daily basis to help relieve eczema itching, redness, and irritation.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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Can dry air make eczema worse?

Yes, eczema causes the skin to become dry. Dry air in the surroundings can further worsen eczema. So, it is essential to keep the skin moisturized.

Is it acceptable to use a humidifier around the clock?

Using the humidifier around the clock may sound like a good idea. However, too much moisture can harm the skin as it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. This can worsen eczema. So, it is essential to use a limited amount of humidifier.

Can humidifiers help with dry skin?

Yes, a Humidifier is used to keep the air moist. If you have dry skin, sleeping with a humidifier can help keep your skin hydrated during the night.

Is a humidifier dangerous?

It can be dangerous if not used properly. It is essential to keep the humidifier dry and clean and to use distilled water because humidifiers may emit certain microorganisms that may be harmful to people with asthma and allergies.

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