Winter Dry Air Is Giving You Dehydrated Skin & Difficulty Breathing. Here's What To Do

December 3, 2020

dry airOver Thanksgiving break, I was able to get my first facial since the pandemic (yipeee!). I think getting a facial is such an intimate experience, almost like therapy. There’s that moment when the facialist covers your eyes with tissues and turns on the bright white light to examine your every pore; and then she turns the light off and tells you the condition of your skin, and it makes you feel so seen. (Someone else understands what I’ve been going through!) Usually the facialist can tell you what you’re doing right / wrong without ever having followed you around, and it’s a little like getting a consultation from an omniscient beauty goddess.

This time, my facialist diagnosed some pore blockage around my nose (guilty!) and complimented me on general great condition of my skin. But she gravely told me to watch out for dry air sucking out moisture from my skin. It took me off guard because I hydrate my skin religiously twice a day: by the time I’m through a toner, an essence, and a serum, plus eye cream and a few drops of facial oil to seal it all in, my skin is practically drenched. But it appeared that even this amount of hydration wasn’t enough for winter dry air.

More importantly, I have been waking up in the middle of the night due to dry sinuses and difficulty breathing. This let me know that something has to change. We may get a lot of rain here in Portland, but the air is extremely dry all year round. I love low-humidity, but that doesn’t mean my body does, too. Here’s what to do if you also get dehydrated skin and dry sinuses.

Unblock your sinuses before bed

A very high-functioning diplomat I know gave me this tip when he found out I’m a mouth breather.😩  (He prefaced this by saying, “this is the best advice I can give you for success in life—breathe through your nose and do planks.” I’ve been scared to open my mouth to breathe ever since.) Before bed, blow your nose while nodding your head forcefully up and down to help loosen out the mucus. Clearing your nasal passage this way gives you a good head start to a calm, easy (nose) breathing night.

Hot, steaming towel

This has beauty and nasal-passage benefits, you guys. Wash your face with your cleanser. Drench a towel in hot water, wring it, and drape it over your face to inhale moist air for about five minutes. Afterward, your pores will be open and your skin better able to absorb your serums, creams, and oils. For the same reason, I also like to take a hot shower or a hot bath before bed to help moisten my sinuses.

Drink more water

Both your skin and your sinuses, as well as other moist areas like your mouth and your vagina, require more water to stay hydrated in a dry climate. Here are some ways you can effortlessly up your water intake.

Neti pot or nasal spray

Many people associate a neti pot with spring allergies, but they’re a godsend during the winter months, too. You can use it to “irrigate” your nasal passage with a saline solution—here’s how. If you’re scared of pouring water into your nostril (same!), a nasal spray is a great, affordable option.

Diffuse essential oils

Soothing and anti-inflammatory essential oils, especially those containing menthol, can relieve the discomfort from dryness. Try diffusing lavender, peppermint, or lemon essential oils. We happen to be big fans of essential oil diffusers at PD—here’s how to use and maintain them.

Essential Oil Diffuser Blends to Melt Stress


Why did I wait until now to talk about humidifiers, the *obvious* solution? The truth is that I think they’re kind of unsightly, and I try my hardest not to bring in electronics into my home that don’t match my Parisian-bohemian decor. I know, I know. (I also don’t own a TV, so there!) But there are humidifiers nowadays that are discreet and, some might even say, cute. Note: If you do choose to get one, be sure to thoroughly clean it at least once a week to prevent mold growth.

This Homech Cool Mist Humidifier has a 5 star rating on Amazon out of 3,600 reviews. It’s $49.99 and (dare I say) cute.

Do you feel the effects of winter dry air in your area?

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Photo: Alexandru Zdrobau via Unsplash


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