Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

Air conditioning and skin health: Risks, remedies, and skincare tips

However, while it’s indispensable for comfort, prolonged exposure to air conditioning can have significant effects on your skin.

How’s the summer treating you? Feeling like you’re in a melting pot? Every summer seems like the worst one yet, only to be outdone by the next year’s heatwave.

With each passing year, the summers grow harsher, making air conditioning (AC) an essential part of modern life. Whether at home, in the office, or in public spaces, AC provides much- needed relief from the oppressive heat. However, while it’s indispensable for comfort, prolonged exposure to air conditioning can have significant effects on your skin.

So, let’s explore its impact on skincare, potential risks, and ways to counter them.

1. Dryness and Dehydration

AC units remove moisture from the air, leading to a decrease in humidity levels. As a result, your skin may become tight, flaky, and rough. It may also feel itchy and appear dull.

2. Increased Sensitivity

Dry skin is more prone to irritants and allergies. Many of my patients have noticed that the more time they spend in their AC homes and offices during the summer, the more prone they are to allergies, asthma attacks, increased acne, and bacterial infections.

3. Accelerated Aging

It’s a known fact that people who spend close to 12 hours in an air-conditioned environment tend to age faster. This is because the lack of moisture in the air can cause the skin to lose its plumpness and elasticity, leading to premature signs of ageing. Wrinkles and fine lines may appear more pronounced.

4. Exacerbation of Skin Conditions

People who are prone to autoimmune skin diseases like psoriasis or lichen planus will notice these problems flare up again due to prolonged exposure to an air-conditioned environment.

How to handle the side-effects

1. Hydration

Your skin health is the first indicator of your overall body’s health. Keep it hydrated by drinking water consistently throughout the day.

2. Humidifiers

Humidifiers help replenish moisture in the air, thereby reducing skin dryness. Place a humidifier in your home all night or in your office for a few hours to maintain optimal humidity levels. Another alternative is to keep an open pot filled with water in your room, as this helps maintain moisture levels to an extent.

3. Skincare Routine Adjustments

- Moisturisers: Use a rich, emollient moisturiser to lock in hydration; look for moisturisers with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

- Cleansers: Always opt for gentle and hydrating cleansers that ensure your skin’s natural oils aren’t stripped and stay intact.

-Sunscreen: Use a sunscreen even when you are indoors. If you’re near the windows, UV rays can penetrate glass and contribute to skin damage.

4. Diet and Lifestyle

Incorporate a lot of seasonal fruits and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins (especially A, C, and E) to promote skin health from within. Also, ensure you get adequate sleep so that your skin can repair and regenerate.

5. Burning Camphor

Burning camphor in your house is a good way to ensure that the moisture levels in your home are maintained.

6. Oxygen-Enhancing Plants

Having a few oxygen-enhancing plants like snake plant, aloe vera, etc., in rooms with AC installed is also a great way to maintain moisture levels.

Anti Skin Allergy Specialist & Consultant Dermatologist at

Max Hospital Saket, Delhi

The New Indian Express