Say No To Heaters In Cars

By Minji

  • When in an isolated environment like a car, using the heater can quickly dry out the air around you
  • This can suck out moisture from your skin which is bad for overall skin health
  • Instead, keep a blanket in the car and use the heater sparingly - never aiming it towards your face! 

I used to have an hour long commute every day for close to five years.  This was when I lived in Seoul and worked as a TV news reporter.  I hated it but there's really no choice when your dream job is to be a TV news reporter, there are three stations total in your country, and they all are at least an hour away from where you live.  Yes - I started working in the 90s and fondly remember covering Y2K issues and the 2002 Seoul World Cup!

My best friend during these commutes was the good old radio.  I know these days we have fancy podcasts and audio books, but back then, it really was either the radio or a CD.  Do you still listen to the radio? If so, do you have those moments where you hear something totally random on air but it sticks with you … for days, for years… for life?  I’ve had one of those moments and it related to a famous Korean actress talking about how she refuses to turn on heaters in cars.

In case you're unfamiliar, it gets pretty cold in Seoul during the winter - we have snow, wind, below freezing temperatures, the whole shebang.  Despite all that, this actress, well into her late 40s at the time with supple skin, was telling everyone that she never uses the heater in cars, even during the coldest winter days…all for the health of her skin.  When you’re trapped in an isolated environment like a car and crank up the heat, the air can become extremely dry and suck out all the moisture from your skin.  Similar to a healthy dog’s nose, skin needs to be well-hydrated in order to be healthy and glowful. 

It’s a different story when you’re at home.  You can utilize a humidifier to combat some of the drying effects that come from heaters.  But when you’re trapped in a car and crank up the heat…you might as well be sitting in a low temperature oven slowly slowly becoming jerkified…this is actually the recipe to making jerky, right?  I once had a Korean medicine doctor tell me that aging could be compared to the process of turning fresh meat into jerky.  Over a long period of time, you keep drying the skin out and before you know it, your skin that once looked like a handsome juicy steak now looks more like that dried out chunk of meat in your favorite jerky bag…not sure what I really think of this analogy, but the point is, for healthy radiant skin always, you need to stop drying out your skin.

So I never turn the heater on in my car.  Instead, I keep a blanket (or two) that I can put over my knees, crank up the radio to distract myself…and otherwise just grin and bear it.  I know this sounds painful (I’m sure especially for you lovely ladies who live in Chicago!), but as much as you can, try to be mindful of your use of heaters in your car.  When you really need it, maybe turn it on…but then maybe switch it off to give your skin a bit of reprieve from the harsh dry heat.  Also make sure to never aim the air at your face – if you must, aim it down towards your feet at least.  It’s like the ice-cold finish…it’s not easy at first, but it's certainly a beneficial habit to cultivate for healthy skin…and it gets easier the more you practice!