Safety & Care

Heaters are bad for Your Skin: Myth or Fact?

While you enjoy the warmth of your home with home heaters, remember heaters can also give rise to some problems. Your skin could suffer from an overuse of heaters. Looking at the mechanism of operation of heaters – it causes drying of air moisture inside your home. Dry air can cause roughness of the skin, especially if your skin is the sensitive type. This could cause itching and redness of your skin. The problem with the use of heaters is magnified if you have a baby in your home. How? The skin of a baby is very delicate and sensitive. Dry air not only results in itching and redness of a baby’s skin, but it could also affect the nasal passage and could give rise to skin rashes, nosebleeds, and infection.

Heat from heaters constitutes one of the sources of heat stress, according to Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances, Physical Agents, and Biological Exposure Indices. Heaters could cause heat stress which results when the body finds it difficult to deal with the heat overload. This could lead to a variety of severe and fatal conditions.

Mechanisms of Body’s Temperature Control

Your body’s internal temperature is maintained at 37 °C, variations of less or equal to 10 °C can take place depending on the time of the day, emotional state or physical activity. Change in body’s temperature of more than 10 °C occurs in times of sickness or when the weather conditions overwhelm the body’s temperature control mechanisms. Your body’s internal temperature is maintained in hot conditions by increased blood circulation to the skin and by heat loss through increased sweat production. Balance is therefore maintained between the rate at which your body gains heat from the heater/hot environment and the rate of heat loss through sweat. What happens when an imbalance is created? When the rate at which your body gains heat exceeds the rate of heat loss, an imbalance occurs. This could lead to many medical conditions.

Heaters Warm the Skin through Radiation and Convection

Radiation and Convection are the two primary processes by which your body gains heat from heaters. In radiation, your body gains heat from the surrounding objects without contact with them; while in convection, your body gains heat from the immediate hot air. No heat gain/loss occurs when the temperature of the surrounding object or air is the same with that of your skin. However, when you use heaters, your body usually gains heat because the temperature of heaters is set above the normal body temperature.

Convective Heat Exchange Increases the Temperature Difference between Your Skin and the Surrounding

When there’s a big margin between your body temperature and the air surrounding you, convective heat exchange increases. This is where the use of heaters could be harmful to your skin.

Excessive Heat Exposure Affects Your Body

The immediate effects you will experience due to extreme heat exposure from heaters are lack of concentration, reduced performance of physical activity or works involving mental task, and irritability.

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