4 Ways Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Skin

You avoid harsh chemicals and take time to cleanse, tone, and moisturize your skin daily. You’re sure you’re doing everything right. But perhaps you didn’t realize that poor indoor air quality might be wreaking havoc with your skin.

It Causes Problem Skin Conditions

Image via Flickr by SodanieChea

Do you have dry skin? Is your face irritated? Are you breaking out in rashes? You might blame the cold weather, your problem skin, or something you ate. But in truth, poor indoor air quality could be the culprit.

Some indoor air pollutants can cause all these skin problems. Creosote from stoves and fireplaces, particles released from pressed-wood products, and minute fragments from foam insulation are some of the worst offenders.

It Ages Your Skin

Air pollutants remove oxygen from your skin cells, leaving your skin looking saggy, dull, and old before its time. Pollutants also put more free radicals into the atmosphere. Free radicals are molecules and atoms that react with other cellular structures, as they have unpaired electrons. When they react with your skin, it’s not pretty. They decrease your collagen production. Without collagen, your skin doesn’t have the same fullness or elasticity it used to. This makes your skin seem rougher and causes the formation of fine lines that age you.

It Can Change the Color of Your Skin

It might sound far-fetched, but a type of indoor air pollutant called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can actually make your skin darker. These pollutants are some of the most common organic pollutants. Inside, you’ll find them when you light a fireplace or smoke a cigarette.

It Can Cause Cancers

A little tan might not seem like a big deal, but it’s what else PAHs can do to your skin that’s truly scary. Scientists have linked exposure to PAHs to the development of skin cancers, along with cancers of the lung, bladder, liver, and stomach. So far academics have only observed these effects in mice, but their findings should be enough to convince you of the damage these common indoor pollutants can do.

Improve Air Quality

Knowing the damage poor indoor air quality can cause, you probably want to improve the conditions inside your home. You can boost indoor air quality in a number of ways.

For example, you don’t like using harsh chemicals on your skin, so why would you used them in your home? Choose natural cleaners and laundry products, color your interior with nontoxic paints, and decorate with low-VOC and formaldehyde-free furniture.

Houseplants can also improve air quality by absorbing contaminants like benzene and formaldehyde from the atmosphere and boosting oxygen levels. Spider plants, peace lilies, and weeping figs are some of the most effective natural air filters.

Keeping your house clean, using damp cleaning methods to eliminate dust, and regularly laundering all soft furnishings and linens, can also improve air quality.

It’s scary to discover that indoor air quality can diminish the quality of your skin. However, there are some easy solutions to improve the air quality inside your home. Your lungs and skin will thank you!


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