If you’re proactive about your skin’s health, you’re probably familiar with the seemingly endless list of threats to our skin that can cause premature aging--and you know which creams, serums, and sunscreen to wear to defend your skin. However, one particular threat to your skin’s health isn’t getting enough attention — and it’s sitting right in your home.
Skin Aging Basics
Our skin is affected by two types of aging: intrinsic aging--when our skin naturally loses its youthful fullness with the passing of time--and extrinsic aging. While we have no control over intrinsic aging, extrinsic aging occurs when either our lifestyle choices or our environment causes our skin to show signs of aging earlier than it should. Extrinsic aging is what we’re the most concerned with; it’s why we develop habits like wearing sunscreen, moisturizing, and eating healthy food--and why we should be paying attention to what’s in our air.
How Air Pollution Impacts Your Skin
We often take for granted that we’re surrounded by clean air since it’s—literally—out of sight, out of mind. But the truth is, the air in our homes can get pretty dirty—on average, it can be five times more polluted than outdoors. That’s because our air is filled with a variety of different factors that determine how healthy it is, from dust, to carbon dioxide, to its levels of humidity, to its most underestimated ingredient—chemicals.
Airborne Chemicals (VOCs) and Your Skin
The type of chemicals we’re specifically concerned with are called VOC’s: volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are much more common in the air we breathe than we realize—to the point where they are almost impossible to avoid—because they can be found in most of our household items.
Since we’re constantly in contact with air, it’s almost guaranteed that our skin is regularly subjected to chemicals. VOCs come in the form of small particles that can accumulate on our skin. As we walk around wearing these chemicals on our face, they begin to chew away at our skin’s collagen, and the protective skin barrier that helps us retain water weakens, which can cause wrinkles. There’s substantial evidence that chemicals in the air also cause inflammation on our skin, and is one of the primary causes for sun spots.
So what can we do to keep our skin healthy and avoid attacks from VOCs? While there are serums and creams that are dedicated to helping your skin combat against polluted air, it’s also very easy to keep the air in your home safe and healthy for your skin.
Tips & Quick Fixes:
1. Pay attention to how you clean!
We know that a majority of the trusted cleaning products we use to keep our home germ-free contain chemicals, but many of us assume they’re only dangerous if we accidentally swallow or make direct contact with them. The truth is, most common cleaning products contain VOCs that will linger in your air long after you’ve finished cleaning.
There are plenty of great alternatives to cleaning with chemicals–we broke down our favorites here.
2. Check your candles!
Burning candles and using air fresheners are effective at making our air smell fresh, but at a cost. When burned, scented candles release a cocktail of chemicals into the air, including benzene. The same is true for air fresheners, which are filed with phthalates, a chemical that is known to cause a variety of health problems.
To safely improve the smell of your home try pure essential oils or opening a few windows.
3. Check your furniture and paint!
If you’ve updated the look of your bedroom, living room, or nursery recently, there’s a high chance you accidentally added chemicals to your air. Fresh paint is especially notorious for adding chemicals to your air-VOCs will off-gas from newly painted walls and furniture for months. New furniture–especially pressed wood furniture–will also off-gas chemicals for a while.
If you’re going to paint your walls or furniture, opt for VOC-free paint, or seal your current paint with a non-toxic topcoat. Leftover cans of pain can also be a powerhouse for chemicals–remember to store them in a garage or well-ventilated room. If you’ve just bought new furniture, try to let it air outside for a while, or look into purchasing antiques in the future.
4. Be careful with heat!
If you cook on a gas stove or burn wood in a fireplace, chances are there are chemicals being pumped into your air.
Opening a few windows and running a fan while cooking will help keep the air fresh.
Know What's in Your Air
Don’t let anti-aging become a constant battle with your environment and lifestyle. Let your air help you age gracefully—and later, rather than sooner. The first place to start is with an indoor air quality monitor.
Awair monitors chemicals and toxins in your air and gives you the insight you need to take control of your health. To learn more about how Awair 2nd Edition can help you live healthier, follow the link below.