Five tips for increasing the air quality in your home
It’s fall in much of the country, and that means cute jackets and hoodies, PSLs (if that’s your thing), and working from home with the windows open. Unfortunately, it also means winter is just around the corner and those windows are about to close— leaving you to bask in and breathe in stale air unless you intervene.
Poor air quality can have a serious negative impact on your skin. Pollutants such as smog, automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, and manufacturing byproducts can lead to fatigued skin, premature aging, and even brown spots. That’s why it’s important to always wear sunscreen and to consider anti-pollutant serums and creams if you live in an area with a lot of pollution. But there are pollutants in your home that can impact your skin quality, too. This can be anything from cleaning products and aerosols to the blue light from your computer screens.
Here are five tips for keeping the air in your home clean and clear, which will do the same for your skin in the process:
1. Purchase an air purifier
The easiest way to keep the air in your apartment clean is to invest in an air purifier. While they range significantly in price and sophistication, you can get an effective air purifier for less than $200 (largely dependent on the size of your home). One of the best ways to ensure it’s working is to put it on auto mode and check if it kicks into high gear when you blow out a candle or use a cleaning product; both of those every day activities change the air quality enough to merit some purification. Another thing to look out for when making your purchase is how expensive filters are and how often they’ll need to be replaced; they can add up!
2. Stock up on nature’s air purifiers: plants
While a bulky purifier plugged into the wall may be the most effective means of keeping your air clean, there are several houseplants that can accelerate air purifiers’ impact. Plants like English ivy and cornstalk dracaena (corn plants) naturally filter out toxins and release oxygen; spider plants even release excess oxygen at night to help you sleep more soundly. An added benefit of many air purifying plants is they are super easy to care for. However, many of them are toxic to children and pets so be on the lookout for that.
3. Invest in a cool-mist humidifier
Keeping air clean is important, but so is ensuring the humidity level is right. Most people experience dry air in the fall and winter, requiring a humidifier to achieve the optimal humidity level of 40% to 60%. If you live in a very humid climate, look into a dehumidifier. When investing in a humidifier, most experts recommend cool mist over warm mist; they’re generally more effective and safer if you have children. Also, opt for an evaporative humidifier over an ultrasonic humidifier; they are less messy and don’t over humidify a space. One word of caution: be sure to purchase a humidifier that’s easy to clean, and clean it regularly. After investing in cleaner air, you don’t mold and mildew mixing with that mist!
4. Keep your apartment clean
While it sounds intuitive that a clean apartment leads to better air quality and better skin, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind any time you clean. First, opt for organic products over those with harsh chemicals. Cleaning products can have a hugely negative impact on your skin and health, according to the EPA. Second, when doing your laundry don’t procrastinate on washing your sheets and towels regularly and the same goes for your bedspread and cloth curtains. Any fabric is capable of attracting dust and mites while, and that’s especially true of the pillowcases you sleep on.
5. Switch your devices to night mode
Finally, though it doesn’t have much to do with air quality, blue light is an environmental factor that can affect your skin. Blue light is emitted from our phones and other devices and emerging research finds that it may lead to skin damage. The best way to combat it (beyond reducing screen time) is to purchase a blue light cover for your phone and switch your devices to yellow light mode or night mode if it’s an option.
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.