In this day and age, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your skin looking and feeling great. But all the skin care products you try can only do so much if you’re in a polluted environment. We all know that air pollution smells bad, but did you also know that it can really do a number on your skin? When your skin is sallow and dirty all the time, it can’t look its best. So there are some things that you can try that can help to clean up the environments that you spend the majority of your time in, like the best VOC air purifier you can afford (VOC = Volatile Organic Compound) that gives you a much cleaner pocket of air to breathe.
Health and Air Pollution
Air pollution is made up of a variety of components. One major component is particles. These are most obvious as soot, dust, or dirt that you have to actually wash away. Then there are the things that you don’t see, like ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. When these different gasses combine with chemicals, car exhaust, water, and the particles already in the air, bad things can happen.
One of the biggest bad things that happens is that these combinations attack your immune system and you find that you feel sick more often. You might not get as much oxygen into your blood stream as you need, simply because the air you’re in doesn’t have room for oxygen, too. As you feel ickier, you are more sluggish and you aren’t likely to exercise as often or feel like eating right. You might start to develop allergies or have other health problems.
But your internal organs are only part of the story. The largest organ of your body is your skin, and it has significant problems with exposure to poor air quality. You can do many things to keep your skin healthy before you need a medical esthetician or other skin specialist.
Your Skin and Air Pollution
You know that some elements out in the world, like the sun, can harm your skin. It’s why most of us wear sunscreen regularly, so that our skin doesn’t experience all of the bad effects of too much exposure to the sun. But there are other elements that you encounter every day, both indoors and out, such as air quality. If you live in an urban area, you’re probably even more cognizant of how pollution and poor quality air make you feel. But did you know that it can affect how your skin looks and feels?
Some of the things in poor quality air that can affect your skin include:
- Toxic gas
- Car exhaust
- Dirt and dust
- Free radicals
The real question is, what does air pollution do to your skin? At a minimum, your skin tends to feel dirty more often, or even continuously dirty. That’s not something that’s just in your head, either, because your skin actually is a lot dirtier than it should be. It’s probably also a lot drier than it should be, and doesn’t respond like it should to moisturizers and other topical skin care products. You probably experience more clogged pores, and your skin might be irritated and inflamed. None of that is any fun at all.
Allergies and Your Skin
Skin allergies show themselves in a variety of different ways, but few of them are pretty or feel good. Any type of allergy or allergic reaction is a result of your immune system responding to some sort of trigger. When it comes to allergies resulting from bad air quality, any number of substances could be causing the reaction, so you might experience any of the three following problems.
- Hives – Hives are basically a rash that shows itself as red, itchy welts. They can show up in a small area of your skin or they can show up all over your body. Most cases of hives disappear within a few days or a few weeks, but sometimes you can be so allergic to a prevalent allergen that you end up breaking out in hives for months or even years. Antihistamines can help some people, but the best cure is to determine the cause of the hives and avoid it.
- Atopic Dermatitis – Atopic dermatitis is also called eczema. It’s an itchy condition that often comes hand in hand with food allergies, sinus allergies, and asthma. Scratching the itch typically causes bigger problems, including large wounds and scarring. Corticosteroid or antihistamine creams are common treatments, but as with hives, it’s best to figure out what causes the reaction and then stop exposing yourself to that trigger.
- Contact Dermatitis – Contact dermatitis literally means that when your skin comes into contact with a specific trigger, it reacts by causing a rash. Irritant contact dermatitis means that the trigger actually causes physical harm to your skin. It’s itchy, but it may hurt more than it itches. Chemical components often cause irritant contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis usually involves a blistery, itchy rash on the skin. This kind of dermatitis is usually the result of a plant allergy, such as poison ivy. Other irritants can cause allergic contact dermatitis, too, however, like some perfumes, latex, or cosmetics.
Self-care When Dealing with Poor Air Quality
One of the best things you can do for your overall health – and your skin’s health – when you live in an area that experiences a lot of pollution is to clean your skin religiously. Your mom told you to always clean your skin before you went to sleep, and she was onto something. By cleaning your skin daily, you help to remove dirt and debris on your skin before it migrates down and clogs your pores. Use high quality skin care products, but don’t stop there.
Eating a clean diet full of lean proteins and vegetables is also great for your skin and your overall health, particularly when you live in an environment that has dubious air quality. The nutrients you take in help your body to detoxify your organs and your skin, so putting in the best fuel possible just makes sense. Fruits and vegetables that have plenty of antioxidants are great choices. Using topical antioxidants, such as product lines that contain vitamins E and C are wonderful. These are available in spray format as well as serum format, so they’re easy to apply and to use. But skin care regimens from Clarins and Kiehl’s can only do so much for your skin. You need other tools to help you look and feel your healthy best.
Check out some high-quality spray and serum antioxidants
So What Can You Do About Air Quality?
You can’t do much to control air quality out in the big, bad world, but you can do something about air quality at home and sometimes at work. One of the easiest ways to do that is to use an air purifier. Air purifiers can remove dust, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and other allergens from the air before sending the air back out into the room. Some air purifiers even work to remove VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, from the air — unfortunately VOC air purifiers are expensive but when you factor the cost out over years that they are in service they are worthwhile investments. What’s more important than health and beauty?
Allergen Air Purifiers – Air purifiers that are designed to help with allergen reduction typically use a filtering system to remove both large and small particles from the air. Most often the type of filter used is a HEPA filter, which removes virtually all particles that are larger than .3 micrometers in size. HEPA filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly since a clogged filter cannot function effectively.
VOC Air Purifiers – VOC air purifiers use a combination of processes to remove particles and chemicals from the air. Activated carbon is one of the ways that a VOC air purifier can work, but there are other combinations as well. Usually these filters also have a HEPA filter installed to remove solid particles.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Air Purifiers – Ultraviolet air purifiers irradiate the air with UV lamps and forced air. The UV lamps are shielded, so they cannot cause any damage to skin, but the purifiers remove microorganisms, such as mold spores, and purify the air.
Ionizing Air Purifiers – Ionizers charge the electric plates or needles within the purifier itself and then send air past the charged pieces so that the air particles collect some of that charge, called ions. The ions interact with particles in the air, which then attach themselves to the electric plates or needles. Periodically the plates or needles need cleaning to remove the collected particles.
Ozone Air Purifiers – Ozone generators often work in large systems to create lots of ozone. Ozone is important in the air purification process because it can oxidize other chemicals and gasses. Most ozone air purifiers are commercial units that cleaning companies bring in to remove smoke odors after a fire or to remove musty, mildewy smells after flooding or other water damage.
Air Purifiers for Healthier Skin
Air purifiers are a great choice for giving yourself a healthier life, inside and out. When you’re breathing cleaner air your skin begins to respond right away. It isn’t having to work as hard to flush away toxins and nasty particles because you’re not ingesting nearly as many of them. Combined with a healthier diet and good skin care routines, you’re likely to notice a change in your skin’s tone and texture within a few short days. To keep the benefits going, it’s a good idea to maintain your air purifier exactly as the manufacturer recommends.
Best VOC Air Purifier
When you’re looking for a VOC air purifier, you want one that can do the job effectively, without leaving a lot of particles and chemicals in the air. The Austin Air Healthmate Plus is widely regarded by users as the best VOC air purifier that you can buy. The Healthmate Plus has a ton of features, including:
- A medical-grade HEPA filter
- Activated carbon and zeolite filter
- A prefilter
- Solid steel construction with a non-toxic powder coating
- Energy-efficient PSC motor
The entire unit is designed for you to run it continuously in your home or office, removing chemicals and particles that can harm your health quickly and quietly. The prefilter helps the HEPA filter to last longer, since it removes large particles before they can get to and clog up the HEPA filter. The zeolite and carbon filter works to remove all kinds of VOCs, including:
- Toxic chemicals
- Bad odors
The Healthmate Plus arrives ready to go, so there is no time-consuming setup. You also don’t have to worry about whether filters are installed correctly or not, since they’re already installed when you take the air purifier out of the box.
Get more information on the Healthmate Plus
Since plastic can give off chemicals for years after it is manufactured, the parts and pieces within the Healthmate Plus are made from solid steel. This helps to ensure that the purifier also lasts for years of continuous use, day and night. The energy-efficient motor means that even if you do run it 24 hours a day, you won’t see any significant jump in your electric bill. With a good VOC air purifier like the Healthmate you’ll have a healthier and better smelling environment.
Back to the Top
Best Air Purifier for Allergens
If allergens are a larger problem for you than VOCs, then you want the air purifier which we’ll review here. This system is designed to efficiently improve indoor air quality and to decrease reactions to all sorts of allergens, reducing the risk of both allergy and asthma attacks. The air purifier has one the Consumer Digest Best Buy award, so you know that it works the way the manufacturer says that it does.
The IQAir HealthPro Plus uses a HEPA filter to remove:
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Smoke and other odors
- Fine particles
Physically, the HealthPro Plus is a compact unit with a carrying handle so you can move it around wherever you need it most. It has an LCD control panel so you can operate it quickly and easily. The fan has 6 speeds and the filters remove easily for cleaning. The energy-efficient motor keeps the purifier running for only a few pennies a day.
A built-in Intelligent Filter Life Monitor calculates the actual lifespan of the filter so you know exactly when to change or to clean the filters. There’s no guessing like there can be with other types of allergen air purifiers. Also, you don’t have to worry about the HealthPro Plus putting VOCs into your environment. It’s made from high-grade ABS that doesn’t produce any chemicals.
In addition to winning the Consumers Digest Best Buy award multiple times, IQAir also partners with the American Lung Association. There’s no better way to know that the air purifier you’re using to fend off allergic and asthmatic reactions is going to help you significantly.
Take a closer look at the IQAir HealthPro Plus
Now that you know just what cleaner, healthier air can do for you – inside and out – it’s time to reap the benefits for yourself. Once your own air purifier is up and running, you’ll wonder just how you got along without it. And when your friends and family ask where you got that beautiful glow, you can pass along your tips and tricks for healthy, stunning skin.