Hello Houseplants, Goodbye Dry Skin?

I love Autumn just as much – if not more – than the next young, white, Instagram-dwelling female. Call me “basic”. I’m fair-haired, have very pale skin and too much sunlight gives me hives. No kidding, I literally get sun hives (read Polymorphic Light Eruption). Taking all that into consideration, I’m not a natural candidate for biggest summer lover. I adore the sunshine, camping, the wildlife, drinks in pub gardens, BBQs etc but I was definitely built with a colder climate in mind.

Leafing the Dream

STEP AWAY FROM THE THERMOSTAT

October has made its presence well and truly known by giving Britain a taste of the wet, windy and chilly – I’m looking at you, Storm Calum. I like to delay turning the heating on for as long as possible. However, this is pretty difficult considering our entire downstairs is hard flooring. Nothing some cosy slippers and a jumper can’t fix. Of course, the most significant reason I like to avoid using the central heating is the financial and environmental impact. For every unit we use, our energy provider buys renewable energy, which is something of a comfort. Sadly, they don’t have a similar reimbursement arrangement for my bank account. A lesser reason – but a reason nonetheless – I’d rather keep the radiators off is the effect has on my skin.

IT’S GETTING DRY IN HERE

Like my boiler, my skin is strictly combination. I am lucky in that I don’t tend to get noticeably dry skin, but I absolutely get tightness across my cheeks. This is markedly more prevalent when the weather is cold and every building I enter has the radiator on full blast. Most of the heating we use is very, very dry. It sucks the moisture out of the air, thus sucking the moisture from our skin. My skin doesn’t respond well to rich lotions or creams, so a thick, nighttime moisturiser won’t do the trick…unless the trick is causing a breakout. A humidifier can help, but not all of us can afford to fork out for one. Getting your recommended two litres of liquid – doesn’t just have to be water – will also have a positive effect, although I know a lot of people struggle with this.

If you're even the tiniest bit thirsty, you and your skin are already dehydrated.

HOUSEpLANTS TO THE RESCUE

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) recently commissioned a study into the benefits of houseplants, which has provided some interesting results. They discovered that transpiration – when plants lose water through their leaves – increases the moisture in the air, helping to combat dry skin. Chief horticultural scientist Dr Tijana Blanusa stated “houseplants may be a simple and affordable way to reduce air dryness indoors and alleviate symptoms of dry skin, while providing multiple other benefits – for human psyche and physical health.” Plus they look nice, so win-win.

WHICH PLANTS?

It’ll come as no surprise that the plants that scored the highest on the “skin saving” scale were those that needed the most watering. Sorry succulent lovers. Specific varieties that expelled the most water were the Peace Lily and Ivy. Now excuse me while I feel smug because I already have these in my living room and study, respectively. This is mostly due to their high transpiration rates and larger surface area. Dr Blanusa provided some more specific water measurements: “plants can lose as much as several hundred ml of water per m2 of leaf area. A plant like peace lily, about 50 cm tall and 30 cm wide, can transpire 100 ml of water and more in a day. That’s an equivalent of a small teacup.”

Plants like the Peace Lily and Ivy also absorb dust from the air. So, if you’re like me and suffer from a dust allergy, consider that another reason to get your plant on.

Peace Lily and Essential Reading

Until Next Time

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