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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

How Air Pollution Affects Your Skin

Neil Moralee/flickr

The quality of the air around you has a surprising, potentially catastrophic effect on your complexion. Read on if you want to save your skin.

Though we often don’t think of it as such, the largest organ in the human body is the skin. Unlike interior organs, skin is constantly exposed to air, meaning it can be badly damaged by it.

Air Pollution and Your Skin

While the atmospheric conditions around us may not usually have an effect on our skin that we can actually feel, our outer layer is in fact deeply affected by air quality. According to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, exposure to chloroform on your skin is as toxic as inhaling it and the toxins on your dermis are much more harmful than we tend to assume.

Air Pollution Symptoms


Agustin Ruiz/flickr

Air pollution speeds up the body’s aging process by increasing the levels of free radicals in the skin. This generates wrinkles and a dulling of the skin’s natural glow. While everyone’s face wrinkles over time, air pollution can seriously intensify the speed of that process.

Smog and dirt are known to cause skin problems, but the air inside your home may be just as detrimental as the air outside—if not more. If you or your family are suffering from chronic acne, dry skin, rashes, or wrinkles, keep an eye out for the following culprits.

Dust

According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, studies suggest that exposure to dust may have a causal relationship with skin allergies. This common adversary of house-cleaners everywhere can be composed of many things, ranging from dead skin cells to fungal spores. In order to keep your skin healthy, make sure to wipe down dusty spots with a damp cloth.

Cleaning Products

While antibacterial cleansers may seem like a great way to keep your household germ-free, they might be doing more harm than good. Not only can they irritate your skin, but some leave behind a layer of triclosan—a skin-absorbable chemical that can cause liver damage. Look for “green” cleaners in your local grocery store as an alternative.

Air Fresheners

They may make the air in your home smell clean, but they’re actually doing more harm than good. Most air fresheners contain a slew of chemicals such as Paradichlorobenzene—a leading cause of skin lesions. Ditch these potentially toxic products to improve the quality of your skin.

Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Staying inside doesn’t automatically mean you’re safe from damaging sunrays. One study suggests that energy-efficient light bulbs may lead to overexposure to UV discharges. Instead, invite natural light into your room by opening the blinds.

Save Your Skin

There’s only one sure-fire way keep your home pollutant-free—buying yourself a good air purifier.

There are two types of air purifiers on the market: HEPA (High Efficient Particulate Air) purifiers and Ionic purifiers. HEPA purifiers trap 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns, and unlike Ionic purifiers, they have no ozone emissions, which can cause serious lung problems.

If you’re looking for an efficient and reliable HEPA air purifier, head over to Rabbit Air. Not only are their air purifiers reasonably-priced, but the brand has received stellar reviews from publications that range from GQ to the Wall Street Journal.

Retain that youthful glow for as long as you can—check out Rabbit Air to protect your skin from air pollution.

Josh Couvares is a writer living in New York City interested in helping people everywhere live as pollutant-free as possible.

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Be Aware of Indoor Air Quality

Air pollution affects more than just outdoor air; dirty air can be inside every building you walk into, including your home and workplace. If there is a pollution alert outside, you might decide to stay inside to remain safe. This, unfortunately, doesn’t always help. In fact, your indoor air may be even more polluted than what you’re breathing outside.

What’s In the Air?
Outside, smog, haze, or smog hangs in the atmosphere. If there’s been a fire nearby, there might be smoke dirtying up the environment. Factories near you might be belching out all sorts of irritating pollutants and particulates. Inside your home or office, it’s likely that you’re breathing in harmful substances, too, such as:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Fire-retardants
  • Lead
  • Radon
  • Chemicals
  • Fragrances
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Asbestos

How do all these indoor pollutants enter your space? They appear in multiple ways. For example, that new pseudo-leather sofa with its odd smell is releasing chemicals as it settles in. So is the laminate flooring you just had installed in your den. If you have dogs or cats, you already know where the pet dander originated. Your cleaning products also impact your environment, as most conventional cleansers get rid of grime through chemical concoctions.

Ventilation and Other Factors
There are multiple factors that magnify the effects of poor indoor air quality, also referred to as IAQ. Some of them you have more control over than others, for example:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Remodeling dust
  • Humidity levels
  • Leaks from roofs or plumbing

A poorly ventilated building is a surefire recipe for IAQ, as the healthiest spaces are those with free-flowing outdoor air. Remodeling jobs that involve drywall or lumber generate an amazing amount of microscopic dust particles that coat every surface and are inhaled as a matter of course. Low and high humidity levels impact air quality and leaks often lead to mildew and mold.

Modern Times Are Worse for IAQ
Indoor air has become more of a problem in modern times. This is because of several factors.

  • Central Air Conditioning and Heating: Today, our homes and offices have climate control systems that require closed windows and doors.
  • Chemical Cleansers: Many of the cleaning products we buy in the store are laden with harmful chemicals. If you want a spotless carpet or shiny faucet, you usually apply a squirt or sprinkle of air contaminants to accomplish your task.
  • Interior Decorating: More furnishings and flooring products are man-made from artificial materials than in yesteryear. For example, instead of having hardwood floors, homeowners install laminate reproductions. Polyester and plastic have taken the place of cotton and wood.
  • Time Indoors: People spend much more time indoors than they did in the past. This is true of workers on the job, school children in classrooms rather than on the playground, and family life in general (kids playing video games instead of freeze-tag, parents watching TV instead of taking walks).

Health Effects
When humans spend long hours inhaling polluted air, their health is adversely impacted. Many maladies and conditions are directly linked to IAQ, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Eye, nose, lungs, throat irritation

What Can You Do About It?
Happily, there are steps that you can take to improve the quality of your air. To start with, be more aware of what you bring into your home or office building. Here are some actions that can change the IAQ of your interior world:

  • Clean Your Vents: Cleaning the ventilation ductwork of your HVAC systems can make a substantial difference.
  • Open Your Windows and Doors: It’s a wise idea to open up your house or office building to the outside world to invite some fresh air in.
  • Use an Air Purifier: These units draw in dirty air and trap contaminates in a filter.
  • Read Labels: Take some time to read the labels on cleansers and furnishings that you bring into your home or work environment.
  • HEPA Vacuum: You can suck up allergen concentrations in your house by vacuuming with a machine that has a HEPA filter. You can even remove lead and other toxins with this type of vacuum cleaner, especially one with a rotating brush and powerful suction.
  • Mop with Water Only: After vacuuming, mop with plain water. Skip the detergents and just wash your floors with good old H2O.
  • Take Your Shoes Off: A helpful household custom is removing your shoes at the door. This keeps outdoor pollutants out of your household.

Be Mindful
Clean air is one of the things that all living beings need to live healthy lives. You don’t have to shrug your shoulders and accept poor IAQ as a phenomenon of modern existence. By making a few lifestyle changes and being mindful of what you inhale, you can help to improve your health.

Let us help you choose the correct air purifier for your needs. Our knowledgeable, friendly and honest customer service representatives are available to you 24 hours a day. Just contact us or call 888.866.8862.

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10 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Do you suffer from allergies or some type of respiratory condition? Does your home always seem to have stale air and bad odors? The air inside of your home could be the cause, exacerbating your symptoms and making your home a less comfortable place to enjoy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the majority of Americans spend most of their time inside of their homes. In many cases, the air quality outside of the home is significantly better than the air inside. Use these 10 tips to improve your health and the quality of air you breathe inside of your home each day.

 Get an Air Quality Analysis
The first step to achieving clean air inside of your home is to get an air analysis. An air analysis will help to identify the pollutants in the air, so that you can make a better decision about how to keep it clean. You can purchase a kit to test the air yourself or you can get a professional consultation. If you decide to do your own testing, be sure to purchase a kit that detects the most common air quality offenders, such as mold, radon, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and humidity.

 

Change the Air Filters
Change the air filters in your home several times a year, preferably at the start of each season. Make sure there are not any gaps or loose edges when fitting the air filters into place. They should be snug and secure. When changing the filters, inspect them for dirt. If your filters are not getting dirty, then there is a high probability of ventilation problems within your HVAC system. Have your furnace, air conditioners, and all ductwork inspected for any leaks and problems.

 

Increase Air Circulation
To get rid of any musty and stale air odors, increase the circulation of fresh air inside of your home. Open your windows and doors on dry days to allow fresh air inside. Check the pollen index to ensure that the days you choose to air out your home are low pollen days, so that you do not invite these tiny allergens inside. You can also increase the air circulation in your home with an in-home air filtration unit.

 

Use Air Purifiers
The use of an air purifier can significantly improve the air quality in the home. Air purifiers use a special type of air filtration system to remove more contaminants from the air than a traditional filtration unit. If you have an influx of odor in the home, you will want an air purifier that not only has a true HEPA filter to capture particles but one that also has a charcoal based activated carbon filter to adsorb those pesky smells and any airborne chemicals.

 

Add Houseplants
Use houseplants to spruce up your décor and improve the quality of your air at the same time. Plants are natural air purifiers and placing one in each room will greatly reduce the amount carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and other pollutants inside of your home. Consider plants that do not need to be watered too often, for easier care and to avoid overwatering. Over watering your plants can lead to an increase in humidity, bacteria, and mold growth. Popular household plants that improve air quality include the aloe plant, spider plant, and snake plant.

 

Reduce Humidity and Moisture
Many household toxins such as mold, dust mites, pollen, and bacteria thrive when there is a great deal of humidity in the home. Use dehumidifiers and your air conditioner to reduce the humidity in the air. Check the roof and the plumbing in your home for leaks. Insulate the pipes in your home to reduce condensation and prevent leaks. Check and clean your dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and other appliances on a regular basis to prevent moisture from accumulating. Eliminate all sources of standing water to prevent bacteria, mold, and other humidity loving contaminants from affecting the quality of air inside of your home. Don’t forget to use the exhaust fan each time you take a hot shower or bath to reduce steam and humidity in the air.

 

Use Nontoxic and Eco-Friendly Household Cleaners
Many chemical household cleaners have solvents that can be harsh and toxic to one’s health. These same cleaners can also pollute the air and water in your home. Use nontoxic and eco-friendly cleaning solutions to keep the air in your home contaminate free. Open the windows and increase air circulation when you are using any cleaning solutions in the home to protect your health.

 

Cleaning Carpets and Hardwood Floors
Homes that have carpet are more likely to have air quality issues than homes that have hardwood floors. Keep carpet dry at all times and clean up any spills right away. Vacuum carpet with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter each week to increase the amount of contaminants that are removed from the carpet. Sweep hardwood floors several times a week to keep them clean. Mop the floors at least once a week to remove any dust, dirt, and other debris that was left behind from sweeping. In the case of water damage, dry all affected hardwood flooring within 48 hours and carpet within 24 hours to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Replace any damaged flooring as soon as possible.

 

Ventilation for Appliances
Check the ventilation on your appliances (furnace, water heater, dryer, stove, etc.). Make sure that all vents are properly connected to the outside of your home. Clean the vents regularly so that they are free from excess dust and any obstructions. Have all appliances regularly serviced and cleaned to ensure optimal efficiency and to prevent dust, particle, and other buildup that can circulate in the air inside of your home. Unvented appliances such as space and kerosene heaters should only be used in room with open space and a fair amount of air circulation.

 

Get Rid of Odors
Avoid smoking inside of the home. Cigarette and tobacco smoke contain high concentrations of indoor pollutants that can adversely affect the quality of air in your home and your health. To freshen the air inside of your home, skip the commercial air fresheners and simply simmer a pot of water and a few spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, or vanilla to make your home smell good. You can also use essential oils and diffusers to keep odors out of the air, and of course use a Rabbit Air purifier to remove odors.

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Controlling Winter Allergies

WinterWhen we think of allergy season, the image brought to mind is often of flowing plants and pollen or the dry leaves of fall.  Yet allergies can happen all year round, even during the months of winter. Often winter allergies get mistaken for being cold or flu symptoms and do not get properly treated, making sufferers go longer without relief.   Here are a few tips on how to reduce allergies during the winter.

Control Humidity at Home
Cold winter months means that we spend more time indoors, thus making our homes warmer and more comfortable.  Make sure to check water heaters and pipes regularly for signs of leaks, and if you cannot resist the urge to warm up with long baths or showers, be certain to run fans and ventilate the room once you are done so that mold does not have a chance to grow.

Decorate Without Dust
While it might be easier to pull last year’s tinsel and lights from their boxes and straight onto the tree, doing so might introduce a lot of unwanted dust into your home.  Unpack boxes away from carpet and upholstered furniture, and make sure to give everything a good dusting before putting it festively on display.

Beware of Guests Bringing in Pollen Along with Presents
Although many guests will be courteous and wipe their shoes before entering a home, the truth is that we bring pollen, dust, and pollutants inside on more than just our feet.  Our hair and clothes can pick up these tiny pollutants and transfer them inside.  Allergy sufferers are often advised to shower and put on a clean change of clothes after coming home, but when guests come to call, this is not an option.  Instead, if you have lots of family and friends coming to celebrate, make sure to clean more than usual by vacuuming carpets and upholstery, cleaning sheets frequently, and capturing any pollen that escapes by running an air purifier with a true HEPA filter.

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