Spending more time inside since COVID means constantly re-decorating our homes, and what better way to breathe some life into our spaces than with houseplants? While we’ve been reaping the mental benefits of our newly accumulated greenery, doctors say that these shelf-toppers are good for your skin, too.
According to Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, plants are natural humidifiers as they add water molecules into the air. “They do this through transpiration, much like respiration for us. It is their act of ‘breathing’ that releases the water molecules in the air. In effect, plants are nature’s moisturizers and will help keep the home air less dry, especially during the winter months when indoor heating can accelerate dryness and help flare eczematous skin conditions.”
Just like houseplants add moisture to our indoor environment, they also detoxify it. “When we are shut in during the winter months, the indoor air quality can be an issue,” says Dr. Honet. “Plants have the remarkable ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that many homes emit and trap inside. They’re like natural filters, reducing the effect of environmental damage.”
All plants have the power to help our skin, but there are select species in particular that doctors recommend. “The peace lily is known for its air-purifying qualities and responsiveness to being watered,” says Birmingham, AL dermatologist Corey Hartman, MD. “The ivy is another favorite for its high transpiration rates and large canopies. Ivy requires a lot of water to grow and therefore provides extra humidity.”
If you’re always on the go, Rochester, NY dermatologist Lesley Loss, MD recommends the snake plant: “It tolerates neglect, meaning you don’t have to water it very often!”
Choosing a houseplant may seem straightforward, but picking a species that corresponds with your lifestyle is crucial for reaping its benefits. If you’re unsure where to start, Horti, a plant subscription service, makes choosing the right plant that much easier, as it matches you with your perfect plant and ships it right to your door for only $18 per month.
The Skin-Care Difference
Incorporating houseplants into your environment may mean healthier skin, but are they a substitute for skin care altogether? Dr. Honet says no. “Although I don’t think there is any substitute to great skin-care, houseplants can only help your skin and are definitely a plus to creating a healthier indoor home environment. Having cleaner, more humidified, and more oxygenated air in a natural way is never something to take for granted. If we can easily achieve these positive qualities through having beautiful green, lush plants surrounding us in our homes, it is a definite health win-win all around.”