4 Brands that Protect and Nurture Your Skin at Home
Maintaining and monitoring healthy indoor air quality is key to protecting skin. Purchasing safe, hypoallergenic homewares and using gentle personal care products are also equally essential to protecting the health of one’s skin. As thousands of us decide to continue working remotely, investing in supportive home environments will become even more important. In previous articles on Living Deep’s Into the Deep blog, we have already discussed the significance of indoor air quality. We also reviewed the necessity of gentle yet effective lighting. Furthermore, we outlined the role safe home fragrance and cleaning materials have on home and human health. In this article, we will further delve into the effects one’s home environment has on their health and happiness. We will focus on the body’s biggest organ -- the skin. Follow below for four homeware and personal care brands that protect and nurture your skin at home. These include uHoo, Molekule, Biophile and Avocado -- all of which contribute to healthier homes and healthier skin.
How Indoor Environments Affect the Health and Appearance of Skin
Effects of Poor or Harsh Lighting
Many of us focus on the damaging effects the outdoors have on our skin. We acknowledge the negative impact of outdoor air pollution. We also recognize the hyperpigmentation and texture issues caused by sun exposure and the itchiness and redness caused by allergens. However, we often ignore the effects of the indoor environments in which we spend most of our time. Few of us are aware of the alarming havoc poor indoor environments wreak on our skin. For instance, some indoor lighting -- particularly fluorescent light -- can cause hyperpigmentation across the face. Light pollution can be incredibly damaging to skin -- from UV exposure to that of blue light and fluorescent bulbs. Constant exposure to blue light -- that which emanates from our laptop and monitor screens -- reduces skin quality. It might cause collagen breakdown and affect our sleep, the latter of which can harm skin just as much as the former.
Blue light exposure is beneficial in other ways -- particularly in boosting mood and supporting productivity. However, it does appear to harm skin when exposure is excessive. Macaela MacKenzie, Leah Prinzivalli and Paige Stables explain in their article “How Your Phone's Blue Light Could Be Damaging Your Skin” for Allure. Quoting Shari Marchbein -- dermatologist and assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine -- MacKenzie, Prinzivalli and Stables write that blue light ages skin prematurely. Marchbein notes that “blue light ‘contributes to brown spots on the skin and hyperpigmentation such as melasma.’” It may also contribute to “‘photoaging and the breakdown of collagen, which leads to wrinkles and skin laxity.’” In addition to light pollution, other aspects of our indoor environments can cause damage to skin and other organs. Unfortunately, indoor air can contain just as many -- if not more -- pollutants, allergens and irritants as outdoor air.
Damaging Impact of Poor IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
In fact, poor IAQ is associated with a number of health problems, as explained in the EPA brief “Introduction to Indoor Air Quality.” The brief describes potential short-term consequences of exposure to poor IAQ as “irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.” Repeated exposure can lead to long-term issues like “some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, [which] can be severely debilitating or fatal.” The pollutants, irritants and allergens found indoors may include “asbestos, biological pollutants, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde." Others are "lead, nitrogen dioxide, pesticides, radon and indoor particulate matter." Lastly, one might encounter "secondhand smoke [and] volatile organic compounds.”
Many of these chemicals can cause skin irritation, block pores, create or exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles, cause acne and/or add to hyperpigmentation. Wendy Roberts MD, FAAD elaborates in her entry “Air Pollution and Skin Disorders” for the International Journal of Women's Dermatology. Dr. Roberts writes that “acne, hyperpigmentation, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis have been shown to be influenced by air pollution.” Thus, poor indoor air quality can cause just as many issues for the body -- particularly the skin -- as poor outdoor air quality. Protecting one’s skin by limiting the concentration of pollutants, irritants and allergens within one’s home is vital. In fact, it could be just as vital as any other step in one’s skincare routine.
Dispelling the Myth that Air Pollution Only Occurs Outdoors: Particulate Matter
Particulate matter and VOCs are both major players in indoor air pollution and its negative impacts on the quality of skin. For those unfamiliar, GreenFacts defines particulate matter as “the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air many of which are hazardous.” Experts break PMs into several categories based on the size of each particle of matter. They may also be categorized by origin and hazard level. While we can see some -- such as ash and dirt -- others are indiscernible by the human eye. According to GreenFacts, the “complex mixture” that makes up particulate matter “includes both organic and inorganic particles." These particles include "dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.” Biological irritants like mold, mildew, pet dander, pests and frass -- which are also considered particulate matter -- can also cause skin dysfunction. This is particularly so if one is sensitive or allergic. Reactions to these types of PMs can cause inflammation, redness and skin tenderness.
VOCs, on the other hand, behave much differently. They are defined by the EPA as “compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility.” They easily convert from solid or liquid to gas at room temperature. This trait of VOCs is what makes them “volatile.” Most concerning of all -- particularly for those of us now working remotely from home -- “concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors” and are “emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.” According to the EPA, VOCs “are widely used as ingredients in household products” and are difficult -- but not impossible -- to avoid. Examples of products in which you might find VOCs in the home include “paints and lacquers, paint strippers and cleaning supplies." One may even find them in some personal care products like fragrances and makeup.
Effects of VOCs and Other Indoor Air Pollution on Skin
Researchers Irini M. Dijkhoff, et al.explain the “impact of airborne particulate matter on skin” in the Journal of Particle and Fibre Toxicology. The team of researchers notes that “particulate matter was shown to induce a skin barrier dysfunction." PMs "provoke the formation of reactive oxygen species through direct and indirect mechanisms.” This led to “to oxidative stress and induced activation of the inflammatory cascade in human skin.” In layman’s terms, exposure to particulate matter harmed the skin’s ability to reject pollutants and caused inflammation to occur in response to irritants. The researchers continue on to note that “a positive correlation...between extrinsic aging and atopic eczema relative risk with increasing particulate matter exposure.”
In her article “When skin’s defense against pollution fails” for Nature, Elizabeth Svoboda explains how repeated exposure to indoor air pollution affects skin. Quoting dermatologist Jean Krutmann, Svoboda writes that “people exposed to common air pollutants have higher rates of chronic skin inflammation." They may also have "more age spots than do those who live in cleaner areas.” Svoboda continues to note that the porous nature of skin "makes skin vulnerable to assault by chemicals in the environment.” Some pollutants pass under the skin’s protective barriers more easily than others. Elizabeth Einstein explains in her article “How Pollution Is Affecting Your Skin—And How to Fix It” for Self. Einstein explains that “small pollutants...enter pores in the skin like pebbles dropping into a cup." Other pollutants "easily pass through the fat-filled spaces between skin cells...where they can cause widespread effects.” She quotes Doris Day, M.D., “clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center” later on. Dr. Day notes that “‘pollution can cause uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer.’”
4 Eco-Friendly Homeware and Sustainable Personal Care Brands that Protect and Nurture Your Skin at Home
Smart tech company uHoo is the first of four Living Deep brands that protect and nurture your skin at home. As discussed above, poor indoor air quality can cause irreversible damage to one’s skin. Home tech company uHoo created the uHoo Smart Indoor Air Quality Sensor for Home to help users identify pollutants in their home. This knowledge aids users in correcting issues that may affect their sleep, the quality of their skin and their overall health. According to uHoo’s designer statement on the Living Deep website, “uHoo's mission it to help you monitor and manage your air quality." In doing so, they hope "to reduce deaths and improve lives, health and well-being globally.” The brand uHoo helps users make sure the air quality within their homes is safe and supportive rather than dangerous or toxic.
Products like uHoo’s Smart Indoor Air Quality Sensor for Home are much-needed across the world, particularly in areas plagued by extreme pollution. The WHO reported that “air pollution is responsible for an estimated 6.5 million deaths annually, or one in nine premature deaths every year.” In “Air Pollution,” the WHO noted “3.8 million deaths every year [occur due to] household exposure to smoke from dirty cook-stoves and fuels.” Sadly, “91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.” These makes finding ways to measure and correct indoor air pollution incredibly necessary for preserving human health.
uHoo’s Quest to Protect People Against Preventable Illness
Aloysius Low writes about uHoo in the CNET article “CES 2019: uHoo's indoor air sensor helps track how clean your air is.” Low notes that uHoo’s Smart Indoor Air Quality Sensor for Home is incredibly user-friendly. The sensor works by “keeping track of nine different parameters." These include "temperature, humidity, air pressure, carbon dioxide, TVBOC, PM2.5, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone.” The product was the 2020 winner of the CES Innovation Award. The award honors "outstanding design in consumer technology products.” Founders Dustin Onghanseng, CEO and Brian Lin, CTO have only contributed further to the field since launching the company. In 2020, PR Newswire reported that uHoo launched “the uHoo Virus Index - world's first real-time assessment of virus survival based on air quality.” The article notes that “suboptimal air quality not only affects the ability of viruses to survive [indoors] but also affects our immune system." Lin and Onghanseng founded uHoo “to help people with similar respiratory problems and to ultimately promote health, safety, and well-being for all.”
Home tech company Molekule is the second of four Living Deep brands that protect and nurture your skin at home. Siblings Dilip Goswami and Jaya Rao founded Molekule and also developed the PECO technology that powers Molekule’s air purifiers. According to their “designers profile” on the Living Deep website, Molekule’s mission is to “harness the power of science to improve lives." Their mission also includes the desire to "solve some of the world’s greatest problems, beginning with indoor air pollution.” While improving health is a primary focus of the company, another is its dedication to sustainability. Quoting Ilgu Cha -- Molekule’s Princiapl Industrial Designer -- the Living Deep profile notes that “‘environmental sustainability is always a key consideration.’” Cha continues on to note that Molekule always asks their “‘packaging suppliers for 100% recycled materials with minimal material.’” They also use “‘a vegan leather handle and no-paint finishing on plastic parts for all devices.’”
How do Molekule’s Air Purifiers Work?
Their PECO technology differs from the commonly used HEPA filters found in most air purification systems. Hanna Horvath explains the difference in her article “Best air purifiers of 2020, according to experts” for NBC News. Horvath writes that as opposed to HEPA filters, “PECO filters remove...common gases, bacteria, viruses and mold in the air.” Horvath references the results of a recent study conducted by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory regarding the effectiveness of Molekule’s air purifiers. According to Horvath, the study found that “the Molekule Air successfully removed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone." Molekule's efficiency rate in doing so ranged "between ‘high’ and ‘very high.’” In summary, writes Horvath, “‘the air cleaner has enough capacity to remove indoor gaseous pollutants at levels that are typically present indoors." The product does so "without producing harmful byproducts.’”
The Molekule Air Mini+ and the Molekule Air Pro Aid Skincare by Removing Pollutants
As one of Living Deep’s vendors, Molekule offers two air purification products on the site. These include the Molekule Air Mini+ and the Molekule Air Pro air purifiers. According to its product listing, the Molekule Air Pro “features Molekule’s patented PECO technology [which] destroys the widest range of pollutants.” The Air Pro purifier has “enough pollutant-destroying power for extra large rooms up to 1000 sq. ft.” The Molekule Air Mini+ “destroys pollutants in up to 250 sq. ft. of space.” Molekule describes the Mini+ as “ideal for home offices...while delivering proven PECO technology from atop a table or counter.” By removing these irritants, Molekule’s air purifiers greatly reduce the concentration of pollution in indoor air. Thus, the impact of pollution on skin health and appearance is reduced as well.
Skincare brand Biophile is the third of four Living Deep brands that protect and nurture your skin at home. Revolutionary skincare company Biophile is the product of Grace Fooden and plant biologist and skincare expert Alison Cutlan. According to the Living Deep profile on Biophile, the company was “born out of a passion to push against convention." It does so "with scientific rigor, creativity and imagination.” The company creates “bio-made, microbiome-supporting skincare that is cleaner, more effective and more symbiotic with our bodies and the environment.” The young brand has garnered constant media and industry expert attention since launching in 2019. Biophile’s Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum was awarded the “Best Face Serum” by Indie Beauty in January 2020. The company was also nominated for “a Beauty Independent Beacon Award for best brand launch” and “for Best Sustainable Packaging.”
Cutting-Edge, All-Natural and Cruelty-Free
Claire McCormack writes about Biophile in her article “Biotic Broth Is Brewing In Brooklyn: Fermented Skincare Range Biophile Launches” for Beauty Independent. She writes that founder Allion Cutlan “spent nearly 20 years developing award-winning and patented skincare products'' before launching Biophie. Today, she and Fooden work together to “create concentrated fermented blends” for their serums and oils. These blends -- which the pair dubs “biotic broths.” -- are rich in “adaptogens, antioxidants, lactic acid and fungal polysaccharides.” Their approach to skincare is natural and organic but informed by decades of scientific research.
McCormack writes that each formula is “powered by microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and algae that [Cutlan and Fooden] describe as ‘biocompatible, potent and sustainable.’” The products offered by Biophile through the Living Deep marketplace hydrate, feed, protect, nourish, plump, fortify, refine, revitalize and brighten skin. These include the Biophile Root Bionic Refining Essence, the Biophile Bio Barrier Nourishing Oil and the Biophile Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum. Each product allows users to protect and nurture your skin at home while treating the planet with kindness.
Dermatologists and skin-care experts often recommend 100% organic cotton bedding for those with acne-prone and/or sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic, breathable and light-weight fabrics like those made from 100% organic cotton are best for skin prone. They support skin against a number of issues -- from breakouts to irritation and redness. In their article “Best bedding for your skin” for NBC News, Amanda Mitchell and Sean Piccoli discuss the skincare benefits of cotton. Mitchell and Piccolo note that because cotton is breathable, it prevents moisture trapping and heat build-up. Both improper heat and moisture contact can harm skin quality and contribute to acne and irritation. In addition to protecting skin quality, the breathability of cotton is also “an important factor in regulating skin temperature." Regulating skin temperature properly "has been shown to affect sleep quality.”
Experts Recommend Avocado's Sheets for Sensitive Skin
In her recent article for The Healthy, Amy Schlinger offers a list of the "Best Bed Sheets for Sensitive Skin." She writes that “it seems all dermatologists agree that lightweight, breathable 100 percent cotton sheets...are best for those with sensitive skin.” Schliner reports Avocado’s Organic Cotton Sheets as one of her top picks. Avocado's sheets are also favorites of Ronald Moy, MD, a surgeon and dermatologist at Moy Fincher Chipps Facial Plastics and Dermatology in Beverly Hills. Of Avocado’s cotton sheets, Schlinger writes that “not only are these Avocado sheets cotton, which Dr. Moy recommends for sensitive skin, but they’re also organic, made with 100 percent GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic certified cotton from India.”
This GOTS certification ensures that all “manufacturers are using eco-friendly techniques, like limiting the use of toxic chemicals and engaging in fair labor standards.” Avocado’s sheets are high in thread count, making them wrinkle-resistant and gentle on skin. In addition to their GOTS certification, all of Avocado’s “mattress and bedding products are GREENGUARD Gold certified by UL Environment for low emissions.” According to their Living Deep profile, Avocado is committed to providing its customers with “a healthy sleep environment while promoting sustainability and social responsibility.” Their sheets represent one of many products allowing you to protect and nurture your skin at home.