After a super hot start to September, autumn is finally settling in, which means better clothes, hot chocolate and maybe a socially distanced fireworks night! Autumn is a bit of a marmite season, with some rejoicing as the leaves turn brown and others looking onto winter with trepidation.
Whether you're excited or dismayed by the change of season, it's undeniable that cooler weather can take a toll on your skin.
Cold weather exacerbates rosacea, pilaris and other dry skin complaints. This is compounded by the return of central heating, which saps your home of moisture, causing skin irritation and tightness. This is where plants can help! As well as making our homes look fresh and bright, indoor plants can physically alter the environment you put them in.
Through transpiration, plants can regulate humidity (super important in cold weather when the heating goes on). And as a by-product of photosynthesis, plants can filter some of the airborne nasties that clog pores and trigger acne.
Scroll down to discover some of our favourite humidifiers and air-purifiers. These plants will improve the quality of the air in your home and help you feel fresh and vibrant as the nights draw in. Cleaner, moderately humid air is great for skin (especially dry, winter skin), respiratory health and our immune systems.
As well as being super tough and tolerant of a little neglect, Snake Plants are among the best air-purifiers. People associate air-purificaiton with foliage plants, but embedded in the expansive, upright fronds of the Mother-in-Law's Tongue are tiny pores which take in and expel gasses (a bit like breathing). As your Zeylanica absorbs the carbon dioxide he needs to survive, he also mops up invisible airborne nasties.
This is good news for asthmatics and anyone vulnerable to toxins in the air. Clinical trials have shown Mother-in-Law’s Tongues to effectively reduce levels of benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene in sealed environments.
In their native South America, Calatheas grow low down in the humid rainforests. They like to be misted regularly, and if you get a few of them together, they can boost humidity in dry rooms.
Increasing humidity is especially important in dry office environments, new builds, high rises and any temperature-controlled environment. During the winter, when skin is dry and tickly coughs are rampant, Calatheas are a good plant to have.
As a group, ferns are some of the best air-purifying indoor plants. Though the Lace Fern is a delicate plant with fine leaves, they amount to a high surface area is high (one of several indicators that a plant is good at cleaning the air).
Plus, like the mighty Calathea, the Lace Fern is good at boosting humidity. Keep them in a room together and you're on your way to creating your own micro-environment! Good for dry skin and dry airwaves.
This Areca Palm has been labelled as one of the most effective plants to help relieve dry skin in winter. How so? As a thirsty plant it transpires a lot of water making it an effective humidifier, and softening the damage of central heating on our skin.
With such a rich surface area, the Violet's foliage is more than just an aesthetic wonder. The Dude's overflowing tendrils will help absorb common household toxins.
More on Humidity and Air Purification
Air purification is especially important in sealed environments like offices and high rise buildings, where fresh air doesn’t come in often. But anyone who uses products like aerosol deodorant, detergent should consider investing in these natural air cleaners.
You can find more humidifying plants in our Breathe collection.