How houseplants can help against dry skin

New research published in the international journal Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health shows houseplants are good for our skin. Plants -- like people -- release moisture into the air as they breathe, acting as natural humidifiers. Keep several plants in the rooms you spend the most time in. You might find they provide enough moisture in the air to keep you comfortable in winter.

When air is too dry, it can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Desert-dry air increases likelihood of sinus infections and helps viruses (such as those that cause colds and flu) spread. Excessively dry air can also be bad for our homes. Dry winter air can cause wood (such as flooring or furniture) to crack and paint to chip. In general, optimal humidity levels for our health should be between 40 and 60 percent.

Transpiration is the process plants use to absorb moisture from the soil and release it from their leaves. It doesn’t just benefit us. Grouping plants in your home or office means they help provide more humidity for each other. This makes the environment a little closer to the lush tropical rain forests many of them come from. It helps them stay happier and healthier.

The thirstiest plants add the most moisture to the air. For example, the research found a single 2-foot-tall peace lily can add as much as 3 ounces of water to the air a day. The slower a plant grows, the less moisture it uses. So don't expect easy-care snake plant, ZZ plant, or succulents to help your skin as much as houseplants that need more frequent watering.

Source: Costa Farms (Justin Hancock)

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