It was Earth Day yesterday, and after the rain washed everything clean, today is a gorgeous day in Dallas. I appreciate beautiful days more now, because I moved closer to the city four years ago, and I have to say it’s obvious to me that with more cars, people and businesses all around me, I have definitely felt the effects of breathing slightly more polluted air, seeing and smelling more trash, and feeling the psychological stress of having less open space and open sky.
Pollution really takes a toll on skin, causing uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer. Microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere from sources like construction sites, cars and power plants. Pollution breaks down collagen and the lipid layer in the skin, which impairs skin barrier functions. Washing your face thoroughly helps. At night, remove the film of potentially harmful pollutants, not to mention makeup and dirt. The goal is to get everything off without too much scrubbing, which can exacerbate skin conditions like acne. In addition, pollution erodes the ozone layer, which helps shield us from the sun’s harmful rays. Apply a broad spectrum SPF 30 daily to protect yourself. The latest formulas contain antioxidants, boosting their pollution-fighting powers. Utilizing sunscreen, antioxidants and proper cleansing, and you won’t end up with skin that’s older than your age.
But looking at the BIGGER picture, what can we do to help this gorgeous planet of ours? I am tempted to throw my hands up and look the other way at times. But the truth is, we all make an impact. A healthy lifestyle and an eco-conscious one go hand in hand.
Here are some things for us to consider.
Can you drive a BIT less? It’s a great way to reduce the amount of dangerous greenhouse gases (which are responsible for a large chunk of climate change) we release into the environment. I carpool with my kids, and chunk my errands all at once if I can. I also do more virtual shopping. BeautyRiche is my one-stop-shop for my skin care products.
Start paying attention to the food items you toss in the garbage. That way, you can notice patterns (e.g., every week you throw away half a gallon of spoiled milk) and tweak your shopping habits accordingly. Consider donating to a food kitchen if you have a party and are left with a lot of extra food. And RECYCLE!!! Plastic, paper, cans, glass. It’s really so easy once you start. Most of the waste in my home is recycling now and not trash.
Use less food packaging. It irritates me that food packaging takes up almost two thirds of total packaging waste in the United States. (All those cheese stick wrappers and yogurt containers!). That means a whole lot of waste ending up in landfills, which mean more methane is released into the air. When shopping, look for products with minimal to no packaging, or at least packaging made from recycled items.
Carry your coffee cups. This is an area where we can make a huge difference in the amount of waste we produce. Bonus: Some stores (even Starbucks) provide discounts for bringing your own mug.
Consider buying in bulk the foods that last a long time (think pasta, cereal, and nuts). Just be sure to store them properly so they don’t go bad before you can use them.
Reuse your grocery bags!
Household cleaning products are among a number one cause of indoor pollutants that can hurt the environment as well as your lungs. Choose non-toxic eco friendly cleaning products if you can.
Look for the Energy Star label, consider products that run on natural gas instead of electricity. The same thing goes for the purchase of wood products (like furniture)—make sure it’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council—and less obvious paper goods, like tissues and toilet paper.
The most important idea to remember is that overtime, all these changes add up to a really positive impact on the environment. No effort is too trivial—so pick one of these new habits and take action today.
Happy Earth Day and have a great week!