We all are aware of the fact that our country is at the bottom of the charts when it comes to clean, safe environment. Today, the air we are breathing is highly polluted and full of particulate matter and other harmful particles which makes it impossible to breathe in the open. The situation is worse for the people living in Delhi NCR region because of the increased pollution levels, and air pollution in Delhi, even the Delhi government has called for shutting down the schools in the region.
Polluted air in Delhi, along with soot, dust, ozone, and sulfur oxides are a growing threat for millions of people around the world. In India, pollution is one of the highest contributors to disability and death. According to some reports, air pollution has been triggering several acute ailments such as asthma and chronic bronchial inflammation, causing over 1.8 million deaths annually. Therefore, it is high time that we all take the necessary steps to eradicate this pollution from the environment. Both the government and people should take responsibility to protect the environment and the government should bring policy changes that can help the surroundings become a better place to live in.
Does the pollution only affect the environment and not me?
Probably a question that needs no answer, and is self-explanatory. According to some experts, pollution should be seen as a serious health issue rather than just an environmental problem. Pollution is very harmful to the survival of both animals and humans and is a root cause of major human diseases. Besides breathing problems, it is also responsible for many skin and hair problems. Arvind Kumar, a doctor at Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi said that the lungs of non-smokers in New Delhi have begun to resemble the lungs of regular smokers. Therefore, it is wrong to say that pollution is only affecting the environment and not humans and we should be equally worried even if it is affecting only the environment because if the environment in which we are living is not safe then how can we imagine ourselves to be safe.
What are the harmful effects of pollution on my skin?
If you are living in Delhi NCR then it is hard to escape environmental aggressors such as traffic fumes, cigarette smoke, and UV light. A number of studies have proved that air pollution is harmful to humans and other creatures, and is the main cause of various diseases including respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, death of animals and plants and economic losses. Apart from that, it also affects your skin in numerous ways. It makes the surface of your skin feeling dirty, some chemicals attached to pollution particles can penetrate through the skin’s layers and cause oxidative stress which can weaken the skin’s barrier and trigger inflammation. If your exposure to these particles is high and your skin isn’t protected this can result in skin pigmentation problems, and uneven skin tone and dullness, as well as the formation of wrinkles – all signs of premature skin aging.
People who have sensitive skin and who suffer from inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution. Therefore it becomes necessary to take extra care of our skin every day. (Read- How Papaya masks can help you take care of skin?)
Home remedies to keep your skin safe from pollution
Your skin is one of the most sensitive parts of your body and it demands a lot of attention and concern. And as the pollution is increasing day by day, the risk of skin damage is also increasing. Skin is the first part that may be contaminated by a pollutant and this can cause inflammation, irritation, eruptions, premature aging, loss of elasticity, firmness, and glow. Hence, you should take the necessary measures to protect the delicate organ from air pollution you encounter every day.
- To protect the delicacy of your skin, you should properly clean your face twice a day. Baking soda is an excellent deep pore cleanser that gently exfoliates your skin. Take two teaspoons of baking soda and mix it with one teaspoon of water to make a paste. Gently massage this mixture onto your face. Leave it to dry for about five minutes and rinse clean.
- Air pollution can deteriorate the skin’s protective outer layer causing dryness, redness, and irritation. Use a good sunscreen generously before going outdoors. You can prepare your own natural sunscreen at home. There are many tutorials on the internet that can guide you in making a sunscreen at home.
- Use a natural moisturizer every day to keep your skin glowing. Coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil, baby oil or jojoba oil are great moisturizers. Wash your body then apply any of these oils all over your body and massage for five minutes so that oil gets properly absorbed by the skin. You can repeat the process again on your face before going to bed at night.
- To eradicate the rough and dry patches of dead skin caused by air pollution, you need to give your skin a good scrubbing thrice a week. Mix half-cup of white or brown sugar with enough olive oil to make a paste. Apply it to your face and let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse it with warm water. You can also apply lemon juice to remove dead skin cells.
- You should drink at least eight glasses of water daily to flush out the toxins from your body. You should take plenty of liquids to keep your body dehydrated every day. Also, you can drink coconut water and lemon water to keep your skin naturally moisturized.
- A diet rich in antioxidants can help you look and feel better every day. Eat plenty of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, spinach, apricots, pumpkin, grapes, berries, eggplant, onion, garlic, parsley, nuts, healthy seeds like sunflower seeds, avocado, sweet potato, red and yellow bell pepper, etc. to keep your body fit and healthy.
- Sleeping well is the key to beautiful skin and you should never compromise with your sleep. During sleep, your blood flow increases and the organ rebuilds its collagen to repair any kind of damage, thus it is necessary to sleep properly. (Read- Tips for getting better sleep)
How does air pollution in Delhi can affect my hair?
Today, a large part of the population is complaining of itching, dandruff, oily scalp and pain in the hair roots. This is identified as Sensitive Scalp Syndrome that results from exposure to increasing levels of air pollution which settle on the scalp and hair. The pollutants migrate into the dermis, through transepidermal and the hair follicle conduit, leading to oxidative stress and hair loss. Hair loss due to pollution can mimic or coexist with androgenic alopecia. The harmful elements of air pollution such as nickel, lead, arsenic, dust, smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), ammonia and sulfur dioxide nitrogen affect the hair strands along their length causing the ends to split. This split goes up through the length and eventually breaks the hair off the scalp. (Read- Managing hair with changes in season).
How does pollution affect my overall health?
All forms of pollution can affect our health in many ways. Today the air we breathe in is not even worth breathing, the water we drink is not worth drinking and the soil is contaminated, there is noise pollution everywhere, thus making the surrounding a very bad place to live in. We often talk about achieving a holistic well-being; but what about a holistic ecosystem to live in?
This pollution has an effect on every living creature of the earth and is the main cause of diseases and other health risks. Air pollution in Delhi, has not only increased the risk of acute (e.g. pneumonia) and chronic (e.g. lung cancer) respiratory disease as well as cardiovascular disease, for its citizens, but inhabitants across the globe.
Drinking contaminated water can cause hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, etc. According to some research, Water-related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths per year, thus contributing to the loss of human and animal lives. Similarly, soil pollution can cause cancer, including leukemia, nervous system damage, neuromuscular blockage, and depression of the central nervous system, kidney and liver damage. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself from coming into contact with pollution.
Can home remedies actually help beat the pollution?
Now that we know the hazardous effects of pollution on our body it is important to take extra care of our health, hair, and skin. Taking care of your body does not require any extra efforts and by following these simple remedies you can better prepare yourself from the harm caused by the pollution.
- To protect your skin you must wash the skin and hair with neem leaves boiled in the water. It will clear the pollutants stuck to the skin and mucosal membrane.
- Eat three to four leaves at least twice a week. It helps to purify the blood and lymphatic tissue.
- You should eat jaggery, every day to eliminate toxins and dust particles from your systems. It is packed with nutrients that help remove harmful elements from the bloodstream, lungs, respiratory tract, as well as the food pipe.
- Try cooking with olive oil which has been shown to boost the immune system against the attack of external microorganisms.
- Include ginger in your diet. It can help in reducing airway inflammation and inhibit airway contraction.
- Garlic and onions are also beneficial as they help us to overcome infections. Packed with antioxidants, onions, and garlic are also used in traditional medicine for their health benefits, including some related to the prevention and treatment of asthma.
- Include citrus fruits like lemon, gooseberries, oranges, etc in your diet. The vitamin C content in citrus fruits helps boost your immunity and lessen the effects of air pollution.
- Drink basil (tulsi) juice daily to steer clear of pollutants from your respiratory tract.
- Try having a glass of milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder every day.
Does Ayurveda really help in protecting us from the pollution?
Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine originated from India. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on health and wellness by blending the mind, body, and spirit and is very beneficial in eradicating the root cause of the illness. We have always heard the benefits of Ayurveda in the treatment of various diseases but many of us are not aware of its capability to beat the pollution. Diwali festivities just added to the existing pollution in Delhi and other neighboring cities, making the air more hazardous to breathe in. But there are ways you can minimize the ill effects of this nasty pollution that’s deteriorating your health. So today, we are going to discuss the hacks that can help you survive this baleful environmental condition.
- According to Ayurvedic experts, pollution causes an imbalance in the Tridoshas (three fundamental energies that govern the function of our bodies on the physical and emotional level), thus making the immune system weak. You can boost your immunity by having one tablespoon of Triphala with one teaspoon of honey at night.
- Performing breathing exercises such as Pranayama and Kapal Bhati regularly helps in cleansing the airway and combat the harmful effects of the pollution. ( Read- https:aanyawellness//bit.ly/34l8wiO)
- The fruit pomegranate has a lot of health advantages and is also a brilliant cardio-protective fruit. Drinking pomegranate juice daily can purify the blood and help you protect the heart and arteries.
- Abhyanga or oil application massage aids in improving circulation and getting rid of toxins that have entered the blood by various means like inhalation or skin. Regular Abhyanga with sesame oil or other Ayurvedic oils infused with herbs increase the body’s immunity and keeps you energized.
- As discussed earlier, Tulsi (basil) is a very beneficial plant and should be planted at every house to absorb pollution. According to Dr. Nitin Rajan Kochar (MD) (Ayurveda), KEM Hospital, Mumbai, drinking 10-15 ml of tulsi juice daily can help clear pollutants from the respiratory tract.
- Neem plant has numerous medicinal properties and it is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial ways to fight pollution. Washing your skin and hair with Neem water helps in flushing out the pollutants stuck to the skin and mucous membranes.
- What we eat and drink has a direct impact on our bodies and therefore it is necessary to always consume freshly cooked warm food. Include ginger and carom seeds in your diet. Tulsi, Pippali, Triphala and more should be consumed on a regular basis to strengthen our respiratory and immune system so that the effect of pollutants can be minimized.
- The term Swedana means to sweat or perspire. In Ayurveda, the procedure to induce sweating is called Swedana karma. Sarvanga Swedana using the Dashmool herb helps to liquefy and melt the toxins and expels them in an efficient manner.
- Facial steam should be done by adding eucalyptus oil, basil oil, tea tree oil, and carom seeds to cleanse and strengthen the nasal barrier for pollutants.
- And yes, how can someone forget the health benefits of the super herb Pippali or long pepper. This herb purifies the lungs and enables easy breathing. A small quantity of this powder is very powerful and you can consume it with honey or warm water for a maximum of 7 days, to keep yourself healthy.
Today, air pollution in Delhi has become an inevitable part of the environment and our life. You can just take preventive steps to protect your skin from its harmful effects. A deep focus on your health can prevent you from getting affected by this health hazard, and strengthen yourself and your immunity, till the time we find a sustainable solution.