In recent years, the air has become increasingly polluted. This can not help but reflect on the strength and appearance of our largest organ, the skin. Namely, the skin acts as a shield against pro-oxidants, chemicals that induce oxidative stress. Daily exposure to high levels of various pollutants on the skin leaves serious negative consequences. This has lead to the trend of anti-pollution skincare.
In short, air pollutants interfere with the normal functions of human lipids, DNA, and proteins and cause oxidative damage. The results are aging skin and inflammatory or allergic conditions, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne, and even skin cancer.
Also read: How does pollution affect the skin?
What pollution does to your skin?
Various studies show that environmental pollutants lead to premature aging. Furthermore, they may be responsible for allergic reactions, atopic dermatitis, eczema and acne. Allegedly, polluted air, along with smoking and unprotected and excessive sun exposure, is one of the main causes of pigmentation spots. And the premature appearance of gray complexion, wrinkles, dryness and sagging skin is also associated with life in urban areas.
During an afternoon walk, especially during traffic jams, the skin can absorb a large portion of free radicals and toxins. Namely, some invisible particles of pollution are even 20 times smaller than the pores. Therefore, they can easily enter the deeper layers of the skin. Just to illustrate, the average pore size is about 50 micrometers. And the size of individual harmful molecules is only 2.5 micrometers.
By infiltrating the epidermis, pollutants create free radicals that not only cause dehydration and other inflammatory processes, but also cause a chain reaction at the cellular level and in the subcutaneous connective tissue. And this ultimately leads to loss of collagen and skin firmness.
How can we prevent skin pollution and protect our skin from environmental damage?
As for many, moving from the city to the countryside is not possible due to the preservation of beauty. That’s why the cosmetics industry responded to consumer demands. They created new skincare products for city living and protection against polluted air. According to the creators, anti-pollution skincare products reduce, neutralize and prevent negative environmental impacts.
Thanks to formulas based on vitamins and powerful antioxidant compounds, they neutralize free radicals and create an invisible layer of protection. The so-called buffer zone that prevents direct skin contact with toxic particles.
Pollution and skin care should be closely connected terms. There are a few steps that you should follow to avoid the effect of pollution on your skin:
Clean your face every night
Facial cleansing every night is not only important for removing makeup. After exposing your skin to air pollution, dirt and other impurities all day, washing will free the surface of your skin and pores from the accumulation of harmful substances.
Protect your skin with care products
There are many products that protect the skin from pollution. For instance, products with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. In addition, it is important to use moisturizing emollients. These ingredients are essential for the health and functioning of the skin.
Increase your intake of antioxidants
Since antioxidants are the body’s best friends against pollution, take them orally with food and through supplements. They prevent surface damage from free radicals and prevent the potential for premature signs of aging. Some can also reduce allergic reactions.
What is anti-pollution skincare?
The definition of anti-pollution skin care is to remove environmental factors that are harmful to your skin. So, the significance and meaning of anti-pollution is in removing particles of smoke, dust, toxins, and the like that create free radicals on your skin.
To alleviate the effects of polluted air, the first and most important step is a deep cleansing of the face. That is, to remove as much of the toxin that has “stuck” to the skin. Oil cleansers help us with this because they penetrate deeper into the skin, as well as what they call pre-cleansers. It is a type of gentle peeling for everyday use, which can be used with existing cleaning products.
The so-called sonic cleaning devices that, according to the manufacturer, remove 30 times more soot and smog particles that are almost impossible to completely remove from the pores “manually”. After deep cleansing, it is necessary to restore the damaged epidermis. Because only a healthy skin barrier can successfully resist further damage.
For this task, it is best to choose specialized moisturizing products, those intended for the so-called, urban protection. They should be “equipped” with high protection from UV radiation, moisturizing ingredients to strengthen and protect the skin barrier, and an abundance of antioxidants that will neutralize free radicals and fight inflammation.
Proper skin protection – anti-pollution skincare routine
The emphasis is on positive changes in diet, but also in the routine of anti-pollution facial cleansing and skin care. Proper and daily thorough cleansing of the face in two steps, with foam or gel and tonic, is what you must do first.
The next step is a quality selection of moisturizers, oils and serums rich in antioxidants that represent the first line of defense. What we often forget is applying sunscreen even on cloudy days. Air pollution also contributes to the erosion of the ozone layer, which means that our skin is exposed to the sun more than ever before, even in the colder months.
Also, many women completely wrongly avoid oils in their beauty routine, even though it has long been much more than just applying moisturizer. The oils are not just for dry skin and are not all difficult for the skin. So it’s high time to get rid of the fear of using them, as they provide you with amazing benefits. They strengthen hydration and restore the elasticity and healthy glow of the skin.
Give preference to natural oils and their “lighter” derivatives, such as squalane from olive oil, which in cosmetics can mimic sebum and has the ability to restore and partially restore moisture to the skin without clogging the pores.
There are various products on the market today that protect the skin from pollution and help us erase the negative consequences of the same. Some of those products are: anti-pollution makeup, foundation, face wash, cleanser, face drops, cream, body wash, hair care products, sunscreen, etc.
Does sunscreen protect from pollution?
First of all, sunscreen should protect the skin from UV rays. So, most of those skincare products don’t also offer anti-pollution effects.
However, today there are new sunscreens that offer much more than just sun protection. The ideal combination is a sunscreen that also acts as an anti-aging agent. With complementary ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or Q10. If it also refreshes the skin or protects it from the effects of the environment, you will certainly not forget to apply it.
Because skin damage caused by light can be exacerbated by fine dust, a sunscreen with an anti-pollution effect is offered especially for the face. If you apply it daily, you can protect your skin from the stresses of everyday life.
What does an anti-pollution serum do?
What is serum-free skincare? Women don’t even ask themselves that anymore because serums have been at the top of the list of the most important care steps for some time now. Rich in active ingredients, they are applied in the morning and in the evening before the cream, and their results show how powerful they are.
Serums often contain additional anti-pollution skincare ingredients that protect against pollution. For instance, the ordinary anti-pollution serum contains vitamin C, or sometimes caviar extract.
Dermatological tests have proven the strong effect of vitamin C in reducing oxidative stress of the skin, and in high air pollution that causes accelerated skin aging and hyperpigmentation. In combination with hyaluronic acid, one of the most powerful antioxidants strengthens skin tone and stimulates the production of collagen fibers.
As vitamin C is known to be a strong water-soluble acid and as such unsuitable for use directly on the skin and unstable in contact with air, various forms of vitamin C ester are used in the serum.
Unlike vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect, caviar extract creates a protective layer against pollution and protects against external factors and irritations.
Fine dust, exhaust fumes and similar leave their mark on the skin. Particularly affected are people who already have sensitive skin or whose immune system is weakened. The skin reacts differently to different environmental loads. Acne, redness, or irritation may appear immediately. If the skin is exposed to long-term harmful effects, even the formation of wrinkles and pigmentation disorders can be enhanced.
Some particles are so small that they not only adhere to the skin, but also penetrate it and, among other things, can accelerate the breakdown of firming collagen.
Protection is provided by the so-called anti-pollution products. They should protect the skin from the effects of the environment, such as a cream, or release them, for example in the form of a face mask. Exfoliation once or twice a week additionally cleanses the skin.
So, does anti-pollution skincare work? Yes, it does, and you should definitely think about adding anti pollutants into your skincare routine. You should try multiple products to find out what is the best option for you. And then find your own custom, personalized anti-pollution skincare routine.
Also read: Why should you use probiotics for skincare
Irena is a dentist from Croatia, working extensively in her field, but she also has a high interest in the fields of fitness, nutrition and medicine in general. She has been educating herself about how to lead a healthy lifestyle for years. She seeks to help people adopt healthy habits as well as healthy and positive thinking about life. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, plays saxophone and guitar, and develops her own websites – Salubrius Vita and GoalDigger. Her life motto is: When they expect a lot from you, you do even more.