How Pollution Can Affect Your Skin and How to Counteract It
We’ve all learned about the harmful effects that pollution has on our environment and vegetation, but we seldom hear about its effects on the skin. Small nanoparticles can enter and affect the surface of your skin in a process called oxidation. Find out how you can protect your skin from daily toxins in the air every day.
How does pollution affect my skin?
Our skin is a natural barrier against external factors and while it succeeds at keeping most things out, it’s not completely impenetrable. Being exposed to pollution and exhaust gases can cause a multitude of problems. Pollution breaks down our skin’s barrier function.
Additionally pollution can cause skin irritation, such as rashes and blemishes, particularly when there is a steep increase in pollution. When dirt particles accumulate they can clog pores because they mix with your skin cells and oils.
What type of skin care counteracts pollution?
If you live in a city, it is crucial that you adopt a skin care routine that cleanses your skin of micro-particles that can negatively affect your skin.
Step #1 Deep Clean
Use a gentle cleanser twice a day to wash off particles and soot that may have attached themselves to your skin. At night, you can kick things up a notch and use a face brush for a gentle exfoliating cleanse.
Step #2 Consider a toner
Avoid this step if your skin is extremely dry but otherwise find an effective, alcohol-free toner to lift off any leftover particles that may not have been removed through cleansing.
Step #3 Enlist Antioxidants
You’re probably familiar with the concept of oxidation from when you were first in science class looking at how an apple turns brown when exposed to air. The same principle applies to your skin – the appearance of your skin can look dull or tired especially when exposed to harmful air and pollutants. A skin care routine that includes antioxidants can help. Use products with Vitamin A, C or E in your routine either in the form of a serum or mist. Do this before applying your moisturizer at night. You can also use the mist to spritz throughout the day to hydrate and protect without having to remove your make-up.
Step #4 Protect Your Barrier
As we mentioned before pollution is constantly attacking your skin and is one of the main culprit of premature aging along with sun exposure. Furthermore, it can draw out moisture from your skin making it look duller in appearance. Applying a moisturizer, particularly at night, can help your other skin care products work better. A strong barrier is key to fighting the harmful effects of pollution.
How can you counteract pollution in other ways?
Your diet can play a role in the fight against pollutants. Try to eat lots of berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and seafood containing Omega-3s to build up your body’s immune system and help it fight oxidation from the inside out.
You should also try to consume water throughout the day. Pollution can remove moisture from your skin — so it’s important to add it back both internally and externally.
What role does SPF play?
A very important one! As we all know the sun is the biggest source of damage to our skin. Use a broad spectrum SPF with additional skin care qualities like Garnier SkinActive’s Clearly Brighter which has SPF 15 and antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E and lipo hydroxyl acide (LHA) to fight off pollutants that can potentially harm your skin.