Can Pollution Affect Your Skin?

Can Pollution Affect Your Skin?

If you live in a populous area, it’s hard to escape environmental aggressors such as pollution on a daily basis “Pollution can generate free radicals on the skin,” says Nannan Chen, Associate Principal Scientist, Garnier Scientific Affairs. “Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that react very quickly with other compounds. So these free radicals can have a destructive effect on your skin support structure and are shown to accelerate skin aging.” We’re outlining the ways pollution may affect your skin and you can counteract it.

How Does Pollution Affect My Skin?

Small nanoparticles in the form of dirt, dust or soot can enter and negatively impact your skin cells causing premature aging in a process called oxidation. Additionally, gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide can harm our skin. Our skin serves as a natural barrier against external factors and while it succeeds at keeping most things out, it’s not completely impenetrable. Pollution hurts your skin’s barrier function by breaking down collagen and the lipids contained within it. Studies have shown that women who live in urban areas have skin that is up to 10 percent older than that of women who don’t live in urban areas. Additionally pollution can cause irritation, rashes and breakouts, particularly peaks in pollution. Dirt particles can accumulate on skin’s surface which can clog pores when they mix with your skin cells and oils.

What Type Of Skin Care Counteracts Pollution?

The key to fighting the effects of pollution on your skin is to cleanse every single day, twice a day with products formulated with antioxidants. “Antioxidants are molecules that can neutralize free radicals, and thus mitigate the negative effect of free radicals,” says Chen. Find the perfect antioxidant complex skin care routine below.

1. Deep Clean

Use a micellar water twice a day to wash off particles and soot that may have attached themselves to your skin. Micellar water attracts dirt and dust like a magnet but feels gentle like water on skin. At night, you can make sure that every single particle has been taken off by following the micellar water with a gentle cleanser. We suggest Garnier SkinActive’s Clean+ Invigorating Daily Scrub as it deeply cleanses and polishes to refine the appearance of pores. You will rid your skin of free radicals and wake up with glowing skin.

2. Consider A Toner

An effective, alcohol-free toner will lift off any leftover particles that may not have been removed through cleansing.

3. Enlist Antioxidants

Oxidation can cause your skin to age prematurely especially when exposed to harmful air and pollutants. A skin care routine that includes antioxidants can halt this process. Use products formulated with Vitamin A, C or E in your routine to help skin fight oxidation. In the morning we recommend Garnier SkinActive’s Clearly Brighter Brightening and Smoothing Moisturizer with SPF 15. It will protect your skin from the sun which is important in polluted areas, as pollution can worsen the effects of the sun on your skin. The moisturizer is also formulated with Vitamin C and E which will fight off free radicals and brighten the appearance of your skin.

4. Protect Your Barrier At Night

As we mentioned before pollution is constantly attacking your skin and can cause premature skin aging. Furthermore, it can draw out moisture from your skin making it look duller in appearance. Always apply a moisturizer at night to help strengthen this area of your face. A strong barrier is key to fighting off pollution.

How Can You Counteract Pollution In Other Ways?

Your diet plays a big role in the fight against pollutants and the benefits of antioxidants also carry over to what you eat. Eat berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and seafood containing Omega-3s and help your body fight oxidation from the inside out.

You should also drink plenty of water throughout the day. Pollution can remove moisture from your skin — so it’s important to replenish moisture.