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How to Protect Your Skin From Environmental Pollution

How to Protect Your Skin From Environmental Pollution

Do you live or work in a large city? Then, you may be prematurely damaging your skin. Beyond climate and season, there are things that affect your skin health, such as air pollution, sun and outside germs. These factors contribute to skin ageing and worsen existing skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

How does environmental pollution impact our skin health?

Many environmental aggressors exist in large cities, such as traffic-related air pollution, cigarette smoke, ozone, volatile organic compounds (chemicals emitted as gasses), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (chemicals occurring from coal and gasoline). 

Combined with UV rays, these air pollutants create harmful molecules that damage our skin's collagen, proteins, and lipids. 

When those toxins enter our skin’s pores, they activate free radicals in our body and accelerate the signs of ageing, wrinkles, and pigmentation. They can also damage our skin’s outer layer, causing dryness and redness and worsening skin inflammation, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. 

Common skin conditions caused by pollution are…

  • Skin sensitivity
  • Acne and breakouts
  • Premature ageing
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Dryness and dehydration
  • Dullness
  • Oxidative stress
  • Slow skin healing
  • Sensitivity to UV rays
  • Increased sebum (oil)  production
  • Worsened skin inflammation (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis)

How do you protect your skin from pollution?

Your skin is the outermost barrier. Unless you take good care of your skin to protect it from environmental pollution, it’s almost like you are wearing the pollution on your face.

1. Don’t forget to double cleanse

At the end of the day, every little pollution particle is stuck with your skin, especially if you’ve been outside for most of your day. 

Make sure to double-cleanse your face, neck, and decollete every night before going to sleep to remove any build-up of pollution and dirt. Once or twice a week, apply an exfoliant of your choice to deep cleanse.

2. Improve your skin barrier health

Improving the skin barrier health plays a significant role in fighting pollution and reducing damages to the skin.  

Some of the recommended anti-pollution skincare ingredients are…

  • Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful emollient that helps maintain skin hydration, boost elasticity, and promote wound healing.

  • Niacinamide

Niacinamide is an antioxidant that fights free radicals, regulates sebum (oil) production, and treats symptoms of skin inflammation. 

  • Antioxidants

Antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, and niacinamide help protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals and slow-down premature ageing. 

  • SPF

Wearing SPF daily will shield your skin from harmful UV rays and pollutants. Look for a sunscreen that filters to protect skin from UVA and UVB.

3. Opt for a balanced diet. 

What you eat significantly impacts your skin health. Choose foods rich in antioxidants, such as oranges, spinach, berries, green tea, salmon, almonds, and cocoa. These foods will protect your skin from free radicals, keep it hydrated, and boost its barrier function. 

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