Alongside its effects to our health, air pollution can also wreak havoc on our skin. Here’s how to tackle it.
When we think about pollution, we tend to think of the poor air quality outdoors, but indoor pollution can be damaging, too. Tthe British Lung Foundation, indoor pollution is dust, dirt or gases in the air inside a building like your home. There are many causes but some of the most common includes poor ventilation, how you heat or cook in your home, damp and chemicals in cleaning products.
While we’re educated on the effects pollution can have on our heart and lungs, the conversation around air quality has recently cast a spotlight on how vulnerable our skin is to both outdoor and indoor conditions. “As skin is your outermost barrier, it is one of the first and largest targets for air pollution,” explains Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55 and author of The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin.
Scientific studies have shown that agents in air pollution are contributing factors towards premature skin ageing, such as dull, uneven skin, pigmentation spots, enlarged pore and worsening of inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
How can you protect your skin against air pollution?
While you can’t completely protect skin against the effects of pollution, there are many steps you can take to shield your skin as much as possible.
Here, Dr Mahto explains the steps you can take to help limit the damage:
“Cleanse your skin every night to remove dirt and environmental toxins from the skin surface.”
We recommend: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £25
This lightweight balm melts into an oil upon contact with the skin. Massage it onto your face and watch your make-up melt away instantly. After you take the balm off with a muslin cloth, your face will feel clean but not stripped.
“Exfoliate once weekly (less if you have dry or sensitive skin) to give your skin a deeper clean. This will also improve the penetration of any products that are later applied to the skin.”
We recommend: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, £51
Once you use this exfoliator, you’ll want to stock up. It sloughs away dead skin cells and leaves you with a brighter complexion.
“Use an antioxidant serum; antioxidants such as vitamin C and resveratrol have the ability to neutralise damage caused by free radicals generated by pollution.”
We recommend: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, £67
A heavyweight trio of vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid, this serum neutralises pollutants and free radicals, while dissolving dead skin cells for a smoother complexion.
“Moisturise daily, particularly if you have a tendency towards dry, inflammatory skin conditions (e.g. eczema and psoriasis). This will keep your skin hydrated, helping to maintain the integrity of the barrier function of your skin.”
We recommend: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion, £13
This non-greasy formula hydrates, restores and repairs the face’s protective skin barrier.
We recommend: REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, £24
Finish off your moisturising regime with a quick spritz of this face mist. It protects skin against free radicals and pollution and strengthens the skin’s natural defences.
“Use a regular sunscreen (minimum SPF 30). Don’t forget that your skin also needs UV protection to help reduce the risk of skin cancers and signs of premature ageing.”
We recommend: La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Tinted Fluid SPF 50+, £17.50
If you’re looking for a face SPF that is non-greasy, water-resistant and delivers high protection from UVA and UVB rays, look no further.
Main image: Getty
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