Our skin is a living, breathing organ and can be vulnerable to pollution damage. Here we explore the most damaging skin pollutants and reveal how you can create an anti-pollution skin care regime that’s tailored to your skin.
What is pollution?
Pollution takes many forms and can include air pollution, blue-light pollution and chemical pollution. Found in our air, seas and wider atmosphere, environmental pollution is generally unavoidable and can have a harmful effect on our skin and overall health.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix to the UK’s pollution problem so it is important that those living in, or commuting to, areas of high pollution are aware of the damage pollution can do to their skin and act to defend their skin from harm.
How does pollution damage the skin?
CITY POLLUTION SKIN DAMAGE
City air pollution is a serious threat to our skin and research suggests that these can exacerbate premature ageing and may also contribute to other complexion problems such as pigmentation disorders.
Air pollution particles are tiny, up to twenty times smaller than the size of your pores, and this means that they can reach tissue deep within the skin. Once here they create free radicals which inflame and damage the skin tissue. This not only reduces the skin’s ability to regenerate but also depletes its elasticity and supply of collagen.
SCREEN USE SKIN DAMAGE
Noticed that your skin has changed since you started commuting to a city job? In addition to polluted city air the amount of time you spend staring at a screen, either at work or during your commute, could be harming your complexion.
It’s thought that the blue light emitted by smartphones and tablets can encourage the growth of acne bacteria on the skin and contribute to breakouts. Other reports have claimed that regularly exposing skin to blue light depletes the number of free radical-fighting antioxidants and may increase our risk of premature aging.
UV SKIN DAMAGE
Another skin threat is UVA sun rays. Like city air pollutants, these long rays can penetrate deep within the skin and contribute to the emergence of skin damaging free radicals. Wearing a broad-spectrum sun cream can help shield your skin from sunlight damage and everyone should consider wearing sun protection daily, even on a cloudy day.
How can anti-pollution skin care benefit the skin?
The skin is our body’s first defence against pollutions and keeping the skin barrier healthy can help safeguard deeper skin tissue from pollutants. For further protection you should consider using products that offer anti-pollution benefits.
It is important to note that no amount of skin care can completely shield your skin from pollution however, some skin care ingredients have a unique ability to neutralise the damage that free-radicals can cause within the skin.
An effective anti-pollution skin care regime should be rich in antioxidants as these have a proven ability to neutralise free radicals and prevent pollution damage and help to prevent dullness, fine lines and other signs of skin ageing.
Opt for an anti-pollution moisturiser that contains ingredients like Seaweed and Green Tea as these are extremely high in antioxidants and create a natural defence against harmful pollutants.
Your 4-step natural anti-pollution skin care regime
Pollution particles can squeeze through our pore so it is important that you thoroughly cleanse your face twice a day. For a gentle but effective cleanse we recommend using a foaming face wash.
Foaming face washes produce a foam which gently cleanses deep inside each pore and helps to dislodge dirt and grime from the skin’s surface.
The foam is typically created by SLS but, because this can irritate sensitive skin, we do not use this ingredient in our Foaming Face Wash.
Instead we use a special mechanism in the pump which draws the antibacterial ingredients together into a foam texture.
Help your skin to defend itself against free-radical damage by applying a layer of antioxidant-rich skin care to your complexion.
Start with our seaweed-based Hydrating Firming Serum and, once this has been absorbed by the skin, apply a few drops of our Anti-Ageing Facial Oil. Made with nourishing Avocado and Rosemary oils, this collagen-boosting facial oil improves skin elasticity whilst sealing in moisture, nutrients and antioxidants.
Complete your daytime regime with an anti-pollution foundation. Packed with skin-rejuvenating Sea Fennel, our Tinted DD Creams contain SPF15 and are the ideal way to incorporate sun protection into your mineral make-up routine.
Your skin works hard to repair itself overnight and one of the main processes it completes is the removal of pollutant waste from the surface of the skin. To do this the skin needs to breathe, so it is important to thoroughly cleanse your face and apply a restoring anti-pollution moisturiser before you go to sleep.
Containing an innovative blend of free radical-fighting ingredients including Wakame, Green Marine Macro Algae and Everlasting Flower, this radiance-boosting cream works best when used as a nourishing overnight face mask but can also be applied in the morning to keep your skin topped up with protective, damage-fighting antioxidants.
4. SWITCH OFF
Worried blue light is causing your complexion harm? The best way to reduce blue light damage is to reduce your use of electronic devices that emit this light, and to avoid using them in darkened environments. This is because a well-lit room will reduce the imbalance of light exposure these devices can cause. Better still, why not switch off your device completely and use your time to treat your skin to a relaxing at-home facial instead?
Is it important to you to choose an anti-pollution moisturiser? How do you feel pollution affects your skin? Join the conversation at @GreenPeopleUK.