Top Tips for Selecting Anti-pollution Skin Care Based on Science

How Damaging is Air Pollution to Our Skin?

Besides our genetic predisposition, exposure to sun, age and lifestyle, pollution seems to be a big factor affecting our skins health.

In terms of skin care, recent research is suggesting that air pollution leads to problems like inflammation and premature aging of the skin. Skin, being a live entry to our overall health system, will filter some of the pollutants, but long-term exposure will lead to oxidative stress and inflammations.

A proper skin care routine can take care of many issues like acne, dry skin, wrinkles, clogged pores and many others.

Studies have shown that people in urban areas with higher levels of pollutants do suffer from premature aging of the skin more than people living in rural areas.

Air pollution contains a combination of tiny particles called particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and wide range of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

How is Pollution Damaging Your Skin?

Exact mechanism of how those pollutants cause skin aging is not clear yet, but we know that oxidative stress leads to inflammation, changes in your skin microflora and all of the above will cause wrinkle development, clogging of pores, sluggish skin rejuvenation, increased pigmentation, break down of collagen and dryness.

There are many sources of air pollution such as car fumes, factories, forest fires, overall city smog, etc.

Selecting Skincare Against Pollution

More and more companies are developing anti-pollution skin care products. Those products formulations are incorporating ingredients that will reduce oxidative stress, help to reflect pollution particles and rejuvenate damaged tissues.

To start with, selecting products for your skin care routine should always follow the simple and time tested approach of:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Hydrate
  3. Nourish
  4. Protect

As with any smart skin care routine it all starts with cleansing and unclogging skin surface. Exfoliation with scrubs or more frequent use of face clay mask will assist a great deal in this department.

Next step is to deliver a large dose of vitamins and minerals that can neutralize oxidative stress. This could be achieved by different plant extracts and oils. The queen of this category is Vitamin C, but other vitamins like E and D do play a significant role as well. Vitamin C is known to combat those nasty free radicals that are the main culprit for premature aging.

Vitamins alone will not complete the job so we need to incorporate products that can assist in suppressing melanin (natural skin pigment). The natural form of Vitamin B, known as Niacinamide, is a melanin blocker and as such can play a major role in formulating anti-pollution skin care products.

Another important step in anti-pollution skin care is to create a barrier between your skin and pollutants in the air. Natural oil extracts will help in creating this barrier. Look for products that combine light deep nourishing penetrating oils – such as jojoba, moringa, argan – and heavier oils to create a physical barrier between the skin and the environment – such as avocado, shea butter, coconut.

Finally, sunscreen plays important role in protection against pollution. We recommend using mineral based sunscreens as they will reflect the sun’s harmful rays and help your skin’s collagen from degrading. Sunscreens should be applied as the last step in your skin care routine and not combined with your moisturizer.

In summary, whichever skin care regime you choose, make sure it includes products that are formulated with rich mixture of vitamins, light and heavy oils, melanin suppressants and a full spectrum mineral based sunscreen. This will equip your skin with the best defence against the damages from pollution.