What’s pollution doing to our skin?
These days, everyone is more concerned about air pollution. How much of it we're exposed to each day may be up for debate, but one thing is for sure: it affects human health worldwide, especially the health of urban dwellers. Those of us living in populous areas are regularly exposed to both outdoor and indoor aggressors through air, water, even our own skin. From exhaust fumes to UVs to air conditioning, we can’t get away from it.
How pollution damages healthy skin
Lucky for us, skin is an amazing organ. If our skin-barrier functions are healthy, it will block many pollutants from penetrating our skin. The problem, though, is that prolonged or repeated exposure to high levels of pollutants compromises skin-barrier functions.
Lipids and collagen break down. Keratin proteins, which protect skin from dehydration, inflammation and allergies, are destroyed. The quality and quantity of sebum we produce is modified, so we develop rashes, dilated pores, spots, acne, dullness. We experience premature skin aging, or even worse, dangerous skin illnesses. There's no doubt about it, pollution defense is the new daily skincare mission! And this mission should begin at an early age as it is no less important than brushing your teeth or any other daily ritual. Starting with simple steps is just fine. But, as we age and/or expose our skin to higher levels of pollutants, we have to adopt more sophisticated anti-pollution skincare routines. You may not see the grey residue of pollution on your face but, trust us, it's building up under your skin!
3 Steps to Healthy Skin
Fortunately, it's never too late to remove and/or minimize pollution damage. Here's our expert advice for developing an intuitive, efficient anti-pollution skincare routine.
Even sensitive skin needs to be gently cleansed twice a day. Your morning cleanse will help clear your complexion and control excess sebum. Your nightly cleanse will remove pollutants and make-up residue. Choose a delicate formula according to your skin type and needs: cleansing milk, micellar water, foam, lotion. Use whatever makes you feel clean and most comfortable.
Moisturizing will help maintain and/or restore your cutaneous barrier, preventing dehydration and inflammation, skin’s number one enemy and the major cause of premature aging and dullness. To ensure healthy skin, apply morning and evening, a cream, emulsion or gel specifically formulated to combat pollution. Bear in mind that you also need to hydrate your skin from the inside. Drink 1,5 to 2 liters of water each day, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those which help control oxidative stress: blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, artichokes, kale, spinach, beans. Oh, and here's some good news: dark chocolate is packed with good-for-you antioxidants! Ultimately, the more hydrated you are, the plumper and more radiant your skin will be.
3. Added anti-pollution skincare essential
Use a 30+ SPF moisturizer when your skin is exposed to both UVs and pollution during the day. UVs, especially UVAs, increase the harmful effects of pollutants.