Pollution is a problem. Not just for our planet, but for our body and our skin, and it’s getting harder for many of us to avoid. Day in, day out, we’re exposed to pollution in various forms. New and ongoing research explains, not only does pollution pose serious risks to our health, but it can also affect the way our skin looks, feels and ages. Sorry, city dwellers, but living in an urban area exposes you to even more environmental triggers, such as dust particles, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, pesticides, and heavy-metal emissions. Over time, these stressors are known to break down the skin barrier, leading to damage made visible through signs of dryness, dullness, sensitivity, uneven skin tone, blemishes, and premature ageing.
But there’s hope yet! What pollution-stressed skin needs are the right products, to help maintain a healthy skin barrier and fortify its protection. We’ve compiled a list of precautionary ingredients you’ll want to start using today. And because layers offer the best benefits, we’ll go product by product, showing you how to safeguard your skin care routine – every day, twice a day.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ANTI POLLUTION FACE WASH
Ingredients that go deep – unclog pores, clarify and revitalise skin
City life can clog pores and leave your skin feeling rough and looking dull. Cleansing is your first step to a healthy skin barrier. Not only will it help to sweep away particle matter accumulated during the day and remove dead cells that built-up overnight, but proper cleansing also prepares the skin for the active ingredients that hydrate, nourish, and protect afterwards.
Look for a deep cleansing face wash with exfoliating abilities. Exfoliating regularly helps resurface the skin by increasing cell turnover, which in turn improves skin radiance. Salicylic Acid (BHA) is an ideal ingredient for city-skin because it works to remove impurities directly from pores and exfoliate skin.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ANTI POLLUTION SERUM
Ingredients to hydrate, soothe and protect
Our skin acts as a shield protecting us from sun and pollutants. And if it isn’t cared for, its defence mechanisms become overwhelmed: this is what is called oxidative stress. To counteract free radical-induced damage, bring an extra layer of hydration and protection to your routine. Remember, the goal is a healthy skin barrier. Here are some top-notch ingredients that can help to rebalance, replenish and strengthen the skin – and keep it that way!
Give your skin a dose of vitamins! Vitamin C delivers skin-brightening benefits to help combat uneven tones and discolouration, plus it’s rich with antioxidants to help protect skin. Or supercharge your serum with postbiotics to help purify and rebalance tired, stressed skin. And last but certainly not least, varied antioxidants are known to help to improve skin’s natural defence against oxidative stress. Check your product labels for the skin-boosting benefits of these common antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, flavonoids.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ANTI POLLUTION FACE CREAM
Ingredients to moisturise, nourish and protect
Anti-pollution skin care is making waves, with the promise to fight pollutions’ destructive effects and protect stressed skin. Effective pollution-fighting products will include ingredients that reinforce hydration, strengthen the skin barrier, and fortify its protection.
When looking for a Daytime moisturiser, SPF is a critical element. Some Day Creams are formulated with an extra layer of protection, shielding you from carbon particles while helping to keep moisture close to the skin. Look for a protective film, in addition to ingredients that ensure hydration. Hyaluronic acid (in various weights) hydrates the skin surface as well as its deeper layers, making it an ideal ingredient for city-skin.