How do you protect your skin from polluted air? Yeah, you might want to read on.
It's no secret that certain outside influences can wreak havoc on our skin: the sun, smoking and stress are just a few of the things that we've been warned about, time and time again. (There's nothing like being told that stress is harmful to make you more stressed, right?) But one thing that we've only recently begun to hear about that's supposedly destroying our skin is...the air. Yes, the stuff you've been breathing in, day in and day out.
More specifically, polluted air has been found to cause hyperpigmentation and a lackluster complexion, as well as speed up skin's aging and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Things like smog, particulate matter (tiny particles of dirt, basically) and other general grime in the air attach to your skin throughout the day (gross, we know), breaking down the lipids that contribute to a healthy skin barrier, causing inflammation, and irritating pre-existing skin conditions like eczema and hives.
"More than 90% of the urban population lives with pollution levels in excess of the World Health Organization recommended limits," says Chloe Smith, National Education Lead at SkinCeuticals Canada. "[This] causes free radicals that destroy collagen and increase sensitivity levels." Smith recommends adding antioxidants, specifically ones that are Vitamin C-heavy, to your morning routine to combat the effects of pollution. "The daytime is when most people are environmentally exposed, and antioxidants are a shield from environmental pollution," says Smith.
In fact, Vitamin C is so crucial because it can actually "stop free radical damage in its tracks," says Lindsay Barras, Education Manager at Dermalogica. "It also helps stimulate cell turnover and brightens the skin." Products that are rich in antioxidants form an invisible barrier between your skin and the pollution in the air, not allowing it to cling onto skin. Combining this with proper use of sunscreen and an effective exfoliator to scrub everything away at the end of the day, is the best way to combat the aging, damaging effects of the world we live in. "Antioxidants layered with SPF offer the best level of protection from all environmental aggressors, [including] UV rays and pollution," says Smith.
"Pollutants come from a variety of sources," explains Smith. "Car exhausts, factories, power plants, even the agricultural industry" all contribute to the pollution that's harming our skin—just in case you thought you were safe if you lived outside of a big city.
So unless your plan to combating pollution in the air is to never go outside again (hey, it is tempting), we've rounded up 5 anti-pollution skin-care products below, from mists to exfoliators to serums, to use in conjunction with your favourite SPF—every day; yes, even if it's not sunny out—that will keep pollution from clinging to your skin like a magnet every time you step out the door.
ADD THESE TO YOUR REGIMEN
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $175, skinceuticals.ca. Chantecaille Anti-Pollution Mattifying Cream, $132, holtrenfrew.com. Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, $83, dermalogica.ca. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50, $78, sephora.com. Ren Skincare Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, $49, urbanoutfitters.com.