How Pollution Affects Your Skin
Air pollution is rapidly increasing, which is proving to be detrimental to the planet, the ozone layer, animal ecosystems, our health, and overall quality of life. With all the harm it’s doing to the environment and everything within it, it’s no surprise that air pollution is also taking a toll on our skin. If you live in an urban city you likely notice the air pollution every time you breathe in a particularly smoggy part of town, but even small rural towns are exposed to pollution, so everyone and their skin can be negatively affected.
It may seem like a battle that’s impossible to win, as one single person can’t possibly stop pollution and save the planet, but there are a few steps you can take that will at least help save your skin. Cleure offers a wide array of natural, antioxidant rich skin care products that will aid in the fight against pollution’s negative effects on your skin. Keep reading to find out the dirty details of dirty air and how clean skin care can clean it up.
EFFECTS OF POLLUTION
Fires, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, smog, manufacturing byproducts such as phthalates from plastic, and particles released from aerosol cans are tiny enough to be absorbed by our pores, and cause lasting damage to the skin. Particulate matter clogs pores and cuts off oxygen supply to the skin, causing breakouts, and if and when it penetrates to deeper layers of skin, that’s where the more permanent damage like wrinkles and discoloration begin to breed.
Clogged pores and acne make sense — obviously the dust and smoke from pollution aren’t going to mingle well with our pores, but what is it about pollution that causes rapid aging? Well to go a little deeper, the particles released in the air contain free radicals which are chemically unstable atoms that have an unpaired electron. Electrons don’t like being single so they scavenge for another electron that they can take from your body. If it latches onto one of your cell’s electrons, your cell structure is damaged, and the new cells grow back incorrectly which, in return, causes aging.
All together the various pollutants in the air can not only trigger acne, irritation, and aging, but also the following skin problems:
- Brown spots
- Enlarged pores
- Excessive dryness
- Uneven, dull skin tone
- Increased sensitivity and redness
- Deterioration of vital vitamins, nutrients, and collagen
- Outbreaks of skin conditions such as eczema and hives
WHAT YOU CAN DO
With all those toxins invading your pores throughout the day, your skin needs a detox. At night it’s crucial to deeply cleanse and exfoliate the skin with products that are strong enough to penetrate and clear the pores of pollutants, but gentle enough to not irritate the skin and cause further redness and breakouts. A mild cleanser followed by a gentle exfoliating scrub should do the trick, and a swipe of alcohol free toner will aid in both removing the last remaining particles and restoring skin’s pH which is thrown off by pollutants.
Use a Moisturizer Packed with Antioxidants
As pollution weakens skin’s barrier, it loses its ability to retain moisture which can lead to dryness and rapid aging. Using an antioxidant rich moisturizer will restore hydration and nutrients like vitamins C and E that are stripped due to pollution. Antioxidants aid in neutralizing those free radicals that are detrimental to skin by giving some of their electrons so they’re not taken from your skin cells. Our body produces some antioxidants on its own, especially if you have an antioxidant rich diet (think foods such as berries, green tea, and nuts), but they’re not always enough. A day cream and night cream with antioxidants are the building blocks to a stronger barrier against pollution and free radicals.
It’s pretty common knowledge that the sun’s UV rays are the most harmful environmental factor contributing to skin discoloration and expedited aging. With pollution breaking down the ozone layer, more of the sun’s UV rays are able to reach the surface of the earth and, therefore, your vulnerable skin. Even though the particles from pollution are a risk, free radicals are even more present in UV radiation. This makes it imperative to apply sunscreen daily to prevent not only sunburns, but the acceleration of aging, inflammation, discoloration, and any other skin conditions you may be affected by. Since your goal is to keep chemicals away from your skin, use a natural mineral sunscreen with a zinc oxide base, not a chemical one, to further protect your skin.