4 Ways To Stop Pollution From Damaging Your Skin
Writer: Farah Karim
Aside from affecting our environment, pollution from factories, cars, buses and trains is also affecting our skin. It’s not something we think about on the daily basis but it’s harming us more than we realise. And it doesn’t stop there, you also have to be cautious of the thinning ozone layer which we can’t escape from as long as the sun is shining.
A study done by online beauty retailer Escentual found that living in a polluted area ages your skin by over a year once you’ve reached the age of 40. After that, your skin ages an additional six months for every decade. So when you’re at the age of 60, your skin will be 62.5 years old — and that doesn’t include lifestyle or environmental factors. Yikes.
What kind of pollutants are out there?
Everyone knows about UV (ultraviolet) rays, but the air around us contains so much more than that. Air pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), oxides, particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3) and cigarette smoke are all harmful to the skin when you’re constantly exposed to it. It can cause skin ageing (like we mentioned previously!), allergic reactions, hyperpigmentation, dullness, dehydration or worse, skin cancer.
What can we do about it? While there is no way to completely avoid pollution, especially if you live in the city, there are ways to minimise its harmful effects.
1. Properly cleanse your face
If you’re someone who lives in the city and is constantly out and about, cleansing twice a day is recommended. What you want to do is remove any pollutants that’s clinging onto your face. This way, you’re preventing dirt from sitting on your skin and also ensure that it doesn’t block your pores.
Exfoliating is the next step after cleansing. While cleansing cleans the pollutants on your skin, exfoliating unclogs your pores and removes any dead skin cells. Doing this once or twice a week is good enough because you don’t want to scrub your face raw and get rid of the good oils that your body naturally produces.
Moisturising isn’t just to make sure your isn’t dehydrated. You can find different moisturisers out there that have some SPF in it or are specifically made to combat pollutants. It acts as another protective barrier and with active ingredients inside, it’ll help to hydrate and strengthen your skin by combating inflammation and provide your face with the right antioxidants.
4. Protect your skin from the sun
Some of us don’t realise it but wearing sunblock is a must. Not only are UV-rays super harmful to the skin but they also amplify the effects of pollutants. Skipping this step before going out may introduce you to a new set of problems such as hyperpigmentation, premature ageing and skin cancer.