The skin’s barrier is designed to keep pollution out, but unfortunately, it’s not completely impenetrable and these particles are absorbed into the skin on a daily basis, contributing to premature aging.
Ground-level ozone is a gas created when toxic emissions from cars and factories combine with sunlight. The resulting molecule is highly reactive and causes free radicals to form that can damage the lipids and proteins of the skin. The other main pollution source is solid dirt particles, which sit on the surface of the skin and increase inflammation.
While looking older offers legitimate concerns, there are more immediate consequences as well. Airborne pollutants cause a chemical reaction with your natural oils, changing them to a waxier consistency that can clog pores. And those suffering from rosacea can experience flare-ups due to irritants in the air.
Your Four-Step Pollution Protection Plan
1. Power Clean
The particulate matter in the atmosphere is up to 20 times smaller than your pores. Daily deep cleaning will remove these microscopic particles before they can cause inflammation and irritation. In most cases, our hands alone cannot effectively remove the tiny particles, making a cleansing brush a powerful anti-aging tool.
2. Spike Your Skincare With Antioxidants
Add an antioxidant serum to your routine. These concentrated treatments deliver high levels of agents that neutralize free radicals to help decrease inflammation and lipid breakdown. Eating antioxidants will also fight pollution, so make sure you’re chomping on colorful fruits and vegetables with every meal.
3. Stay Sun Safe
You already know wearing sunscreen every day, no matter what, is the number one commandment in skincare. UV protection is even more crucial in light of the new knowledge about the effects of pollution. For additional defense, make sure your daily SPF includes extra skincare ingredients. Antioxidants will help fight damage from pollution. Vitamin C can also help boost collagen production.
4. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Hydrating agents help strengthen the barrier function of the skin, and a healthy barrier can protect against pollution and irritation. For those with dry or easily irritated skin, add a boost of omega-3 fatty acids to your moisturizer.