We all know air pollution is bad news. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, free radicals, and something mysteriously named PM2.5 – they’re all floating around in various quantities causing a range of health problems from respiratory conditions and nervous system damage to eye irritation.
Recently, research has revealed that air pollution is just as bad for your skin as it is for the rest of your body – and not just in a making-your-face-dirty way. Because most of the pollutant particles are tinier than your skin’s pores, they don’t just sit on the surface; they get into the deeper layers where they cause damage and adverse reactions.
Let’s take a look at some of the effects of environmental pollution on your skin.
Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone
A 24-year-long study compared women in urban and rural environments and discovered that those exposed to increased levels of air pollution developed more skin discolouration and wrinkles than those living in cleaner air.
Loss of elasticity
When microscopic pollutants get into your pores, they cause inflammation, dehydration, and break down collagen which is the protein responsible for keeping your skin firm and glowing.
Skin barrier impairment
Pollution also breaks down your skin’s lipid barrier. Your skin is your body’s shield, andthe lipid barrier helps to keep out environmental toxins, infections, UV and other nasties and keep in moisture. A damaged lipid barrier will leave your skin looking dry and dull, andit will be more easily irritated.
Free radical damage
To get a wee bit technical: free radicals are molecules that have unpaired electrons, and they’re floating around looking for electrons to pair with. There are lots of different kinds, but the most common ones are oxygen-based, meaning we encounter a lot of them. They get into our skin and scavenge for matching electrons, damaging the skin’s DNA and accelerating the ageingprocess.
We talked about the skin’s microbiome in our last blog (if you missed it, you can check it out here). It’s essentially the community of friendly microbes that live on and in your skin, keeping it happy and healthy by staving off infection and calming inflammation. An unhappy microbiome can result in conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.
Exacerbation of skin conditions
Studies in Korea and France found that patients with chronic eczema experienced a correlation between the severity of their symptoms and the level of air pollution where they lived.
What can I do?
This might all sound a little bit alarming, but the good news is that there are ways to combat the effects of pollution on your skin and to protect yourself from them in the future. Thoroughly cleansing your face each dayis a great start(we love a double cleanse) , as well as drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet containing fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fats. You should also incorporate products into your skincare regime that directly target skin discolouration, repair damage, and restore your skin’s microbiome.
The last thing you want to do is put more chemicals on your skin to get rid of the ones that are already there. That’s why we’ve been working hard to bring you an all-natural range of products that will help you stave off the effects of environmental pollution on your precious skin. Our new Phyto+ Skin Defense range contains Photo botanical skin bioactive and probiotics that protect, brighten, hydrate, de-stress and balance.
We spent a year selecting the perfect ingredients to create uniquely powerful but gentle formulas. The Phyto+ range includes:
Now is a great time of year treat your skin to a winter holiday from city stresses. You can check out the Phyto+ Skin Defence range here. Like everything we produce at Verité Spa, these products are all natural, organic, cruelty-free and hand-blended in small batches for maximum efficacy.
by: Claire Wilkins
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