With London breaching the annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days at the beginning of this year, it can seem that no matter how regularly you apply your SPF and how diligently you look after your skin, you are truly at mercy of the elements. While the sun remains a huge factor in skin-aging, if you’re overlook air pollution in your routine, you could be sacrificing the most crucial and important part of your skincare routine.
“Science has shown that repetitive exposure to air pollution is associated with the premature ageing of the skin”, says Dr Levy. “In fact, the protective ability of the skin is not unlimited and problems arise when exposure to environmental stressors overwhelms its natural defensive potential. Exposure to pollution and UV-rays result in significant oxidative stress effects and can induce damage both to the epidermis and deeper dermis with reduced levels of vitamins E & C, interference with the skin’s barrier and chronic inflammation and irritation. All these direuptions can then decrease the quality of collagen and elastin and accelerate the signs of premature ageing of the face, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, dryness and pigment spots”.
But what exactly are free radicals? In everyday terms, free radicals are reactive molecules – starting as normal cells, they are mutated by pollutants in the smoggy city air and as a result are the nasties that are most associated with ageing. Our skin is our largest organ, therefore high susceptible to the nightmares that pollution causes and we need to make sure that we are looking after it.
Working and living in the city, it is a given that we cannot escape the air but in its defence, against age sports, rosacea and wrinkles we can certainly have a great go at fighting for our skin. We have outlined the best products on the market at the moment to add to your pollution fighting arsenal.
Specifically designed to fight pollution, this powerhouse product contains a blend of glycolic and lactic acid to clear away the build-up of dead skin cells, bacteria and pollutants. Organic rice extracts physically exfoliates the skin to refine skin texture and sodium PCA adds firmness and moisture to the skin. A cleanser and resurfacing face mask in one, this is the ultimate multi-action pollution fighter.
Protecting the skin from environmental and urban stress, this handy spray strengthens the skins natural defences making it better equipped to combat photo-ageing. It also feels heavenly on the skin on a hot day.
An anti-pollution scrub and mask? Yes please! The clever blend of kaolin clay and beads remove dirt and bacteria the skin, while the trendy charcoal base (famous for its abilities as a skin saviour) clear spots. Yes, pollution can be an acne aggressor!