Don't Let Pollution Get Under Your Skin

We’re all up to speed with what pollution is but what the bleep is anti-pollution, and what does it mean in terms of skin care and protection?

We’re all up to speed with what pollution is but what the bleep is anti-pollution, and what does it mean in terms of skin care and protection?

Our skin today is subjected to all manner of environmental stressors that even our parents’ generation weren’t exposed to.

Indoors, we’re exposed to air conditioning, heat pumps, rapid changes in temperature from being in and out of buildings and vehicles, dehydration following air travel, and even airborne formaldehyde from cleaning products. Yikes!

Outside we enter a whole other realm of pollutants, with ambient air pollution produced by car emissions, soot, dust, methane gases, tobacco smoke, heavy metals, nitrogen oxides, extreme weather temperature, as well as a depleted ozone layer supercharging our sun exposure and oxidation from harmful ultraviolet radiation. And even blue light from smartphones and tablets is causing low level skin damage. Double yikes!

It’s literally #firstworldproblems.

Why our skin matters

Our skin the heaviest and largest organ in our body, comprising one-seventh of our body weight with a surface area of up to 2 square metres and it’s a very important one at that.

Skin acts as a barrier and protector from moisture, sun, too much heat or cool, toxic substances and of course, germs.

It also regulates our body temperature, and deep in the skin layers is a “storage tank” that holds water and fat, and produces hormones vital to the optimal performance of our entire body, and enables efficient metabolic function.

Our skin is definitely not something we want compromised.

How pollution impacts our skin

Until recently, researchers had only looked at how pollution affect the lungs and cardiovascular system. But now attention has turned to how pollutants impact the skin’s integrity.

Pollution and toxic substances from airborne micro-particles or toxins directly on the skin has been shown to contribute significantly to skin ageing. These tiny particles are sized between 2.5 and 10 micrometres, significantly smaller than our pore size.

When toxic micro-particles get into our skin, they act as free radicals, causing oxidative stress and damage through the process of oxidation, negatively altering lipids, proteins, and DNA in the skin.

This damages skin at the cellular level leading to hyperpigmentation and blotchy skin, dull skin, rosacea, sensitive skin and irritations such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, and premature aging.

Love the skin you’re in

This is not a story of doom and gloom however. The power is in your hands to mitigate this kind of skin damage by paying attention to the products you’re using and implementing a potent skin care regime that boosts collagen production. And there is no better time to start than right now.

Pollutants cause oxidative stress. A normal functioning body has a huge capacity for neutralising oxidants with its own natural antioxidant process before damage occurs. But given that we’re exposed to more pollutants and toxins than ever, the body needs a helping hand in this process, and they’re called antioxidants.

Seek out moisturisers, masks, UVA and UVB protection, and serums that contain vitamin C, retinol (vitamin A), vitamin E, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, niacinamide (vitamin B3), polyphenol (plant-based vitamin), flavonoids, the “mother of all antioxidants”, glutathione, plus omega fatty acids which hydrate skin. These goodies from nature also have anti-carcinogenic properties and stabilise the epidermal lipid barrier so more of these yummy vitamins can be absorbed.

As well as reducing your toxic load, these ingredients repair, nourish and protect your skin while reducing skin inflammation, stimulating collagen production, brightening your skin, creating even skin tone and giving you the youthful glow you deserve.

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