Photo Credit: facebook.com/DrBarbaraSturm
Just when you thought you had all of your skin’s bases covered by shielding it against the damaging UV rays and free radicals generated by the sun, there’s another environmental factor that could be leading to premature aging, irritation and other less-than-desirable side effects: Pollution.
From car exhaust and toxic chemicals to ozone and super-fine particles suspended in the air, research has begun to shed light on the damaging effects the indoor and outdoor worlds around us can have on our skin (especially if you live in an urban environment). The skin’s barrier seems to bear the biggest brunt from exposure to pollution, which can, in turn, lead to dehydration and increased sensitivity. Chemicals in the air are also a source of free radicals (similar to those associated with UV exposure), and they can lead to cellular changes that lead to collagen breakdown, premature aging, discoloration and potentially skin cancer.
So what’s one to do, if moving out to the country and going off the grid isn’t an option? You can step up your skincare to counteract the effects of pollution, and increase your skin’s resistance to other types of environmental damage while you’re at it.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($165)
Considered to be the gold standard of antioxidant protection by many dermatologists, this vitamin C serum not only protects your skin from free radicals generated by the sun, infrared radiation (IRA) and ozone pollution, it improves the appearance of existing fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness and sun damage as well. It’s also been proven to reduce post-laser downtime, making it well worth the investment.
Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($43)
With mineral- and chemical-based UV filters for optimal SPF 50+ protection against damaging UV rays, this lightweight yet powerful daily-use sunscreen also features an antioxidant-packed blend of Alpine sanicle, cantaloupe melon and black currant extracts to shield skin from an array of environmental aggressors, including pollution. P.S. It’s also available in three tints for those days when you want to skip the makeup.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops ($145)
Designed to protect the skin from both airborne pollution and potential light-based skin damage caused by blue light emitted from phones and computer screens, this extra line of antioxidant-based defense features a complex of marine microbes (from French Polynesia, no less) along with moisturizing hyaluronic acid and soothing cocoa seed extract, which work synergistically to reinforce the skin’s barrier.
Chantecaille Anti-Pollution Mattifying Cream ($98)
If you’re prone to blackheads and enlarged pores, pollution may be making matters worse. This lightweight, whipped moisturizer contains white horehound stem cell and lentil extracts to instantly enhance the skin’s radiance and pinkness, as its antioxidants and metal-binding complex fortify the skin’s defenses against the effects of urban dust and tech-based light pollution.
REN Clean Skincare Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist ($38)
You apply your antioxidant and SPF in the morning but they likely need a mid-day boost to maintain their protection, and that’s where this mist comes in. Formulated with corn and yeast extracts that form a weightless barrier to literally block chemicals and free radicals from coming in contact with the skin, plus zinc and manganese amino acids courtesy of Wakame seaweed from the south of France for an extra dose of antioxidants, simply give yourself a spritz anytime or anywhere, and you can use it on your hair, too.
NOTE: All products were purchased or sampled in store. All opinions are my own.