Expect to see more skincare and makeup formulated to tackle the effects of pollution on our skin in future. While research continues, there’s a correlation between pollution and skin health, resulting in an increase in wrinkles, age spots, irritation and sensitivity in pollution-prone, high-density cities.
Like UV damage from our childhood comes back to haunt us, there’s the possibility that the damage pollution is doing to your skin right now, will show up on your skin in ten years.
In New Zealand and Australia, while we generally have cleaner air, we can experience localised pollution in high traffic areas. So what – it’s still not that bad, right? Wrong. We have extremely high UV levels and this UV / pollution combo is bad news for Australasian skins. The UV interacts with pollutants sitting on our skin, and damages skin both on the surface and at a deeper, cellular level.
It’s not just traffic pollution you need to worry about: the wide range of environments you encounter every day add to a toxic mix. Fireplaces and wood burners, fumes from chemicals used at your workplace, cigarette smoke, the greasy smoke that came off the pan when you cooked your Saturday brunch bacon. Yes, it all gets in. Or, at least, on your skin, where it can accelerate a range of issues including:
- Increased melatonin, leading to age spots
- Collagen breakdown
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Skin sensitivity
- Skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and hives
So, start taking some easy steps to protect yourself against pollution’s premature ageing properties.
- Double-cleanse. Do a double-cleanse at night to ensure you’ve completely removed the day’s accumulation of pollutants sitting on your skin’s surface.
Hint: Cleanse your skin as soon as you can at the end of the day, don’t leave it until bedtime!
- Daily defence. Moisturisers don’t just keep hydration in, they help maintain your skin’s natural barrier function. Go one step further and incorporate a facial oil into your skincare regime which strengthens it further to help keep pollution at bay.
Hint: Use a facial oil under your moisturizer for extra protection.
- Drink water. We’ve all heard drinking water keeps your skin hydrated, but did you know this hydration naturally protects your skin barrier?
Hint: Struggling to drink more water? Start a new habit by drinking one glass each morning to kick start your day with extra hydration.
- At home facials. Masks boost your skin with a variety of benefits, from hydrating to calming, or deeply cleansing pores to remove pollution and dirt. Use them regularly to counteract the damage caused by pollution – you can dial up your usage to 2-3 times a week.
Hint: If budget allows, use a variety of masks across the week, to gain the benefits of different formulations.