Whats causing the damage?
Pollutants are dangerous because of their size. At roughly 20 times smaller than the pores on your skin, damaging particles easily penetrate your skins natural barriers where they can start an oxidation process.
In an attempt to rid itself of these harmful environmental toxins our skin reacts by producing free radicals. However, this response has long term negative effects on our skin. In the article “Aging in a Polluted World” by Dr. Zoe Draelos, she explains this free radical reaction ultimately damages our collagen layer. Our skins natural production of Vitamin E is also diminished. This leads to a higher risk of wrinkles, hyper pigmentation and even skin cancer.
How to help?
Like most things, preventative measures are far more important than treating the damage later. Luckily, its not too difficult to remove these particles and reverse your skins free radical production.
- Gently cleanse your skin every night. It is important to remove any physical particles that you have been exposed to. If you are in a particularly high pollution environment then consider using a rotary brush like a clarisonic to aid in the removal.
- Use an antioxidant serum. Vitamins A, C and E as well as green tea and retinol (which is a derivative of vitamin A) are all excellent at fighting free radical damage. Apply an antioxidant serum morning and night to protect and rebuild any existing skin damage.
- 3. Broad Spectrum Sunscreen. This is essential for everyone, but if you are already being exposed to damaging pollutants sunscreens can act as a physical barrier for some of the environmental debris while also limiting other damage to your skin so you are better capable of fighting off other issues.
My two favorite osmosis products are both high in antioxidant fighting ingredients.
Rescue Serum This epidermal repair serum is perfect for combating the stresses acquired through environmental pollution.
Calm A vitamin A based serum, this product calms (duh) reduces inflammation and helps to build your skins natural protection against free radical damage.
The most important things to look for in sunscreens are spf 30 or higher and a broad spectrum designation. My absolute favorite brand of sunscreen is Image, they even have an anti pollution sunscreen! Search for local spas that sell the line to pick some up.
Neutrogena Oil Free Broad Spectrum spf 35 is my favorite drug store brand