How to Shield Your Skin from Pollution

Recently, anti-pollution skincare products have flooded the market. Is this a new promotional gimmick? What exactly are the effects of pollution on your skin?

There are studies that show women living in big cities age more quickly than those living in more rural areas. However, pollution is not just in the city but in your home, in the air and in the water. As well as pollution, factors such as weather, travel, change of seasons, and stress, contribute to skin fragility.

The impact of toxic air and microscopic particles on skin and complexion are real, and second only to the sun’s aging effects. Pollution-related skin concerns are diverse. Researchers have found that the ozone in photochemical smog appears to speed up skin aging and interfere with wound-healing processes. Skin exposed to pollution also shows a higher sebum secretion rate. Squalene and vitamin E, the main antioxidants at the surface of the skin, decrease and cause the complexion to become dry.

The overall results are dull skin, inflammation, sensitivity, blemishes, clogged pores and accelerated aging. It seems that in the future using anti-pollution products will be as common as slathering on sun protection creams to fight UV light.

Following is a list of anti-pollution products that either prevent or rectify skin damage caused by pollution. Some can also provide a physical shield.

linique, City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub

This five-minute dual-action detoxifying and exfoliating clay mask purifies and polishes your skin for a delightful, deep-clean treatment. Natural bamboo charcoal and kaolin clay help remove pollution and impurities, while natural silica beads gently refine texture. We recommend finding a cleanser that isn’t too harsh otherwise the skin is fully exposed again.

$36 sephora.com

Attitude, Super Leaves Natural Shower Gel Regenerating

Thanks to the genius of science, this shower gel features active ingredients directly extracted from leaves. It is enriched with white tea leaf extract, known for its antioxidant, soothing and protective properties. And it contains Moringa seed extract, with cleansing and purifying power. This helps decrease the adhesion of pollutants and detoxifies the skin. You will also love its aroma reminiscent of guava and berries.

$12 well.ca

J. One, Red Jelly Pack

Red algae is a super potent antioxidant that helps fight the visible effects of pollution and aging. It can make your skin appear brighter and plumper, with nearly 6,000 times more antioxidant content than vitamin C. This jelly keeps your skin hydrated and primed for makeup with hyaluronic acid and fruit extracts such as papaya. It also protects against free radicals and visibly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for bouncier, smoother skin.

$51 glowrecipe.com

First Aid Beauty, Triple Protection Skin Tint W/ Goji Berry

This weightless, complexion fluid adds natural-looking colour to even skin tone, and conceal imperfections while helping protect against the harmful effects of urban pollution. The superfood-powered formula contains antioxidant-rich ingredients including goji berry, astaxanthin (a reddish pigment found in seafood), and vitamin C, helping to shield skin from environmental aggressors. It also contains the hydrating, restorative ingredient alteromonas ferment extract (found in deep sea algae) and zinc oxide that helps protect skin from photo-aging. 

$42 sephora.com

Lancôme, Advanced Génifique Sensitive Antioxidant Serum

This fresh, dual antioxidant serum soothes skin sensitivities such as tightness, itchiness and redness due to dryness. Over time, this serum helps strengthen skin against free radicals induced by UVA rays, infrared radiation, and pollution. The end result is an improved, healthier-looking complexion. 

$99 sephora.com

Kiehl’s, Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque

Lay back and let this masque work to replenish hydration and reduce the visible signs of pollution, making dull, unhealthy-looking skin glow again. Formulated with cilantro and orange extract, it protects your skin against environmental aggressors and helps prevent pollutants from adhering to skin.

$23-50 kiehls.com

Shu Uemura, Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum

Your hair also needs to be protected against pollution. This leave-in combination of two serums nourishes with vitamins and shields your hair’s surface while delivering deep hydration.
The luxurious formula combats moisture loss and protects against lifestyle-related, environmental damage such as multiple product use, stress, and air pollutants. Use it and your hair will have a soft glow, supple shine, and a healthy look and feel. 

$50 shuuemura.ca

Sunday Riley, C.E.O antiOXIDANT Protect and Repair Moisturiser

This rich moisturizer delivers fast-absorbing hydration, while protecting and repairing visible effects of aging and pollution exposure. It is enriched with powerful, lipid-soluble, advanced vitamin C.  Moisturize the skin, it visibly brightens, supports natural collagen, and expertly fights the five visible signs of environmental and micropollution-induced skin damage – sensitivity, dehydration, dullness, uneven tone, and premature lines and wrinkles. 

$85 sephora.com 

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