Have you ever wondered about the effects of pollution on your skin? If you live in a metropolitan area, a daily intake of dusky smog is a necessary evil — but what are the exact effects it has on your skin? And is there anything you can do to temper said effects? We chatted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara to find out.
Gohara explains that, much like UV light, pollution can affect skin health. "We recommend as much protection as possible," she says. "There are studies that show that women living in big cities age more quickly than those living in more rural settings. It is thought that urban dwellers are more subject to the skin effects of pollution."
Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your skin safe. "Protecting your skin from pollutants starts with cleansing," says Gohara. She recommends finding a cleanser that isn't too harsh (such as the Dove Beauty Bar), as your skin's natural lipids and nutrients also aid in protection. You see, your skin's barrier function is essential when it comes to warding off damage. As Gohara puts it, "An intact, well-protected barrier can more effectively deflect harmful chemicals."
In addition to cleansing thoroughly and keeping that skin barrier intact, you're also going to want to add some antioxidants to your routine, since they can help to fight the free radical damage caused by pollution. Gohara says that vitamins C and E, as well as phloretin and ferulic acid, are particularly good for this.
Whether it's ingredients that help with barrier function, cleansers targeted at pollutants or free radical-fighting antioxidants, there's a growing cadre of anti-pollution skin care products out there. Read on for 15 of our favorites.
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Kill two birds with one stone with this update on Urban Decay's cult favorite All Nighter setting spray. The fine mist comfortably locks in your makeup, while a combination of minerals (including zinc, magnesium and copper) help protect your complexion from free radicals.
The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1%, $8.80
EUK 134 is a super-powered antioxidant that is unique in the fact that it actually regenerates itself to keep your skin protected against free radicals around the clock.
In addition to protecting you from UV rays, this sunscreen also forms a protective barrier that prevents fine dust particles (you know, like the kind you might see thanks to pollution) from adhering to your skin. Pretty nifty, right?
Fresh's latest and greatest is something of a star: it's made with kombucha (aka fermented tea) that helps provide anti-pollution protection and is packed with hyaluronic acid and glycerin for a dose of humectant moisturizer. The weightless hydration boost is instantaneous and the longer-term protective effects are like the cherry on top.