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The Real Reason You're Getting Wrinkles — and What to Do About It

You may not be able to control the pollution levels in your environment, but now you can protect your skin from wrinkle-causing smog
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You're probably well aware of the fact that the sun's rays can do serious damage on your skin. But when it comes to wrinkles, dullness and dark spots, that big spiky ball in the sky isn't your only nemesis. Exposure to pollution can be just as bad.

If you think about it, it's no surprise that pollution wreaks havoc on skin. Picture a smoggy day — it even looks pore-clogging, dirty and dangerous. And the reality is worse than you imagine: Pollution creates free radicals that break down collagen and elastin leading to wrinkles, sagging and pigmentation.

If you want to learn about the different types of pollution and how to best fight each one, read "Is Your City Giving You Wrinkles?"

If you could care less about ozone vs. particulate matter, keep clicking. There is a host of skin care products designed to block pollution before it damages skin. And these products are fabulous even if they weren't protecting you from environment aggressors — they just happen to do that, too.

Image via Imaxtree

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Fight Pollution With an Oil Cleanser
Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve, $38, gives new meaning to wiping away the day. In addition to removing makeup and your skin's excess oils, this boss of a cleanser (see what we did there?) also helps dissolve micro-pollution particles, leaving behind, soft, smooth totally cleansed skin. The formula is chock-full of good-for-skin ingredients, including beta-hydroxy and alpha-hydroxy acids, as well as revitalizing vitamin C and inflammation-fighting turmeric.

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Fight Pollution With a Magnet
The future of beauty has arrived, and it involves magnets — yes, like the ones currently affixing your grocery list to your fridge (well, kinda).

The antioxidant-rich E.L.F. Beauty Shield Magnetic Mask Kit, $24, helps minimize the appearance of pores, while protecting your skin from the effects of environmental stressors with ingredients like vitamins C and E. Slather it on like you would any other mask, but step away from the water faucet when it comes time to remove it. Instead, you'll use the included magnet wand. Hover the wand over your skin, and watch the mask lift right off of your face. The result? Skin that feels refreshed — not stripped. The product is part of E.L.F.'s new Beauty Shield collection, a seven-piece line that's all about warding off the effects of pollution.

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Fight Pollution With Pearls
This sleek bottle full of serum-suspended pearls isn't just amazing vanity candy. The opalescent orbs contained within La Prairie's White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion, $520, hold an anti-pollution matrix that shields skin against atmospheric pollutants, brightening vitamin C and skin-firming golden caviar extract. The ingredients work together to brighten the dullness and dark spots caused by the environment, protect skin and calm redness for an all-over glow.

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Fight Pollution With SPF
Clearly, sunscreen protects your skin from the sun, but it also protects skin from pollution — especially when the SPF is bolstered by built-in antioxidant ingredients. Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield, $68, is all that and more. It contains a DNA enzyme complex that helps skin repair itself, as well as smart polymers that form an invisible shield over skin to protect it from pollution. To boot, its whopping SPF 50 is courtesy of micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (translation: maximum skin protection in a lighter-than-air formula).

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