For those of us living in bustling cities, long-term skin damage from environmental pollution is a rising concern. Daily exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause oxidative stress, leading to premature ageing, inflammation and pigmentation of the skin.
Below, we recommend some products to incorporate into your current skincare routine, specially formulated to soothe and protect your skin from the harmful effects of pollution.
Extra antioxidants are beneficial to help neutralise the higher levels of free radicals produced on your skin by pollution, and will help to soothe the skin from sensitivity and irritation from environmental stressors. The Green Tea Purifying Face Masks by Foreo are rich in antioxidants from Japanese green tea and Ulmus Davidiana root extract. These masks are ideal for oily/combination skin, removing impurities and build-up for those in need of a skin refresh. You can use the masks alone or with the FOREO UFO smart mask device to unlock the formula’s full potential.
Premature ageing is often caused by moisture loss, and heavy exposure to pollution can lead to accelerated dryness. By regularly topping up the moisture levels of your skin and using a thicker moisturiser, you’re rehydrating and creating a barrier from the damage. The Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer by Farmacy locks in moisture using shea butter and Vitamin E, while the plant-based ceramides replenish the skin barrier. The buckwheat honey is the hero ingredient here, used to destress the skin with antioxidants. Plus, added fig fruit extract to leave skin smooth and supple.
A skincare expert known for battling environmental stressors using gentle, non-toxic ingredients. The Anti-Pollution Drops by Dr. Barbara Sturm are an example of her pioneering in protective skincare. Formulated with her special Skin Protect Complex, it includes extracts from marine microorganisms to help strengthen the skin against urban pollution. Sturm also uses Cocoa Seed Extract to block HEV light (blue light) from penetrating through, as she believes digital pollution from electronic screens contributes to accelerated ageing.
Consistent exposure to pollution can lead to a dull, tired complexion. To brighten and boost your tone, invest in a quality Vitamin C cleanser that won’t be too harsh on your sensitised skin. The Essential-C Cleanser by Murad works to remove dirt and impurities left on your skin from the day’s exposure and infuse skin with glow-boosting essential nutrients and a refreshed feeing using Vitamins A, C and E. The formula also includes Allantoin, a popular and trusted ingredient found in Korean skincare used to soothe dry, irritated skin.
We’ve discussed the importance of keeping your skin hydrated to combat pollution, and that includes switching to a gentle or oil-based cleanser that won’t strip your skin of natural oils. The Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil by Medik8 can be used as part of a double-cleansing routine, to gently remove even the heaviest make-up without drying the skin. Using rich lipids, like Omega 6 and safflower oil, and anti-pollution moringa seed extract, this oil-to-milk cleanser removes impurity build-up without dehydrating your skin unlike many foaming cleansers, and protects against harsh elements.
Clean, bioactive formulas with a zero-waste philosophy, REN is an all-rounder for anti-pollution, environmentally friendly skincare. The Clean Skincare Glow & Protect Serum by REN works to reduce the signs of photo-ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, while simultaneously boosting dullness and undesired pigmentation. Using only clean ingredients, the formula is designed to reduce irritation, with three types of Vitamin C and deeply hydrating Glycogen and Hyaluronic Acid for an unbeatable glow. It’s also packed with prebiotics and essential minerals, to protect and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, and rich in Omega 5 to soothe irritation caused by environmental aggressors.
This new range of SPF Moisturisers are vegan, cruelty-free and fragrance free. The Anti-Pollution SPF30 Moisturiser by NIP+FAB works to shield your skin from UVA, UVB and HEV (blue light) damage, while still allowing your skin to breathe and without blocking beneficial vitamin D. With a lightweight, non-greasy formula, this SPF is suitable for various skin types, and is non-comedogenic to reduce the risk of clogged pores. The brand suggests you can use this SPF moisturiser in the morning and in the evenings, after acid-based routines. However, if you prefer letting your skin to breathe at night, using it in the mornings before you leave the house is enough, particularly if you’re alternating with other deep moisturising products at night.
More products to consider…
By Elicka Ghahramani