Pollution solutions: 6 products to protect your skin from the city
Living in the capital may have lots of benefits (great food, excellent watering holes and some truly bonkers buskers among them), but thanks to current pollution levels, it does absolutely nothing for your looks.
That’s because city air is now recognised as one of skin’s most mortal enemies.
The scary science bit
In fact, so bad are pollutants like volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (emitted from car exhausts), it’s estimated city-dwellers’ skin ages 10% faster than that of those who live in the countryside, and London has already exceeded its annual pollution limit for the whole of 2018.
Not only does pollution block pores, thus increasing the chances of spots and acne, but it’s been shown to compromise the skin’s protective lipid barrier, leading to reduced moisture and increased sensitivity and wrinkle-forming oxidative stress.
What’s more, a recent German study has shown that high exposure to particulate matter from traffic fumes directly causes chronic inflammation, increasing the likelihood of developing unsightly dark spots by around 20%.
Little wonder, then, that anti-pollution skincare is a key trend for 2018, with many products being launched to counter a life of grime. Some, like, natural skincare company Sûrface, have entire ranges for city dwellers.
How to protect yourself
Key to any anti-pollution regime are products which feature antioxidants to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals (dangerous molecules triggered by pollution which cause cell damage and hinder the skin’s natural ability to protect and repair itself.)
Simple Rosehip Oil is a good source, but it’s best to protect skin from the inside, too, with antioxidant-rich green tea.
Products that aim to create a defence shield between the environment and your skin, like REN’s Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, are also useful, as are detoxifying daily cleansers (used twice daily) and pore-hoovering face masks (used twice a week).
A word of warning about over-zealously exfoliating with face scrubs though: dead cells offer an extra layer of defence against pollution. A totally natural one at that.
6 of the best pollution-busters