How Pollution Impacts Your Skin
New research suggests that pollution and particulate matter in major cities like New York, London, and Beijing may increase premature aging in skin, leading to increased incidents of hyper pigmentation, age spots, and wrinkles.
Research reported in Dermatology Times has shown that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that are bound to nanoparticles that enter air from pollution are converted to quinones. According to Dr. Zoe Draelos, these quinones are the “redox cycle chemicals” that produce “reactive oxygen species (ROS)”, which result in the same type of skin aging that is seen with chronic exposure to UV light.
As Draelos explains to the Times, “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are inadvertently delivered to the skin via nanoparticles resultant from different forms of air pollution,” she says. “Washing the skin is one effective way of reducing the nanoparticle content on the skin surface. More information is needed in topical formulation development to combat this newly recognized skin aging mechanism.”
In the meantime, check out the below products, which are designed to help. And remember to always thoroughly wash your face at the end of each day!
Clarins Multi-Protection SPF 50
Clarins Multi-Potection SPF 50 is an oil-free translucent sunscreen that shields skin from UVA/UVB rays as well as pollution and the consequent free radical damage that can stem from it, specifically the appearance of dark spots.
For those who have used this sunscreen for a while now, keep in mind that this is no longer an exclusively mineral-based sunscreen, though it is still broad spectrum. (The formula has been updated to include a mix of chemical and mineral sunscreens that offer more dimensional protection.)
Shiseido’s Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector
When we recommended Shiseido’s Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector (SPF 42) in our guide to wintertime sunscreens, we did so in part because we like the added pollution protection. This light, smooth-applying sunscreen is gentle enough for everyday use and acts as a barrier to block pollution particles from penetrating the skin. Use it year round, and if spending extensive time in the sun (more than 2+ hours per outing) be sure to reapply often.
Luzern’s La Defense Urban Protect Micellar Cleansing Water
We all know that micellar water can work miracles when it comes to removing oil, makeup, and bacteria– so having a formula that can also lift away pollution particles at the end of the day is an absolute must. Like the rest of Luzern’s results-driven, toxin-free skincare, the La Defense Urban Protect Micellar Cleansing Water is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, and the rest of the Toxic 12 ingredients that natural skincare junkies try to avoid.
Gluconolactone helps neutralize heavy metals that can adhere to the surface of the skin while pumpkin enzyme ferment removes dead skin cells and elderflower extract from the Swiss Alps acts as a gentle astringent. The formula also includes zinc, copper, and magnesium coenzymes that lift away pollution particles like a magnet. As Luzern’s La Defense line is specifically formulated to combat pollution, the brand also offers an Urban Protect Detox Masque, a mineral sunscreen, and a mineral bb cream with SPF 20.
Dr. Sebagh’s Supreme Day Cream
Pricey as it is, Dr. Sebagh’s Supreme Day Cream contains fractionated melanin compound that helps shield the skin against harmful High Energy Visible Light, also known as Photo Light, which can be just as damaging as UVA and UVB light. (The twist here is that HEV light is also admitted in small quantities by screens– yikes!)
The Supreme Day Cream also contains a powerful blend of antioxidants that help shield skin from daily environmental aggressors that dull complexion and age skin. It lifts, hydrates, and protects before you even apply your sunscreen.