How to Fight the Effects of Pollution on Your Skin
You know about the effects of sun exposure on your skin, but did you know that air pollution can also affect your skin health?
Science has shown a correlation between spikes in air pollution and increases in the number of people suffering from skin conditions such as acne, hives, and eczema.
We also know pollution can cause uneven skin tone and accelerated aging because it can cause inflammation, dehydration, and a cellular-level reaction that leads to lost elasticity and firmness.
Why does pollution affect your skin?
When pollution gets into your skin, it creates free radicals, those unstable molecules that can wreak havoc on skin and contribute to premature aging.
Why are they unstable? They are missing electrons from their outer shell and have at least one unpaired electron, which results in them searching for electrons from other molecules or atoms so that they can stabilize. And when this happens with oxygen molecules, it creates reactive oxygen species (ROS) and results in a process called oxidative stress, which damages the body’s cells.
Oxidative stress can lead to a range of diseases and symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, graying hair, hair loss, and changes in hair texture. Because it’s impossible to isolate the components that make up pollution, it is not clear which specific elements are responsible for the negative impact on skin.
Furthermore, the effect of pollution on skin is not just a problem for city dwellers. According to the State of Global Air by the Health Effects Institute, 90% of people around the world live where the air quality falls below WHO air quality standards. Yikes!
What can you do?
The good news is that there are some easy steps you can take to help repair the damaging effects of your skin and protect it from the effects of pollution.
1. Clean. Cleansing is always a critical step in a skincare routine, but it is especially important at night to ensure you remove the dirt, oil and toxins from the day.
2. Defend. Keep your skin hydrated and use products with antioxidants to keep your skin barrier healthy. Antioxidants can help fight against and prevent the effects of free radicals because they donate an electron to free radicals, thereby reducing their reactivity. In fact, they are often referred to as free-radical scavengers. The Nuria Defend Collection includes seven different products, each one rich with antioxidant benefits.
3. Protect. Wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from both the sun and create a barrier for physical pollutants. While we do not yet offer a sunscreen in our line, we are big believers that everyone should wear sunscreen year-round to protect their skin from the effects of the environment.
Minimize the Effect of Pollution to Keep Your Glow
Unfortunately, the challenges resulting from pollution will not easily be resolved in the near future. Therefore, it is important to take steps to maintain your skin’s health despite environmental aggressors.
Good nutrition and a healthful skincare routine using the steps outlined above can help you feel and look healthy and glowing.
About the author, Jasmin Figueroa
Jasmin is an accomplished formulation scientist and skin health expert who has spent her career listening to consumers and developing products that rock. A founding member of the Nuria community, she loves traveling with her family, chilling with her friends at the beach, and will totally judge you if you don’t wear SPF.