We all know the impact pollution has upon our health and the environment, but toxic air has also been linked to premature aging of skin, and the worsening of skin conditions like acne and eczema. Every day, minuscule specks of soot are released into the atmosphere, so small (sometimes twenty times small than pores) that they easily penetrate deep into skin, where they form free radicals – harmful molecules that attack healthy cells – leading to the formation of wrinkles, age spots, inflammation, dehydration, and loss of elasticity.
Unfortunately, urban living makes it impossible to avoid exposure to the pollutants that harm skin every day – increased and prolonged exposure to car and manufacturing emissions, cigarette smoke, iron particles, and ozone gas lead to damage that triggers the same signs of aging seen with exposure to UV – essentially, premature aging. We all know how important it is to wear SPF every day to protect against UV damage and keep wrinkles at bay, but anti-pollutant protection is just as important – especially if you’re living the city life.
Check out our picks of the top products to help your skin face the city.
Oskia City Life Facial Mist
Two years in the making and specifically designed to target pollution, Oskia’s City Life range works by cleverly capturing pollution particles and grouping them together so that they become too large to penetrate pores – this defends skin against ozone, soot, metals, and free radicals. In addition, the City Life Facial Mist makes skin feel clean and refreshed after a pollution-packed commute, providing a comfortable layer of hydration that can be applied and reapplied under and over makeup.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23%
No matter how well you protect your skin, damage will inevitably occur. However, this doesn’t mean it’s too late to help your skin. Vitamin C tackles free radical damage, working to calm inflammation, fade pigmentation, and stimulate collagen production (which plumps and strengthens skin, reducing the appearance of loose skin and lines). It’s only effective in concentrations of more than 20%, so The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is perfect.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors
Keeping your skin well hydrated is one of the easiest ways you can prevent pollutants from penetrating your pores. Having a strong, intact moisture barrier means your skin has a literal layer of defense, able to block out airborne pollutants. The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA is an uber hydrating cream serves as a protective layer, without clogging your pores – in fact, it fills them with goodness – replicating the skin’s self-moisturising properties to keep it healthy and balanced.
Skin & Tonic Detox Beauty Oil
The problem with some detoxifying skincare is that it can strip your skin of the good stuff, too, so it’s important to remember to nourish your skin at the same time. Skin & Tonic’s Detox Beauty Oil has a lighter-than-light texture and cleverly uses a natural plant oil blend which has a dual-pronged approach – jojoba oil works to balance hydration levels (reinforcing the skin’s barrier as an invisible coat of armout to keep enviornmental aggressors at bay) while black cumin seed oil is absorbed deeper into skin to repair and protect against free radical damage.
Revolution Skincare Intense Skin Exfoliator 30% AHA + BHA Peeling Solution
If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, pollutants can get stuck in the sebum and dead cells that easily clog your pores. An acid-based peel treatment will help to dislodge all manner of congestions, keeping your skin blemish- and pollutant-free. You can’t beat Revolution Skincare’s Intense Skin Exfoliator 30% AHA + BHA Peeling Solution – boasting a blend of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids to exfoliate your skin at three different levels.
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Cleansing Gel
Pollutants accumulate on the surface of our skin throughout the day, often latching onto impurities from makeup as they absorb into pores – so it’s important to double cleanse in order to efficiently remove this buildup. Thanks to the inclusion of Irish moor mud, Peter Thomas Roth’s Purifying Cleansing Gel works like your regular detoxifier but on a supercharged level, using detoxifying ingredients to practically vacuum pollutants from skin.