Pollution not only harms the environment but also our skin. It can cause skin aging, uneven skin tone, acne and even skin cancer. Microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere from different sources like cars, fire, factories, and smoke make their way deep into your skin. “Pollution breaks down collagen and the lipid layer in the skin, which impairs skin barrier functions,” says Zoe Draelos, M.D., consulting professor of dermatology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and author of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology article “Aging in a Polluted World.”
Pollution isn’t going away soon, so it’s good to know that there are ways that can prevent pollution from affecting your skin any further.
After a long day, cleansing your face before going to bed removes all the dirt, gunk and pollution that has accumulated on the surface of your skin during the day. This is a very important step that many of us fail to do especially when we feel too lazy or too tired already. But always remember that a few minutes of sacrifice helps your skin a lot and prevents it from further damage. It also preps your skin for the next skin care products that you will be putting next.
Cleansing your face isn’t just something that you do at night, even in the morning you should use a gentle cleanser that can rinse off sweat, excess oil or skin care products that you used the night before.
One or twice a week, you can also exfoliate either by physical or chemical exfoliation in order to remove dead skin cells. This can help reveal a brighter and clearer skin if done correctly. Never over exfoliate as it can do more harm to your skin and be more prone to damage.
To double-cleanse, you can also use a cotton pad with a toner and swipe it across your face to make sure that there is no dirt residue that your cleanser failed to remove. Toners also balance the pH levels of your skin if your cleanser was too acidic, making it feel and look more hydrated and plump.
Pollution not only damages the skin directly but also causes the thinning of the ozone layer. This makes your skin prone to sun damage twice or thrice as much. Even on days where you don’t see the sun, like on cloudy days and rainy days, never assume that the UV rays are not there to damage your skin. Make it a habit to wear sunscreen regardless of the weather outside.
A big thank you to the beauty and cosmetic world for creating a sunscreen that can be worn on a daily basis unlike before– wherein sunscreens are unbearable to use especially to those who are darker in skin-tone because of the opaque white cast it leaves on your skin. Not to mention that sunscreens used to be a nightmare for those who have oily skin! Well, those days are gone. Chemical sunscreens are now highly available in the market just like physical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are the thick consistency ones that leave a white cast, making it difficult for everyday use. They also feel heavier on the skin and is not suitable to be worn underneath your makeup. While chemical sunscreens usually contain organic compounds that create a chemical reaction in order to block UV rays. It is also thinner in consistency, rarely leaves a white cast and dries up into a skin-like finish. It can be worn comfortably underneath your makeup without feeling too heavy. Now, there’s no excuse to not use sunscreen anymore, right?
Protecting your skin isn’t just done on the outside, but also on the inside. Eating a healthy diet and food rich in antioxidants can help your skin get back to its former glow. Foods rich in carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin C are a great option.
Foods like Goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, and cilantro are just one of the few that is recorded to have the highest ORAC scores as antioxidants.