Air pollution in London may have plunged dramatically to its lowest levels since 2016 according to a recent report, but its effects remain for all to see. The tragic death of 9-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah back in 2013 brought home the troubling impact that air pollution can have.
Little Ella’s death was the first to be attributed to toxic air, with her home in Lewisham, South London, just one of the places identified as having exceeded the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Whether you live inside or far away from the capital, protecting yourself from the plight of air pollution should be a priority every day. As your first line of defence against the outside world, it’s the skin that will often bear the brunt of pollution exposure.
Here we take a look at the effects pollution can have on the skin and your wider wellbeing, as well as reveal our top tips for arming against this seemingly inescapable issue.
Does exposure to pollution affect the skin?
If you’re based in a busy town or city, pollution can have a significant effect on your health. The skin is particularly susceptible to damage, with aggressors like car exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, smog, and UV light causing its very makeup to alter.
Unstable molecules called ‘free radicals’ damage the skin’s microbiome, leaving the usually hardy barrier compromised. Whilst a healthy barrier will keep these airborne pollutants out of the body where they belong, a damaged skin surface paves the way for their entry.
The disruption of the skin microbiome will show itself in several ways. Many people exposed to pollutants suffer from blemishes, uneven texture, dull tone, sensitivity, redness, itchiness, dryness, enlarged pores, and premature ageing.
Some of the negative effects induced by pollution exposure are pollutant-specific too as this study found:
“Cigarette smoke contributes to premature ageing and an increase in the incidence of psoriasis, acne and skin cancers. It is also implicated in allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons are associated with extrinsic skin ageing, pigmentation, cancers and acneiform eruptions. Volatile organic compounds have been associated with atopic dermatitis.”
What about the rest of the body?
It’s not just your skin that will suffer due to pollution exposure. Your wider health will also be impacted in both the short and long term, particularly if you suffer from a lung or heart condition, or are older or younger.
In the short term, exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a sore throat, irritated eyes and a tickly cough, even if you’re otherwise in the best health. Long term, exposure to pollution can lead to breathing issues, decreased lung function, and even conditions like asthma and lung disease.
How can you protect your skin effectively?
Using skincare solutions that contain anti-pollution ingredients will give your skin what it needs to keep the damaging effects of pollution at bay.
Our anti-pollution products – including our Active Face Cleanse Gel, Detox Face Mask and Active Face Hydrating Gel – along with many of the other solutions featured in our skincare range, have been specially formulated with antioxidants. These deeply purify, detox and oxygenate the skin to safeguard against pollution.
Antioxidants actively disrupt the vicious cycle of damage caused by environmental aggressors like airborne pollutants. They also soothe and replenish the skin to fortify its surface and make it even more difficult for troublesome toxins to enter the body.
By reinforcing your skin’s natural defences with a multifunctional product, you can enjoy healthier, protected, younger-looking skin for longer as well as an innovative, super-lightweight, and all-natural formula.
Shop our range of antioxidant-enriched, pollution-fighting products right here.
Image: RossHelen / Shutterstock.com