There’s a lot of focus on how excess sun soaking expedites the formation of wrinkles and leathery skin, but there’s something else just as inescapable that does a number on your skin: pollution. Smog, chemical air particles, and car fumes aren’t just harmful to your lungs—your skin suffers, too.
Despite the fact that your skin’s very purpose is to protect the body as your outer “shield,” the overwhelming amount of pollution can be too much to handle. One study published in the journal Frontiers of Environmental Science stated, “Exposure of the skin to air pollutants has been associated with skin aging and inflammatory or allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or acne, while skin cancer is among the most serious effects.” Another study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that age spots develop even when the increase in air pollution is insignificant.
According to the experts at Formula Botanica, a school that offers certification in organic cosmetic chemistry, some of the most notable changes that occur in the skin when it’s exposed to pollution include the depletion in antioxidants vitamin E and squalene along with a higher rate of oil secretion (and of course, grime).
So, to fight pollution with skin care, look for something that thoroughly cleans your skin without disrupting its natural oil balance and pH and replenish your supply of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and squalene. Most of all, remember if your skin becomes sensitized by, say, harsh chemicals or aggressive exfoliating, it becomes too weak to protect itself. So being gentle, as always, is key.
Here are four natural products that help your complexion stave off the effects of pollution.