We have all experienced one of those days in which we come home after a long day and have that clogged, greasy skin or blown your nose to find a disturbing shade of black dirt from being in the dirty city; you’ll know that pollution is a growing skin care concern. We sat down with Dr. G to understand more about the damaging effects that pollution has on our skin and ways in which we can combat and protect our skin from the pollution we endure on a daily basis.

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Image via Byrdie Beauty

Why is there such a rise in popularity for anti-pollution skincare right now? “Interest in the detrimental effects of pollution continues to rise given the increasing record-breaking pollution levels across the world and in particular key major cities. Consumers are also becoming more savvy to the environmental effects around them and access to crucial information is so much more accessible today.” Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD

What kind of skin issues can pollution cause? “Pollution can increase skin aging and this may be due to the microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants that come into contact with your skin in areas with high pollution levels. These tiny particles are up to twenty times smaller than the size of your pores, meaning that they can penetrate the skin and bypass the protective outer layers. This can lead to inflammation in the deeper layers of living skin tissues, where wrinkles and other signs of skin ageing are formed.” Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD

How does pollution lead to free radicals in the skin? “Pollution releases microscopic particles or free radicals that can go deep into the skin and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. The outcome is loss of elasticity (wrinkles and sagging) and Hyperpigmentation (dark spots).  Luckily, antioxidants have been clinically proven to effectively fight free radical damage, preventing them from reacting with the skin and helps to prevent dullness, fine lines, sagging and other signs of skin aging.”

What is the best cleansing method for ridding pores of pollution? Exfoliation is the best method for ridding pores of pollutants. Physical and Chemical exfoliators are able to deeply penetrate into the pores and clean them while also removing dead skin cells, dirt, oil and bacteria build up and prior damaging the cells.

What are the most important skincare ingredients for tackling pollution? It’s about creating a shield (via Antioxidants) and protecting the skin (via Sun Block) so that the free-radical damage caused by pollution cannot penetrate the skin to break down the healthy cells. Look for Anti-oxidant ingredients as they fight free radicals. A few of the most studied and effective anti-oxidants include Red Tea, Cherry Extract, Ferulic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinol and Resveratrol.

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