Skincare science: how does pollution affect the skin?

Skincare science: how does pollution affect the skin?

Busy, stressful lives in the city can affect the skin, especially in areas of high pollution. But how does pollution affect skin physiology, and how can we protect our skin from damage?

Pollution generates free radicals
Pollution from traffic in busy areas generates free radicals in the atmosphere in combination with UV light from the sun. As our skin is the first line of defence from free radicals, toxins and pathogens, it can be vulnerable to free radical attack. Free radicals cause chemical chain reactions which can disrupt the normal functioning of our skin cells and body cells which can lead to DNA and cellular changes. While our skin can “buffer” and correct a lot of this damage through our sophisticated immune system, free radical damage can cause premature ageing, and give rise to lines and wrinkles, an uneven skin tone, and a dull complexion.
Similarly, pollution contains heavy particles called “particulates” that stay in the atmosphere. These particulates can clog the pores and irritate the skin, potentially contributing to skin conditions such as acne.
Prevention and protection of the skin through diet and cosmeceutical use
Luckily, we can help protect our skin by sourcing a rich supply of anti-oxidants through our diet, and also through using topical vitamin C on our skin.Using a high SPF throughout the year will also protect the skin from UV related damage. Antioxidants in the diet can be sourced through fruit and vegetables dark in colour, and green tea is a good source.
Using an AHA, BHA, or PHA based cleanser will help remove impurities that can clog the skin and give rise to skin problems. We recommend the Neostrata skincare routine, and also recommend a nutraceutical supplement like Skinade, to help support your skin from the inside out.
Reversing skin damage
Skin damage can be reversed through several non-surgical techniques such as glycolic acid peels, laser skin treatment and Dermaroller treatment. Dull complexion can be boosted through the use of Restylane skinboosters and cosmeceutical and nutraceutical use. If there is significant skin damage, and loss of facial volume, dermal fillers and threadlifts can be used to lift and rejuvenate the face.