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How Air Pollution Hurts Your Skin

by kelly / October, 1 2019 01:30

Education blog series.

Photo of air pollution

No matter where you live air pollution exists to varying degrees and poses a risk to your health. Now new pollution studies show that it also damages skin and leads to inflammation and premature skin aging. So what do you do? Well, here’s more about air pollution and how you can protect your skin from it.

What is Air Pollution

Air pollution is made up of a combination of tiny particles called particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These particles get released into the air from auto exhaust, manufacturing processes, chemical and petroleum refineries, cigarettes, and more.

You might think that air pollution is only a big city problem but it affects everyone. That’s because air pollution moves. It can travel through the atmosphere, water, and even end up in our soil.

Additionally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Yikes!

How Air Pollution Damages Your Skin

Unfortunately all these tiny particles penetrate, clog, and damage our skin.

As New York dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas explains:

“The exact mechanism of how they cause skin aging is not clear, but it could include causing more oxidative damage, increasing skin inflammation, changing the skin microflora or activation of acyl hydrocarbon receptor pathways…Whatever the mechanism, the result seems to be increased wrinkles and pigmentation.”

California dermatologist Dr. Devika Icecreamwala says more and more:

“We’re noticing how pollution [is] causing the skin to look really dull, uneven and even discolored…and that prolonged exposure to pollutants in the air can contribute to a breakdown of collagen."

Ok that sounds bad but there are things we can do to protect our skin.

Protect Your Skin from Air Pollution

One important thing you can do to protect your skin is to shield it from these pollutants. According to Dr. Chapas and Dr. Icecreamwala, antioxidants, particularly vitamin C can help as they help block the formation of free radicals.

So look for creams, ointments, or topical treatments that include vitamin C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants on their label. Of course you can check out our Organic Revitalizing Night Cream which is packed with all those great ingredients Smile.

Also, sunscreen should play a major role in not only protecting your skin against the sun but also pollution. Dr. Icrecreamwala says that “protecting your skin with sunscreen ― she prefers mineral sunscreens ― helps keep collagen from degrading as well.”

Healthy Skin

Sometimes it feels like there are so many negative factors fighting against our skin. And yes, while there are, the reality is there are simple things we can do to stay ahead and keep our skin looking great.

For even more healthy skin tips check out our Skin Care and Education blog series.

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