Do you live in a busy city? If you do, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but city air is aging you. Air pollution in urban areas, much of which comes from traffic, includes tiny particles called PMs, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Prof Jean Krutmann, director at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany, says, “UV [damage from the sun] was really the topic in skin protection for the last 20-30 years. Now I think air pollution has the potential to keep us busy for the next few decades.”
PMs have been shown to increase age spots and wrinkles but one of the latest studies also implicates nitrogen dioxide for accelerating aging. The study was conducted on people in Germany and China and it was discovered that age spots on their cheeks increased by 25% with a relatively small increase in pollution, 10 microgrammes of NO2 per cubic metre. Many parts of the UK have illegally high levels of NO2, with London breaking its annual limit in the first week of 2016, with levels reaching over 200 microgrammes of NO2 per cubic metre.
My two cents on this is that all this pollution is the reason why cases of rosacea are on the rise. At the moment, there are not many products for prevention [of air pollution damage], however it may be a trend in the coming years as it becomes a much bigger issue.
I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing broad spectrum sunscreen, it won’t protect against pollution but it will prevent photoaging whilst your skin is battling pollution. You wouldn’t leave your skin vulnerable to both the sun and pollution, would you? Give it a helping hand where you can.
As far as dislodging those harmful particles that settle on your skin, consider these options;
Clay face masks benefit the skin by using capillary action to absorb substances on and beneath the skin’s surface. They can absorb sebum, bacteria, water and various toxins and irritants from the skin and can exfoliate dead skin cells and blackheads without friction.
It’s been added to cleansers, face masks, toothbrushes, and even juices for its ability to absorb toxins and pollutants.
These and other similar products will help your skin. The one product you should skip is scrub, doctors recommend you give it a wide berth.
I look forward to a time when I can recommend a whole range of products geared towards fighting the effects of pollution on our skin.
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