Environmental aggressors including ultraviolet radiation, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), oxides, and cigarette smoke affect the skin, and can leave it more susceptible to many problems including irritation, rashes, eczema, breakouts, hyperpigmentation, sagging, fine lines and wrinkles, and overall dullness.
Although our skin acts as biological armor, prolonged or repetitive exposure to high levels of these pollutants may have profound negative effects on it. This happens because highly unstable molecules (aka free radicals), start to damage the skin’s natural protective barrier. Once this barrier is jeopardized, pollutants can seep deep into our skin, speeding up the degradation of the cells, causing collagen and lipids to start to break down.
Cleansing is key, and the evening routine is incredibly important to remove the day’s harmful surface pollution. Pollution can be found in all climates, at all times of the year. In the summer, UV is especially potent, and in the winter, there is surface inversion - when the ground level becomes cooler and denser than higher air, trapping pollutants.
When it comes to products that help combat pollution, we need to look for ones with effective concentrations of anti-pollution ingredients. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, niacinamide, ceramide 3, green tea, prebiotics, zinc oxide and other mineral barriers.
By forming a protective film over the skin, pollution particles are prevented from attaching to or penetrating the skin and antioxidants help reduce the signs of inflammation and help restore the skin barrier.
Below are some of Joanna’s picks: