The cost of pollution: How the environment is damaging your skin, and what you can do about it.
If you think staying sun safe is the biggest of your environmental skincare worries, it’s time we talked about pollution.
Environmental pollution is something that, as westerners, we’ve become accustomed to.
Pollution is caused by gases, smoke, dust and chemicals that escape into the air contaminating the oxygen we breathe with tiny harmful particles. Common causes of pollution are running cars, chemicals used in farming, and burning of fossil fuel.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that environmental pollution is a severe problem and estimates that 9 out of 10 people across the world breathe air containing high levels of contaminants that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system.
The skin is the human body’s largest organ and is designed to act as a barrier between vital organs and pollutants.
With pollution having the power to affect the health of 7 million people across the world potentially leading to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and pneumonia, we must then also ask the question, what damage does pollution cause to the delicate layers of the skin?
Pollution: The problems
A study published by PubMed in 2017 links air pollution to a number of common skin concerns:
Damage caused by free radicals is the most significant side effect of pollution as it destroys collagen fibres leaving skin uneven, lacking elasticity and accelerating the signs of ageing.
Pollution trapped in the skin cells can compromise the strength of the epidermal layer leading to sensitised, dry skin which, over time, can lead to more serious skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
If pollutants become blocked in individual pores, they can interfere with the natural oil production process leading to blockages that can cause breakouts and acne.
Uneven skin tone
Pollution can cause damage to the epidermal barrier reducing hydration and leaving skin cells dull and lifeless.
With toxic chemicals, gases and particles all around us, the study concludes that the best way to look after your skin is to “decrease air pollution”.
While we’re all for strategies that solve the causes not the symptoms of a problem, we also understand that for those of you who wish to go to work, have a social life, and function in a modern world, reducing the air pollution so that it doesn’t affect your skin may be unrealistic.
So, rather than treat a global problem single-handedly, we recommend you start with yourself and work outwards.
Pollution: The solutions
Here are our recommendations to reduce the impact environmental pollution has on the condition of your skin to slow the signs of ageing, strengthen delicate dermal layers, reduce sensitised skin and brighten skin tone.
Cleanse three times a day
Cleansing thoroughly will remove the microscopic particles of pollution that can penetrate your pores and become trapped in makeup leading to dehydration and inflammation.
Always finish the day with a double cleanse to wash away leftover traces of pollution and start the day by cleansing to remove traces of the night.
Don’t rely on sunscreen
While traditional chemical sunscreens protect against UV rays, they offer no protection whatsoever from environmental pollutants.
Mineral sunscreens contain active ingredients and create a barrier against the sun making them much more effective in protecting your skin from harmful pollutants.
Pollution causes free radical damage which can dry out individual skin cells. Lack of hydration causes poor skin tone, highlights fine lines, and can harm the delicate barrier function leading to sensitised skin and more severe conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Keep skin cells hydrated by drinking between two and three litres of water a day to reduce the impact of free radical damage.
Regularly use an anti-oxidant serum
Pollution generates free radicals that damage or can kill healthy skin cells. Anti-oxidants protect healthy cells by terminating the chain reaction before the damage occurs.
In short, the more you can build up the anti-oxidants in your body, the more you’ll protect cells from free radical damage.
Anti-oxidant serums are more effective than anti-oxidant moisturisers as they penetrate the skin at a deeper level to promote the skins’ natural processes. Moisturisers can contain heavy, occlusive ingredients that create a barrier that, rather than protecting against pollutants getting in, can actually stop harmful particles from getting out.
- Use Bd serum in the morning
Our Bd serum is pure extract of Davidson Plum. It contains Gallic acid and quercetin; both boasting high levels of natural anti-inflammatory properties.
For full body protection against free radical damage, Bf serum (pure extraact of Finger Lime), is rich in tryptophan and ferulic acid, both of which strengthen skin and create a barrier to protect against environmental damage.
To protect your skin from damage caused by pollutants, use Bd serum with sunscreen on your face every morning and Bf serum all over your body.
- Use Bk serum at night
Bk serum is potent in natural vitamin C. The powerful extract is taken from Kakadu Plum using a revolutionary extraction method which keeps the vitamin C stable in its natural form.
Natural vitamin C that’s 100% active offers anti-oxidant protection against free radicals without adding more synthetics to the skin like synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) does.
Gallic acid is another anti-oxidant found in Kakadu Plum that builds up in the skin layers to offer powerful protection from free radical damage.
Use Bk serum at the end of the day after cleansing and toning to accelerate the repair process deep within the dermal layer.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, there’s no way to fully escape the damage that pollution can cause to skin. Boosting antioxidant protection is the most effective way to reduce the damage caused by free radicals to slow the signs of ageing and minimise the impact on your appearance.
Click here to shop Biologi for a completely natural serum that offers maximum protection against free radical damage.