How Pollution Is Damaging Your Skin And What To Do

Over the last few decades we’ve all become more aware of pollution’s effect on the planet, but have you ever considered the toll it can take on your skin?

Scientists at L’Oréal Research & Innovation did, and in 2017 they published a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that compared 204 healthy female volunteers from two separate industrial cities with very different levels of urban pollution. Unsurprisingly, what they found was that acne prevalence and characteristics, oily skin and pore severity were significantly higher for women from the more polluted city.

That makes sense. Along with UV radiation from the sun, excess air pollutants can lower your skin’s normal defenses by breaking down collagen and protective barriers like your skin’s lipid layer, leaving you more vulnerable to the things that cause uneven skin tone, spots, acne and premature aging. Whether you live in downtown New York City or out in the wide-open spaces, what’s in the air can age you before your time; fortunately, you can help your skin fight the inflammation, dehydration and loss of elasticity caused by pollutants in your environment.

Clean Your Skin

You’d think this one is a no-brainer, but so many people simply don’t wash their faces regularly. Unless you have very oily skin, just using a mild cleanser in the morning and again before bed should do the trick. The nighttime cleanse is easy to skip, but it’s important since you’ll remove not just makeup but also the dirt, sweat and potentially harmful pollutants that latched on to you during the day. Set up a bedtime routine to follow: be thorough without scrubbing so hard you irritate your skin, and perhaps use a toner afterward to lift off any remaining debris.

Protect Your Skin

With the erosion of the ozone layer over the past 100 years, more UV rays are reaching you than ever before. Wearing hats can be very helpful, but a good topical sunscreen is a good idea to protect you from harmful UV rays by acting as a physical sunblock, reflecting or scattering the light away from the skin or even absorbing UV rays. Most people already know to wear sunscreen for a sunny day at the beach, but harmful UV light doesn’t depend on direct sunlight so remember it for those cloudy or overcast days, too! Many topical sunscreen products contain moisturizers and antioxidants as well, which further help protect against the things that can damage your skin.

Neutralize Your Skin

Along with daily exposure to ultraviolet light, the presence of pollution on your skin can create free radicals and lead to increased oxidation. As the cells become weaker, they are more susceptible to many skin conditions including acne, dermatitis and premature aging. To combat this, consider applying a serum rich with antioxidants after your morning and evening face cleanse to neutralize those free radicals and help your skin repair itself.

Rejuvenate Your Skin

Yes, UV rays can damage skin, but light can also be your ally! Skin cells are naturally self-repairing but sometimes they need a little encouragement, especially as we get older. A good solution is to stimulate your tired skin to do what it’s meant to do, and a good LED therapy mask like the iderma® Youth Restoring Masque can do just that. This professional skin care product combines the two most versatile wavelengths in LED therapy: red and infrared. Red light focuses on the skin’s surface, while invisible infrared wavelengths affect the cells on a deeper level to stimulate cell growth, reproduction and collagen. As we’ve said above, cell function and collagen can be adversely affected by pollution so the iderma is an extremely effective and convenient way to help your skin fight back and recover. The hands-free iderma uses 128 LEDs to treat the entire face at the same time, so it only takes three quick, hands-free, 8-minute treatments per week to start seeing results in just a few weeks.

Feed & Water Your Skin

“You are what you eat” is something we’ve all heard, and in today’s busy world a healthy diet is often easier said than done. However, it’s an important part of keeping a healthy, youthful-looking complexion. Remember that your skin is actually your body’s largest organ. It acts as your protective “shell,” and the right diet can help it better defend against all kinds of things: from illnesses and infections to the dangers posed by pollutants. Eating foods that have healthy oils (like avocados) or are full of antioxidants (like blueberries, tomatoes, or almonds), along with eating plenty of green vegetables and oily fish, can help detoxify your body from the inside out.

Hydrating agents will also help strengthen your skin’s barrier, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Your body will take water from all kinds of sources including coffee, tea and the food you eat, but the old rule of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day is a good general goal. If you’re very active or exercise regularly, you should tailor your water intake further for your specific body type and activity level and then aim to drink that much each day.

Yes, pollution is bad for the Earth — and that includes you! What’s in the air around you can damage your skin and make you age prematurely, but following these guidelines and using the iderma® Youth Restoring Masque will give you and your skin the best chance to stay healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Read more information on the iderma LED therapy mask, and order one for yourself today! It’s an effective aging skin treatment, and we’re excited for you to reap the benefits of using professional skin care consistently. Just because your city might be dirty doesn’t mean your face has to be.