Because living in a sterile bubble is not an option, how can we protect our skin from air pollution damage? Exhaust from cars, dust, dirt, and all kinds of environmental particles surround us whether we are inside our homes or outside taking a walk.
According to NASA, 80% of the world breathes polluted air—an alarming fact considering that the World Health Organization cites air pollution as the biggest environmental threat to our health. Besides cancer, particulate air pollution—a combination of dust, dirt, smog, soot and other toxins in the air—has also been linked to a host of respiratory conditions, heart disease and more. And it’s not only that: Did you ever stop to think about what it’s doing to our skin?
How Pollution Affects our Skin
We already know that it’s bad for our lungs, but it’s also aging our skin. Polluted air—composed of tiny particles that are as much as 20 times smaller than our pores—can easily pass through the surface of our skin and cause a series of cellular reactions that lead to inflammation, dehydration and collagen breakdown. This accumulated damage impacts our skin’s elasticity and firmness over time, giving our skin a rougher texture and causing premature fine lines and wrinkles to appear.
Aside from prematurely aging your skin, these nanoparticles also steal oxygen from the skin cells and strip the skin of its protective barrier, the shield that blocks dirt and impurities and holds in vital moisture. When the protective barrier is compromised, it also makes it easy for allergens and free radicals in the air to enter the skin, where they can cause the most damage, leading to increased skin sensitivity and pigmentation issues. It doesn’t help that as we get older it becomes harder and harder for our bodies to fight free radicals. It’s a vicious cycle.
What We Can Do
Since it’s hard to distinguish the damage caused by pollution from other factors, it always helps to have a solid skin care regimen to protect our skin from all types of damage. Here are a few ways to beef up our routine.
Wash Our Face Thoroughly at Night
The first rule of thumb is to never (ever!) go to bed without washing our face. We never want to let surface dirt and particles—as well as makeup—sit on our skin overnight. Look for a gentle cleanser that won’t strip our skin’s protective lipid barrier, which we know is so vital to keeping out pollution. Here’s a great gentle and effective surface and deep pore cleanser I recommend: Celloxylin Step 1. Crème Cleanse
Load Up on Antioxidants—Inside and Out
We know that antioxidants neutralize damage-causing free radicals, so make sure our diet is rich in dark leafy vegetables and brightly colored fruits. Top it off with a high-quality antioxidant serum like Lifeoxylin Cellular Defense Elixir
Detox Our Skin
Enviro-Extract blend is a key ingredient blend that helps to remove additional heavy metals the skin is exposed to from the environment. It helps to chelate (attach to) heavy metals, remove toxins from the skin, and aids in guarding against future oxidative environmental exposure. I like to use Celloxylin Pure Detox, Purifying Masque
Strengthen Our Protective Barrier
Aside from using protective skin care products like sunscreen, make sure you use products that repair and replenish your skin’s moisture barrier, like Celloxylin Step 5. Day Defense Plus, Broad Spectrum SPF 25