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How does air pollution affect the skin?

Air pollution is known to have a wide range of effects on the human body, including the lungs and respiratory health. However, the impact on skin health is often overlooked. So how does air pollution affect the skin? And how can skincare help to reduce this impact and keep your skin healthy? 

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is released into the atmosphere from vehicles and industrial processes as well as natural events like wildfires. This is made up of a complex mixture of tiny particles, toxic gases, and chemicals. These can be broadly categorised into particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When it comes to the skin, it is particulate matter that can cause the biggest problem, especially those that have a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or smaller.

How does air pollution affect the skin?

Air pollution can have a number of different negative impacts on the skin, causing a range of problems and issues. These include:

Causing the skin to prematurely age- Particulate matter in air pollution contains free radicals that can cause significant damage to the collagen and elastin fibres within the skin tissue. This can result in the development of fine lines, wrinkles and the loss of elasticity, which results in sagging skin.

Skin discolouration- Air pollutants can trigger the overproduction of melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. This can result in conditions like melasma and age spots.

Skin irritation and acne- As well as premature ageing and discolouration, air pollution can clog the pores and cause acne breakouts. This can also increase skin inflammation and cause redness, which makes conditions like eczema and rosacea worse.

Dehydration- Air pollution can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier function, leading to increased water loss and skin dryness. Dry and dehydrated skin is more prone to damage and infection.

How can good skincare help mitigate the effects of air pollution?

Skincare can be very effective for reducing the impact of air pollution on the skin and for helping to keep the skin healthy. As part of this, you should consider:

Cleansing- One of the key ways to help reduce the impact of air pollution is to ensure that you use a gentle cleanser. This is essential for removing pollutants, dirt, and makeup from the skin’s surface, and keeping the skin clean without stripping it of its natural oils. Here at The Skin and Wellbeing Clinic we are an Approved Retailer for the SkinCeuticals range, which includes the highly popular Gentle Cleanser. 

Antioxidants- Skin care products that are antioxidant-rich can be very beneficial for neutralising the free radicals produced by air pollution. Ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacinamide are known for their antioxidant properties and can help reduce skin damage.

Moisturisation- Another important way to reduce the impact of air pollution on the skin is to regularly moisturise. This can help to prevent the dehydration caused by air pollution, keeping your skin healthy and avoiding dry skin and infections. In addition, a good moisturiser also helps maintain the skin’s barrier function. 

Barrier repair- The skin acts as an important barrier and over time this can become damaged, allowing air pollution to cause more problems. Skincare products that contain ingredients like peptides and fatty acids can support the skin’s natural barrier function, helping to keep this functioning effectively. Here at The Skin and Wellbeing Clinic, we also stock the Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 cream which is designed to replenish and reinforce the skin barrier.

For skin care products you can rely on, why not take a look at the range of SkinCeuticals products we have in stock today, here at The Skin and Wellbeing Clinic?

The Skin and Wellbeing Clinic is proud to provide professional aesthetics treatments for clients in Preston, Blackpool, Leyland, Chorley, Kirkham, Blackburn and the North West of England. Our key treatments and services include Anti Wrinkle Injections, Dermal Fillers, Laser Hair Removal, Acne Treatments, Injectable Polynucleotides, and much more.