There’s a lot of focus on how excess sun soaking expedites the formation of wrinkles and leathery skin, but there’s something else just as inescapable that does a number on your skin: pollution. Smog, chemical air particles, and car fumes aren’t just harmful to your lungs—your skin suffers, too.
Despite the fact that your skin’s very purpose is to protect the body as your outer “shield,” the overwhelming amount of pollution can be too much to handle. One study published in the journal Frontiers of Environmental Science stated, “Exposure of the skin to air pollutants has been associated with skin aging and inflammatory or allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or acne, while skin cancer is among the most serious effects.” Another study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that age spots develop even when the increase in air pollution is insignificant.
According to the experts at Formula Botanica, a school that offers certification in organic cosmetic chemistry, some of the most notable changes that occur in the skin when it’s exposed to pollution include the depletion in antioxidants vitamin E and squalene along with a higher rate of oil secretion (and of course, grime).
So, to fight pollution with skin care, look for something that thoroughly cleans your skin without disrupting its natural oil balance and pH and replenish your supply of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and squalene. Most of all, remember if your skin becomes sensitized by, say, harsh chemicals or aggressive exfoliating, it becomes too weak to protect itself. So being gentle, as always, is key.
Here are four natural products that help your complexion stave off the effects of pollution.
1. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30
You can’t fight off the environmental nasties without a proper broad-spectrum sunscreen. This natural power player is free of chemical sunscreens and includes only one safe mineral sunscreen, zinc oxide, to block both UVA and UVB rays. On top of that, this formula contains a host of antioxidants to boost the UV-defense abilities along with hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae, and certified organic aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea for extra sun protection.
2. Purist Matcha Green Tea Cleansing Foam
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The most visible and apparent side effect of pollution is dirt, dust, and other filth that veils your face throughout the day, so a solid purifying ritual is essential. With foaming action that sweeps away impurities and detoxifies pores without stripping skin of its natural oils, this gentle formula is fueled by antioxidant heavy hitters like green tea, sea buckthorn, acai berry, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, and vitamin E that help reinforce skin once it’s thoroughly cleansed.
3. Sukin Anti-Pullution Facial Masque
For a weekly deep clean, this mask harnesses bamboo charcoal to absorb toxins from deep within pores, while quince, bilberry, and pomegranate extracts help tighten pores, reduce shine, and balance the complexion overall. Avocado, coconut, and rosehip oils then help nourish and moisturize so your complexion is left dewy and radiant.
4. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
Biossance built its entire collection around squalane, the natural substance found in skin that’s considerably depleted by pollution. The best-selling oil serum features a base of plant-based squalane to replace all that is lost and is spiked with one of the most effective forms of antioxidant vitamin C to brighten and protect skin.
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