How Pollution Affects SkinPosted on 03/03/2020
[By Biscuits & Makeup] Monday, 24 February 2020
Besides the natural biological changes that happen in our body such as the reduction of collagen levels, the loss of elasticity and the slowed cell-turnover rate, there are other external factors that contribute to the health of our skin; including “pollutants”. The ability for our skin to resist impurities or repair itself and maintain the underlying infrastructures is a dance between knowing your environment and having a good skincare regime. Depending on the area that you reside in, the level of pollutants vary, and affects the appearance of your skin in a negative way. The skin is the ideal medium for pollutants to manifest and this is not something you want. This article will teach you all about pollutants, how they can penetrate the skin and ways to counteract the effects of pollution on your skin using Korean Skincare!
What are pollutants?
A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into an environment which causes unwanted effects to living beings. These substances may cause both long- or short-term damage by changing the biological nature of different species such as plants, animals or people. These pollutants interfere, stress and/or damage the comfort and health of these species causing health problems in different bodily systems. It is visibly more common in your skin. Your skin is the first organ that shows signs of the negative effects of pollution. These signs may include, enlarged, congested or blocked pores, rough and dehydrated skin, painful cysts and more!
What is the main type of pollutant that affects our skin?
There are many categories of pollutants that disrupt the bodily functions of our skin. But the main type that greatly affects the health of our skin is air pollution. This pollutant is defined by the contamination of both outdoor and indoor environmental factors (including that of chemical, physical or biological agents) that change the nature or characteristics of the air surrounding you. Examples of air pollution include road dust, forest fires and other combustions, vehicle emissions, herbicides, fumes from asphalt roads, cigarette smoking and more!
Alone, air pollution already poses a threat to your skin, especially for anyone that resides in an area with high levels of pollutants. But that’s not all. The problem with air pollution is that it can also be reactive with UV light, especially on the outer surface of your skin (stratum corneum). This means, the nature of the pollutants on the skin change and maybe be more harmful to your skin causing heavier negative effects to your skin, leading to skin diseases.
As we know, pollutants come in many forms and thus, there are also other pollutants that affect the health of our skin including that of chemical pollution, radiation and so on. We must be aware of our surroundings and take precautions to look after our skin.
What are the effects of pollution on our skin?
Our skin, though it may be our protective barrier against external factors, is porous enough to also be vulnerable to taking in traces of pollutants. These pollutants are small enough to penetrate through the skin and/or be present on the surface of the skin.
Clinically, the effects of pollution on your skin is dependent on the environment you are surrounded by, the duration of exposure to the pollutants and it also varies from person to person. But what is certain is that these nasties correspond to the following conditions on your skin:
- Exacerbation of skin ageing
- The compromise of skin function
- An uneven skin tone and textured skin
- Increase of hyperpigmentation
- Inflammatory diseases or conditions,
- The degradation of the skin’s barrier,
- Apparent dull complexion,
- Reduction of skin moisture,
- Higher risk of eczema or atopic dermatitis
- Increase of sebum excretion (leading to enlarged, clogged pores and blackheads)
How can we protect our skin from pollutants?
There is no guaranteed way to completely avoid the contact of pollutants, no matter where you and how careful you are. But you can definitely limit and prevent the causable conditions due to the overexposure of pollutants. You can achieve this by introducing some certain ingredients or products into your skincare routine.
- The most obvious thing you can do is wear sunscreen. Sunscreen provides a protective layer on top of your skin that not only protects your skin from UV rays, but also the chemical and biological reaction between pollutants and UV rays on your skin as well.
- You should use products or ingredients that are rich in antioxidants. These neutralise the impact of pollutants on your skin, as well as protect against the free radicals that also cause damage on your skin.
Additionally, look at using Vitamin C- and Vitamin E- rich products; they are also key in limiting the damage in cells caused by pollutants. Hence, finding products that contain these ingredients will help you restore the health of your skin. These include:
- Exfoliate your skin at least once a week. This promotes skin-cell turnover in addition to preventing the build up of pollutants and impurities on your skin. Our recommendations would be:
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. These help to promote healthy tissues and to also repair as well as balance the skin from within.
- If you live in a dusty or smoky area, wear protective clothing to reduce the exposure of pollutants.
Overall, pollutants are the invisible enemies of the skin and it is something we need to take into consideration when working out the best skincare regime for ourselves. Korean skincare products have a lot of active ingredients, as well as natural extracts that really put in the work to help your skin look its best. When it comes to pollutants, we just can’t avoid it. So by incorporating healthy and targeted ingredients, in combination with mindful habits, we can strive to maintain healthier skin.
We hope this article has helped you understand how pollution affects skin and how to prevent the negative effects it can have, along with some Korean skincare recommendations.
Let us know if you had enjoyed this article, or if there are any other topics you would like us discuss, please comment below. We are here to help!
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