Pollution is fast becoming a problem in our cities. Generally, we have heard about the harmful effects of pollution on our health, but we rarely hear about the effects of pollution on our skin. Pollution is severely affecting the quality of our skin, and the lifestyle we live is adding to it.
As pollution levels continue to rise, so does the risk of developing skin issues. These issues range from dryness, redness, and irritation to allergic reactions and even infection. If you want your skin to stay healthy and hydrated, then you need to take steps to protect it from the harmful effects of dust and pollution.
Let’s start by understanding what is pollution.
What is Pollution And How Does It Affect Your Skin?
Ultraviolet radiation can be categorized as a physical pollutant. It has a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays. And hence is generally described as electromagnetic radiation. It’s so powerful that it can damage your DNA and cause skin cancer. But the sun isn’t the only thing that gives off UV radiation. Fluorescent and LED light bulbs, sun lamps, tanning beds, and black lights also produce UV rays.
UV radiation is divided into three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-A is the kind that’s closest to visible light and the kind we see with our eyes. It’s the least harmful to humans. UV-B is the kind of UV radiation that causes sunburn, although it can also cause skin cancer. And UV-C is the kind that’s closest to X-rays and gamma rays on the electromagnetic spectrum. It can also cause skin cancer and damage the DNA in your cells.
Ozone is a form of pollution that occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere. It is a gas that is harmful to breathing and can cause irritation, coughing, chest pain, and headaches.
The actions of O3 get magnified in the presence of other atmospheric pollutants like cigarette smoke. And with UV rays ozone has a combined effect of oxidative stress on the skin causing inflammation. Coming in touch with O3 can also cause a decrease in collagen and elastin, further leading to the premature aging of the skin.
Particulate Matter (PM)
Particulate Matter, often abbreviated as PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that are suspended in the air. They come in a range of sizes and compositions.
Particulate Matters of nanosized are the most harmful ones. They are majorly emitted by traffic pollution. Due to their physical nature, they overtly react with the skin and cause oxidation of the human skin. Particulate Matter is also found to be responsible for aging and pigmentation.
Oxides are chemical compounds that contain at least one oxygen atom. These are created from the burning of various fuels and materials. Gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and more are directly responsible for the damage to the skin.
Particularly a study conducted in East Germany showed that the prevalence of atopic eczema was high due to NOx exposure. This was true for indoor environments as well as areas with heavy traffic.
We know how cancerous cigarettes can be. And they have been fortunately banned from most public places. But there is still a substantial population that still smokes cigarettes and can cause harm not just to themselves but to others around them.
Cigarette smoke has chemicals that cause the degeneration of connective tissue in the skin. There is also a phenomenon called a smoker’s face, which is a distinct pattern of premature wrinkling and the orangish coloration of the skin. Regular cigarette smokers are 4.7 times more likely to have facial wrinkles than non-smokers.
Now that we know what is pollution that is affecting us and how it affects us, let’s learn how to fight it!
Tips to keep your skin healthy
Always Stay Hydrated
When we drink enough water in a day, our skin remains in the best condition. Water hydrates the skin, helps to plump up fine lines and wrinkles, and gives the complexion a healthy glow. It’s also essential for cellular turnover, which helps to keep the skin looking young and radiant.
A thorough cleansing with water is sufficient to remove all sweat and dirt particles even if you have been sweating heavily on a hot day. Water is a natural and safe way to remove dirt and pollution particles that can cause damage to the skin. This is the best method for keeping the skin clean and healthy.
Use Sunscreen Daily
Yes! Every single day.
It is recommended that everyone must put on sunscreen every day. Especially a sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher. This is to make sure that your skin is protected from the harmful UV rays that we’ve discussed above and would also help in preventing dust and other pollutants from entering your skin.
Washing your face with a gentle face wash every day may be already a part of our routine. But exfoliation regularly can go even further and make sure to remove all the dirt and dust that might get accumulated on your skin.
Simply by making an exfoliating scrub and applying it to your skin every so often, you can reduce the amount of pollution and dust that gets into your pores and cause acne. Exfoliation can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and will help your skin look radiant and young while also protecting you from harmful pathogens.
But be careful of exfoliation. There is a chance that you might end up overdoing it. Learn about what is over-exfoliation and how you can prevent it.
It is in your best interest to find a moisturizer that can protect it from dirt, dust, and air pollutants, and also prevent dehydration, wrinkles, and other skin problems. As you may already know, not only will you feel better, but you’ll look better as well. So be sure to moisturize your skin, especially before going out!
One of the best ways to protect your skin from the outside world is to eat clean, healthy foods. A diet that is high in vitamin C with antioxidants in it will help prevent damage to the skin by keeping it hydrated and protected from pollutants.
Foods such as berries, salmon, olive oil, and nuts contain the nutrients that give your skin the moisture and elasticity it needs to stay healthy and beautiful! While some of these may not seem like foods you would want to eat, they are all great for your body and skin.
Dust and pollution are now a part of our day-to-day lives and there is no escaping it. But we can make ourselves aware of all the effects of it on our skin and further take actions to prevent and minimize its damage.
One final thing that can help with the effects of dust and pollution is getting facial treatments done by a professional.
Charene Beauty Specializes in Facial Treatments that can give you great results. We are experts in facial spa, blackhead extraction, hydrafacial, diamond glow, and more!
Book an appointment by calling: 203 656 4440