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How To Protect Your Skin From Pollution Damage?

Leading a city life makes escaping pollution next to impossible. Whether it's the smog, the exhaust fumes from cars, or the myriad industrial emissions, these environmental pollutants do more than harm the planet—they can also have a profound effect on our skin. Below, we uncover how pollution and skin health are intertwined, and the many ways through which you can undo the damage.

 In This Article:

The Impact Of Pollution On Skin

Types Of Pollutants

The Impact Of Pollution On Skin 

Skin is the body's largest organ and acts as a protective barrier against microorganisms and radiation. However, this protective layer is constantly exposed to environmental pollutants that can penetrate the skin or cause surface damage. Pollutants can lead to inflammatory or allergic conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis. It can also clog pores and disrupt the skin's microbiome, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and acne formation.

Furthermore, environmental pollutants, such as particulate matter, heavy metals, and gases, generate free radicals when they come into contact with the skin. These free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can cause oxidative stress, leading to a cascade of negative effects on the skin.

This accelerates the ageing process and triggers wrinkles and fine lines. Over time, this damage leads to a breakdown of structural proteins like collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and sallow appearance.

Pollution can also impair the skin's natural barrier function, which acts as a protective shield against external aggressors. Pollutants penetrate the skin's outermost layer, disrupting its delicate balance and causing inflammation and irritation. This compromised barrier function also makes the skin more susceptible to moisture loss, leading to dryness, flakiness, and increased sensitivity.

Types Of Pollutants 

Getting acquainted with the culprits will help you understand what is causing your skin condition to worsen. They are broadly classified into three types.

  • Particulate Matter: These are as tiny as 2.5 micrometers, but can cause the most damage. Because of their size, they easily penetrate the skin and cause cellular damage. They are released through vehicle emissions and industrial processes.
  • Heavy Metals: Polluted air has a high amount of mercury and lead that can accumulate in the body over time disrupting skin cells and leading to various skin issues.
  • Harmful Gases: Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are common gases resulting from burning fossil fuels. These gases can irritate the skin, leading to redness and inflammation.

What Is The Role Of Free Radicals? 

These unstable molecules are generated by environmental pollutants and are responsible for oxidative stress, which like we discussed above lead to diminished skin health. They steal electrons from healthy skin cells, damaging their ability to function and regenerate. Your body can fight these off to a certain extent, but prolonged and continued exposure to pollutants can weaken your body’s defences, leading to accelerated ageing and heightened skin sensitivity.

Signs of Pollution-Damaged Skin 

Here are a few clear tell-tales of pollution-damaged skin: 

  • Increased Sun Sensitivity: Exposure to pollutants can weaken the skin's barrier, resulting in redness, itchiness and irritation due to sun sensitivity.
  • Premature Signs Of Ageing: You’re developing fine lines, wrinkles and saggy-looking skin due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin from oxidative stress.
  • Uneven Skin Tone: Pollution can cause the skin to lose its radiance and develop uneven skin tone, pigmentation or dark spots.
  • Bumpy Texture: Your skin can start feeling congested with blackheads and whiteheads surfacing on your nose, chin and cheeks.
  • More Breakouts: If you have acne-prone skin, pollution can clog pores and increase the likelihood of acne and blemishes.

How To Protect Your Skin Against Pollution? 

Pollution is a parasite that leaches onto your skin to suck out all the goodness. The best way to reduce the adversities of pollution on skin is by strengthening the skin barrier. Think of it as a fortress that prevents all the environmental baddies from wreaking havoc on your skin.

1. Cleanser

You don’t just need a cleanser, you need something that will act as a magnet and pull out pollution particles with every wash. Our 100% soap-free Micellar Facial Wash will do this job well. It contains millions of miccels that draw out dirt, impurities and excess oil with every wash. And it's not just us, but 94% users claiming this! It also contains Pentavitin and Panthenol which prevents moisture loss and protects the skin barrier.

2. Serum

Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E are saviours when it comes to fighting off free radicals as well as environmental and sun damage. Our 10% Vitamin C+E+F Booster Serum supercharges your skin with its multi-vitamin goodness. It helps strengthen the skin barrier, lend a youthful glow, brighten dull complexion, improve skin tone and moisturise your skin with each use. It is non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

3. Moisturiser 

Using a moisturiser is non-negotiable, as it provides ample hydration and nourishment to keep the barrier strong. What you need is a formulation that suits your skin type and supports barrier health. If your skin leans towards normal to dry, then our Hydrating Gel Creme is a true match. It offers 100 hours of hydration and leaves your skin feeling instantly soft and smooth. On the other hand, if your skin is acne-prone, oily, or combination type pick our Ultra-light Liquid Moisturiser. It offers 24 hours of continued hydration and leaves your skin looking matte all day. Its non-greasy, water-gel formula absorbs quickly and helps regulate oil production.

4. Sunscreen 

No act of skin health can be complete without sunscreen. Our Simple Kind to Skin Gel Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++ is a broad-spectrum, lightweight, matte finish wonder that quickly absorbs without any white cast. Not only does it strengthen the barrier, but also prevents premature signs of ageing. Its non-comedogenic formula and lightweight texture makes it suitable for all skin types. With a blend of Niacinamide, Vitamin C and E, and Glycerin, this sunscreen offers sun protection and enhances skin health in a go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:1 Does pollution affect skin color?

A. If your skin is not protected well, pollution particles can cause pigmentation, dullness and an uneven skin tone. Along with that, it can also lead to premature signs of ageing and acne, which affects the overall skin complexion.

Q:2 Does pollution damage skin barrier?

A. Yes, pollution can disrupt the skin barrier, cause moisture loss and even dehydration of skin. This can trigger inflammation and skin irritation.

Q:3 Can pollution cause oily skin?

A. Pollution can make your skin feel greasy and oily over time. That being said, it cannot cause oily skin, as it is a skin type, generally determined by genetics and climate conditions.

Rhea Shah
Written by Rhea Shah on May 14, 2024
Rhea has banked on her passion for writing and beauty to be where she is today. When she isn't looking up fancy synonyms for simple words aka working, she is either traveling, making travel plans, or exploring a new restaurant.
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