According to the World Health Organisation the urban population in 2016 accounts for almost 58% of the total global population, up from 34% in 1960. Little wonder that pollution seems to be the word that appears in every beauty chat across the globe. Despite the hype, it is not a new marketing strategy; pollution, unfortunately, affects the skin.
Are there any anti-pollutant ingredients as such? Not really however there are anti-pollutant beauty products which are rich in antioxidants and moisturising agents to fight free radicals due to pollution and to strengthen the epidermis barrier. Also, ingredients like mallow and hyaluronic acid that create a protective film on top of the skin can come in handy, especially combined with other ingredients with soothing activity.
We must pay attention to the way we cleanse our skin as it helps to remove pollutants. My advice is to use a mild cleanser, delicate yet effective. A great option is to go for squalene-based cleansers, as they tend to give back to the skin some of its key components and thereby minimise the damaging effects of cleansing.
There are many scientific studies showing a strong link between pollution and pigmentation, loss of elasticity and wrinkles. In other words, pollution plays an important role in skin ageing. And remember, pollutants are not only in the air. We find them in cigarette smoke and also in the water.
It is not all about the skin. Some studies show smog particles settling on the scalp and hair, causing irritation and potentially leading to hair loss. Electromagnetic radiation from excessive mobile phone use can also pose a threat to our scalp and hair.
Pollution can also play a role in dehydrating the skin. Chinese studies conducted in the most polluted areas of Beijing determined that dehydration is one of the most immediate and significant effects of air pollution on skin. As we all know, dry skin is more prone to have lines, wrinkles, rough skin and dullness. Volunteers living in highly polluted areas had significantly worse skin hydration and a compromised skin barrier function than those living in cleaner suburbs, despite making better lifestyle choices.
My advice is not to rely only on healthy eating, drinking water and regular exercise to keep your skin healthy. Making the right choices about our skincare regimen is an equally or even more important part of a successful beauty routine.