It is commonly known that ultraviolet rays from exposure to the sun are harmful to the skin but we now have a new cause of damage to the skin to worry about. Skin specialists are keen on the effects of air pollution on the skin and are continually raising many concerns over the same. Damage caused by air pollution isn’t as immediate as that caused by sunburn but this only makes it even more dangerous since we continue to be unaware of it occurring. This makes it important for all of us to be aware of how pollution affects the skin and to understand how we can protect ourselves from exposure.
Sources of pollution
Sources of pollution range from dust, cigarette smoke, smog and exhaust fumes from cars. These common sources have small particles which can easily penetrate the skin barrier and cause harm in various ways such as causing dry and dull skin, uneven skin tone and wrinkling too, just to name a few.
Particles from air pollution have been confirmed to accelerate aging by starving the skin of oxygen and causing the natural oils of the skin to dry up. Additional damage that results from pollution is the alteration of the DNA of skin cells by free radicals which leads to cancer. Free radicals are described as unstable molecules that are known to attack cells and thereafter starve the skin cells of much needed oxygen. The free radicals also meddle with the skins process of producing collagen and this in turn leads to wrinkling. This is a major concern since, as we grow old, our bodies become less effective at battling free radicals. Air pollution have been identified by dermatologist as what causes acne, skin allergies, rushes and eczema.
Exhaust fumes from cars, dirt and smoke cause harm to the skin by blocking the pores and this leads to congestion resulting in blemishes. The air around us is continuously being filled with chemicals which make the skin more susceptible to reactions while also causing inflammation and dehydration.
Where the quality of air is poor, mainly in industrial urban areas, the ozone layer that we count on to offer us protection from harmful UV rays is persistently being disrupted leading to exposure. This unchecked exposure is enhancing chances of people getting skin cancer through a gradual unnoticeable process.
Solutions to protect your skin from effects of pollution
The unfortunate truth is that it is difficult to limit the effects from pollution on the skin but there are ways of reducing it. An easy regimen that is widely recommended is taking a diet rich in vegetables and fruits such as leafy greens and tomatoes and plenty of water. These nutritious foods provide the body with the necessary nutrients and vitamins to deal with skin damage while the water helps the skin stays fresh thereby combating the drying effect of pollution.
Sourcing for skin care products that contain collagen and elastin has also been proven to be of great benefit in dealing with the effect of pollution. These products contain vitamins which aid in cellular regeneration while using a moisturizer on a daily basis also helps replenish depleted skin oils.
Daily washing of your face using mild soaps in the evenings is also very beneficial in fighting irritants from pollution. This easy daily routine can be complemented by exfoliation which enables deeper cleaning. However, exfoliation should not be done more than twice a week though since it can damage the skin. Other convenient at home remedies such as peels and masks also offer a more rigorous level of skin cleaning.
Full time city dwellers are also advised to use creams that protect against the effects of pollution. Opting to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 that is specially designed to protect against UV rays as well as pollution is highly recommended. Such creams contain pure molecular oxygen which fights free radicals and their lightness allows them to be used together with regular moisturizers.
Skin specialists have also recommended in depth options such as procedure enhancement products. It is advisable to be observant of changes in the skin such as moles and discolorations and consult your doctor for further assistance if such arise.
Indoor air purifiers are also helpful in protecting the skin from environmental pollution since the indoor environment can be toxic as well. Investing in air purifiers is recommended because lack of sufficient ventilation, chemicals in household cleaning supplies and dust in carpets and beddings are also what cause acne.
The skin offers the only layer of protection between us and the polluted environment. It is therefore important that we protect this layer at all costs by being conscious of the pollution around us and using beneficial skincare regimen.