Pollution the 21st Century: Danger to Your Skin
Are you regularly exposed to electronic screens, heating, cleaning products or simply ‘fresh’ air?
These are the three main types of pollution that damage your skin causing it to age prematurely, become sensitive and appear dull. In this article, we explain why and provide some simple steps to help prevent this damage.
Every day our skin is subjected to over 300 sources of pollution. These pollutants can be broken down into three main categories which have a slightly different effect on the skin.
UV & HEV Pollution
Attacks all layers of the skin including DNA.
It’s commonly known that UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage by generating free radicals. However a new growing concern is that HEV Light (AKA Artificial Blue Light) from electronic screens causes more damage than these two combined. It penetrates all the way down the the DNA of the skin cells which affects their regeneration and starves them of oxygen. This, in turn, causes premature lines and wrinkles and the skin appears dull, grey or pallid.
Solution: the cells needs regenerating and an oxygen boost.
Attacks the skin’s deeper layers.
Toxic particles from pollutants such as smoke, acid and gas in the air are 20x smaller than our pores meaning they can easily penetrate deep into our skin. This clogs up the skin’s natural hydration process and its ability to produce collagen.
These toxins also cause the skin to appear dull. Gina Baker Germaine de Capuccini Skincare Expert explains; “it’s like a dirty window – when dirt gets stuck on it, natural blue light can no longer come through and it therefore looks grey. When our skin gets ‘dirty,’ it also appears dull or grey in tone and the light can no longer reflect out of it.
Solution: the skin needs to be detoxified and cleaned.
Attacks the skins surface.
Heating, air conditioning, cleaning products and other household substances sit on the skin’s surface causing irritation and drawing out moisture which causes dehydration. They also damage the stratum corneum (skins protective barrier) which in turn allows the other pollution types to penetrate the skin more easily and makes the skin more sensitive – it’s a vicious circle.
Solution: strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
So how do you protect & repair the skin from pollution damage?
1) Protect the skin
The best form of attack is a good defence! Use a high factor SPF cream. Don’t rely on SPFs within makeup or moisturisers, these are often low factor and usually provide only UVB protection. Look for a light protective cream specifically designed for daily use on top of your moisturiser. This will offer much more effective, stronger and reliable protection.
We recommend Germaine de Capuccini Gold Careese Anti-Ageing SPF Emulsion.
2) Clean the skin
Cleansing morning and evening will help to get rid of some of the dirt or pollution on the skin’s surface. We’d also highly recommend a professional peel to effectively remove more stubborn pollutants that are lodged on the skin.
3) Oxygenate & detoxify the skin
We know HEV and UV light staves the cells of oxygen, therefore it needs to be replaced – it’s essential for maintaining younger and healthier skin. An oxygenating facial treatment or moisturiser can significantly help with this. Oxygen can be contained within skincare products but it must be stabilised in order to do so. Make sure the ingredient is “encapsulated” to be sure it’s going to enter the skin effectively and work to detoxify the cells.
4) Repair the skin
Repairing the skin’s barrier function (stratum cornemn) provides a long term solution to pollution damage and sensitivity from irritating toxic particles. Products containing Niacinamide are a great place to start as it increases the production of ceramides which in turn strengthens the skin’s barrier function. Avoid products that contain astringents like alcohol, sulphates and witch hazel. These harsh ingredients strip the skin of its natural moisturiser which weakens it.
Your daily anti-pollution skincare routine
We use and recommend Germaine de Capuccini. GDC offers a full range of skincare products dedicated to protecting the skin against all pollution types and repairing damage already caused.