How the Right Skincare Can Protect Your Skin from the Damaging Effects of Pollution
Many factors in our day-to-day lives contribute to aging skin. One often-overlooked factor, ozone and environmental pollution, can dramatically impact your skin over time, causing premature aging.
Thankfully, products such as SkinCeuticals have been developed to help deal with these issues. Here’s how the right skincare can protect your skin and prevent pollution damage.
How Does Ozone Pollution Affect Your Skin?
As we age, so does our skin. But some factors, such as environmental factors, can speed up the skin’s aging process.
UV Exposure isn’t The Whole Story
While over-exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation undoubtedly ages skin prematurely, over-exposure to air pollution can also contribute to visible signs of aging.
Air pollution causes free radicals to damage the skin by inducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and antioxidant defenses.
In other words, oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals for the body’s natural antioxidant response to neutralize before the free radicals cause damage to body tissue, such as the skin and other organs.
Pollution can worsen or cause skin conditions such as skin cancers, acne, pigmentation, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
The free radicals from air pollutants also damage collagen and elastin—the skin’s structures that keep it resilient and youthful. When collagen and elastin are damaged, the skin will show signs of premature aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Skin-damaging air pollutants are common in urban environments due to factors such as heavy traffic, construction sites, and industrial emissions.
These environmental pollutants include:
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
- Volatile organic compounds;
- Particulate matter; and,
- Cigarette smoke.
Another pollutant that is harmful to the skin is ground-level ozone. Ozone pollution also damages the skin and contributes to signs of aging.
Ozone pollution oxidizes lipids and depletes the skin’s natural antioxidants. And due to the high amount of sebum lipids in oily skin, this skin type is especially prone to signs of aging caused by ozone pollution damage.
According to research on ozone pollution’s effects on human skin, when the skin is exposed to 0.8 ppm ozone:
- Expression of type I collagen is reduced by 39%; and,
- Expression of type III collagen is reduced by 60%.
A reduction in collagen makes skin lax, which can result in fine lines and wrinkles. Along with showing these signs of aging, skin that has experienced ozone pollution damage may be:
- Dull—lacking a natural glow;
- Rough in texture;
- Excessively oily; and,
- More sensitive.
What Can You Do?
Thankfully, there are ways to protect your skin from environmental damage, like air and ozone pollution, and prevent the signs of aging. Here’s how.
To thoroughly clean your skin of makeup, dirt, grime, and pollution, follow a two-step cleansing process before bed. Use a cleansing wipe or pad to remove makeup. And then wash your skin with a cleanser to remove any remaining makeup, dirt, and pollution.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) taken orally, or topically in SkinCeuticals products, works to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on the skin. Along with reducing damage to skin cells, niacinamide also helps strengthen the skin barrier and repairs UV damage.
Drink plenty of water and use hydrating skincare products to keep your skin healthy and functioning at its best. Hydration will protect and strengthen your natural skin barrier.
While there is more to the skin damage story than just UV exposure, don’t forget to protect your skin from sun damage daily with a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen.
Taking oral antioxidants along with using topical antioxidants on your skin daily will help protect your skin and body from damaging free radicals. Antioxidants include vitamins A, B-Complex, B3, C, and D.
Adaptogens help to balance and change the effects of stress on the body. These are natural ingredients often found in fruits, vegetables, spices, supplements, and skincare products, and include:
- Superoxide dismutase,
- Curcumin, and,
SkinCeuticals skincare has specialized antioxidants that protect the skin and reduce the damage caused by exposure to ozone pollution.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic and Phloretin CF antioxidants specifically neutralize age-accelerating free radicals and prevent the signs of atmospheric aging caused by ozone pollution.
Maintaining Healthy, Youthful Skin
To keep your skin healthy and youthful, maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow an effective skincare routine.
A healthy lifestyle includes proper nutrition, exercise, getting enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water while avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking cigarettes and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
To effectively protect your skin daily and prevent visible signs of aging, a combination of SkinCeuticals antioxidants and SkinCeuticals broad-spectrum sunscreens are recommended, even in the winter.
These products work together as a premature aging skin treatment by reducing damage caused by ozone pollution and protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Recommended SkinCeuticals sunscreens include:
- SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50
- SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30
- SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50
Unfortunately, air and ozone pollution are not going away any time soon. And the health threats from these pollutants will likely only get worse with time.
But you can protect your skin and health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying hydrated, and following a proper skincare routine. With antioxidants and sunscreen working as the first line of defense for your skin, your skin can be a healthy, protected barrier against all the toxins thrown your way.
Dr. Caroline Tosoni pursued her Medical Degree at McMaster University and completed her post-graduate medical residency in Family Medicine through the University of Ottawa in 1998. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she opened her medical practice in Ottawa in July of 1998. Since 2000, Dr. Tosoni has focused her medical practice on Cosmetic Dermatology and has received extensive training and obtained multiple certifications in various medical cosmetic enhancement procedures such as Phlebology, Botox® Cosmetic, Dermal Fillers, SoftLift,™ BeautiPhication,™ Belkyra injections, CoolSculpting,™ Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Laser Medicine. Dr. Caroline Tosoni is also proficient in the treatment of Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and Migraine Headaches with Botox® Therapeutic. In 2015, Dr. Tosoni’s practice officially received a Focused Practice in Dermatology designation by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Medical Association.