Is Pollution Damaging Your Skin?

Researchers in Germany, Switzerland, and the USA recently published results on the impact of air pollution on aging in a group of 400 women. The aging of the women’s skin was assessed by a well-established skin aging score called SCINEXA (score of intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging), which showed clearly that exposure to environmental pollution is linked to skin aging and hyperpigmentation (age spots).

First, the small carbon particles in air pollution enter the body and stimulate our cells’ production of the pigment melanin. Several ingredients in skin care products have proven to block tyrosinase (the precursor to melanin). The most effective being Licorice Extract when it is combined with low pH glycolic acid. This combination provides a deep penetration which prevents tyrosinase from stimulating the melanin.

Second, and even more important, these polluted particles penetrate into the deep layers of the epidermis and even into the dermal layer of the skin causing inflammation. This increases the rate of collagen destruction, creating aging skin, loss of elasticity, and wrinkles. Remember, by the time we are 30, we will have lost approximately 30% of our collagen cells. So, whether we have skin damage due to the sun, pollution or simply real time aging our goal is to reverse this loss of collagen and slow up it’s destruction. To date the most effective way to stimulate new collagen cells and slow the aging process of the skin is to consistently use a low pH glycolic acid cream at least twice daily.

Third, since pollution actually leaves residue on the surface of the skin and even deeper into clogged pores, cleansing properly is critical. A good fragrance-free cleanser should remove all makeup and debris thoroughly, followed by a gentle buffing of the skin with a cool wet buff puff or sponge to assist in exfoliation.

Fourth, protect the skin from further damage by using a good sunscreen moisturizer daily as well as remembering to reapply when exposed to the sun.

These simple steps, if followed 2 to 3 times a day, will guarantee beautiful, glowing, and youthful looking skin.