In addition to the stresses of city life, prolonged exposure to air pollution can take a toll on your skin. Studies have shown that air pollution, which carries air-borne toxins, accelerates the premature ageing of the skin. For example, despite having access to better skincare, city dwellers develop skin pigmentation (known as age spots) and wrinkles faster than their rural counterparts.
Urban areas are polluted mostly due to traffic, and as a result, the air in these areas carries particulate matters (PMs), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The combination of these air-borne toxins, chemicals and other particles contribute to the increase in age spots, wrinkles, and the overall ageing of the skin. Air pollution is also linked to the aggravation of skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rashes.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can help your skin cope with environmental stressors:
1) Cleanse well with a gentle skin cleanser
Wash your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser every day, preferably once in the day and again at night. Cleansing is the best way to free your skin of trapped dirt and particles, reducing the stressful effects of air pollution on your skin.
2) Put up a barrier for your skin
Give your skin’s natural barrier a helping hand with a good moisturiser that’s suited to your skin type. Not only does a moisturiser hydrate your skin, it also helps create a protective barrier for your skin against air pollution.
Similarly, sun protection is a must. Air pollution combined with UV rays may increase oxidative stress to your skin. Choose broad spectrum sun protection to shield your skin from skin-damaging UVA and UVB rays.
3) Give your skin a boost
Introduce antioxidant-rich foods into your diet, like blueberries, avocados, carrots and spinach. Remember to always drink enough water every day to help your skin rehydrate to keep it supple from the inside out.