How to Stop City Pollution From Aging Your Skin
A dermatologist has revealed her top tips to protecting your skin from damaging city pollution, which can reduce antioxidants in skin and disrupt collagen production, aging skin as a result.
Shocking statistics released by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs recently revealed that city pollution increases by a staggering 20 per cent on weekdays compared to weekends.
And now a skin expert has told FEMAIL that as well serious environmental implications and health consequences, pollution can have an ageing impact on our skin.
According to leading skincare clinic group sknclinics.co.uk only 23 per cent of Brits know how to protect their skin from harm, while 75 per cent of Londoners feel their commute has a negative impact on the condition of their skin.
Consultant Jinah Yoo revealed that deep cleansing at night to rid the pores of deep-set grime, as well as using SPF on a daily basis - even in the winter - and drinking eight glasses of water by 8pm, are all ways to keep your skin looking youthful.
Explaining how pollution can affect the skin, Jinah Yoo said: 'There are several mechanisms by which air pollution can affect the skin.
'Ozone, which is one of the major air pollutants, generates free radicals which leads to a reduction in the antioxidants in our skin, as well as disrupting collagen production and destroying the skin's barrier. As a result, it promotes skin ageing.
'With long-term exposure to air pollutants, you may see the signs of skin ageing which will appear as wrinkles, brown spots, uneven skin tone, dehydration and loosing elasticity of the skin.
'Air pollutants also cause skin inflammation and increased pigment production.
'What's more, some of the air pollutants are small enough to penetrate into pores which can be trapped and cause acne-like spots.'
Advising how the ideal daily skincare routine should look, she continued: 'There are four important daily skincare steps you should consider: deep cleansing, antioxidant application, moisturiser and sunscreen.
'Firstly, deep cleansing at night will help to remove pollutants accumulated on the surface of the skin during the daytime.
'After cleansing, application of an antioxidant cream containing vitamin C and E, which inhibit free radical formation, will help to delay the skin ageing process caused by extrinsic factors such as air pollution or UV.
'However, choosing the right antioxidant and using it correctly is important. Vitamin C cream comes in various concentrations (5-20 per cent), it is best to start with a low concentration, then gradually increase the concentration as starting with high strength can occasionally cause skin irritation'.
Medical Director and specialist in Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology, at sk:n, Dr Hussein, shared his top daily skincare tips for keeping your face clean and clear in the city.
1. Think about where you are
Keep an eye on the pollution forecast and air quality which will have a colour-coded map to show the areas of the UK worst effected by pollution.
Avoid spending unnecessary time near busy roads and traffic ingested areas when the map is coded in red, which is a 'high' air pollution banding, or purple, which signifies very high.
If you do find yourself unavoidable in a pollution hotspot, try to avoid touching your face during the day, and wash your face as soon as you get home.
2. Always deep cleanse at night
Thoroughly cleansing your skin at night will help to remove pollutants accumulated on the surface of it during the daytime.
Exfoliating is a great way to remove the top layer of mostly dead, epidermal cells on the outer surface of the skin to expose fresher brighter skin.
Try an exfoliating cleanser that contains glycolic acid and glycerine to remove dead skin cells, clear pores, moisturise and rejuvenate the skin.
3. Don't wipe off
After a busy day avoid the temptation to use make-up wipes to cleanse your skin - they're not a viable alternative to a proper cleanse and you could be doing more harm than good.
Make-up wipes can simply spread make-up, dirt and skin over your face, leaving irritated skin in their wake, and often contain ingredients such as alcohol or certain preservatives that will irritate more delicate skin types.
The scrubbing action that is often accompanied with their use can cause inflammation that, over time, can promote skin pigmentation.
4. Play the long game with an antioxidant cream
After cleansing, application of an antioxidant cream containing vitamin C and E, which inhibit free radical formation, will help to delay the skin ageing process caused by extrinsic factors such as air pollution or UV.
Vitamin C cream comes in various concentrations (5-20 per cent), and it is best to start with a low concentration, then gradually increase the concentration as starting with high strength can occasionally cause skin irritation.
5. Keep your skin hydrated and moisturised
Keeping your skin well-moisturised will help to maintain an intact skin barrier, vital for protection against pollution.
Apply moisturiser morning and night after cleansing your face. You may wish to use a heavier moisturiser in the evening and a lighter one in the day.
6. Take extra caution if you have eczema
Air pollution can affect everyone, however patients with underlying skin conditions with a broken skin barrier, such as eczema, may experience worsening of their eczema with exposure to air pollution.
7. Slap on the SPF
Sun cream should be a key element of everyone's daily skin routine, and not just in the summer.
Using sun cream which contains UV and visible light block will help to reduce signs of skin ageing.
8. Go make-up free
It's tempting to use more cosmetics to cover up any skin imperfections, however, by doing this it clogs your pores even more and triggers further outbreaks or can be what caused one in the first place.
Going cold turkey isn't always a realistic option more some people so instead why try going one day a week with no make-up or using mineral cosmetics instead.
The worst culprits for causing breakouts are heavy use of foundation - look for products that are non-comedogenic, sheer, and fragrance-free.
9. Drink plenty of water
When skin is dehydrated, it will be dull, lack moisture and therefore lustre.
The phrase '8 by 8' is useful at keeping track of how many glasses of water you consume before the end of the day; simply drink eight glasses of water by 8pm, a minimum of 2 litres, and you'll have had your fill for the day.
10. Visit a dermatology clinic
Whilst maintaining a good daily skincare routine will help protect your skin from damage, there are a variety of treatments that can help improve skin pigmentation and tone whilst rejuvenating the skin - including hydrofacials and laser treatments.