You’re reading this very sentence on some type of screen. Whether it be a computer, phone, or tablet, blue light is radiating from your electronic device right now. And you’re most definitely breathing air into your lungs this very minute, too. But did you know that both the oxygen you breathe in and the blue light beaming from your screen are forms of pollutants? And they’re affecting not only your health, but also the health of your skin.
You’ve also probably seen a lot of skin-care products out there claiming to be anti-pollution. And, while it might sound like some sort of gimmick, there is actually something to it. Ahead, everything you need to know about pollution and the skin, plus what you can do to protect your complexion from its damaging effects.
What does pollution do to the skin?
As improbable and frightening as air and light pollution might initially seem, they’re backed up by even scarier scientific proof. The World Health Organization (or WHO, if you’re feeling collegiate) reports that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. And in a 2017 study, blue light — the light that emits from smartphones and electronics — was found to generate reactive oxygen species in the skin. The study noted, “These results suggest that blue light contributes to skin aging similar to UVA.” Yikes.
Air pollution might seem like a mystifying concept, but basically, they are tiny, invisible particles floating in the air from many different sources, including cigarette smoke, fuel, exhaust, and gases. “The pores in the skin are generally larger than these small particles of pollutants, allowing them to enter into the skin’s surface, causing inflammation and oxidative stress,” says New York City board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical NYC, Morgan Rabach, MD. “The oxidative stress and formation of free radicals start a pathway of changes in the skin, leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin (wrinkles, enlarged pores) and even changes that can lead to skin cancer.” The inflammatory state can also lead to flare-ups of eczema, psoriasis, and even acne, Dr. Rabach notes.
What Is “Anti-Pollution” skin care?
While we know we can guard our skin from environmental damage like the sun by using sunscreen, the idea of using skin-care products to protect from pollutants is relatively new. In fact, anti-pollution skin care is one of the fastest-growing categories of beauty. “Anti-pollution skin care targets the oxidative stress in the skin and helps the skin repair damage from free radicals,” says Dr. Rabach. It might sound too good to be true, but there are a handful of ingredients and products that can defend skin from an increasingly polluted planet, while also minimizing the appearance of past damage.
What can you use to protect yourself from pollution?
Environmentally stressed skin doesn’t have to stress you out. With the right ingredients and products, you can create a pollution-fighting regimen that will keep your skin protected from free radical damage caused by blue light and air pollutants.
First thing in the a.m. — and throughout the day when skin is feeling lackluster or stressed, spray on the juicy Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist, which has a superhero trio of ingredients (rice germ, apple cider vinegar, and moringa seed) to help repel both types of pollution. Rice germ extract destructs dangerous free radicals (a.k.a. pollution and blue rays) in the skin, while the natural astringent apple cider vinegar and moringa seed detoxifies skin and fights bacteria. There’s also a secret weapon in this mist: Fructooligosaccharides (comically long name, serious results), which is a plant-derived prebiotic that helps aid your skin’s microbiome to create a protective barrier from environmental aggressors.
After you give yourself a luxurious mist of the Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist, massage on the dreamy Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, which soothes, replenishes, and seals in long-lasting hydration. Always, always wear sunscreen to protect against not only blue light, but UVA and UVB rays, says Dr. Rabach.
At the end of the day, wash away all traces of not only makeup and dirt, but also particulate matter with the 3-in-1 Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser. Then mist again and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Pollution is a real danger to your skin, but with the right anti-pollution skin care, you can keep your complexion clean, protected, and safe from all that aging and skin-barrier depleting damage.