With summer in full swing here in Australia, the team at Costhetics has been reading up on skin care and sun damage. What we found surprised us.

New research reported in The Guardian has found that air pollution may cause even greater damage to your complexion than the sun.

“UV [damage from the sun] was really the topic in skin protection for the last 20-30 years. Now I think air pollution has the potential to keep us busy for the next few decades…Unless people do more, they will end up wearing pollution on their faces in ten years’ time.” – Professor Prof Jean Krutmann, director at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Germany

In other news, a study done this year on data from subjects in Germany and China link increased air pollution to brown spots on the skin.

Costhetics didn’t become Australia’s leading source for news and information on cosmetic enhancement by taking statements like these at face value. We decided to dig deeper into the effects of pollution on skin to sort out the facts and share them with our readers.

5 Ways Pollution Ages Skin

When pollution comes into contact with your skin, it doesn’t just sit on the surface. The tiny particles that make up pollution are miniscule, sometimes as much as 20 times smaller than the pores in your skin. As a result, pollution passes through your pores and infiltrates deeper layers of your skin. The results are catastrophic to skin health, leading to:

  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation
  • Negative reactions at the cellular level
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Loss of collagen

3 Ways to Fight Skin-Ageing Pollution

It’s indisputable. Air pollution is bad for your complexion. Don’t worry, though, the Costhetics team has three tricks you can use to keep your skin safe and radiant for years to come.

  • Wash It Right, Day and Night – Daily cleansing is a skincare ritual no one can afford to overlook. In the morning, a mild cleanser washes overnight dirt and oil from your face and creates a fresh palette on which to apply skincare products and makeup. In the evening, a thorough cleansing removes everyday dirt and makeup, as well as any harmful pollutants that have adhered to your skin.
  • Put Antioxidants to Work, Inside and Out – Pollution is a source of free radicals. They literally destroy skin firmness by creating holes in your face’s collagen. They also make their presence known with fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Worst of all, these free radicals can cause the DNA damage and cell mutations that lead to cancer. The answer is antioxidants, the enemy of free radicals. Your skin health program should include a serum with antioxidants that you apply in the morning and evening, as well as an antioxidant-rich diet with lots of berries and leafy greens.
  • Don’t Forget the Sunscreen – Pollution damages the skin directly, but it has also damaged the ozone layer. As a result, the UV rays that penetrate our atmosphere have never been stronger or more dangerous, especially for people with facial inflammation or hyper-pigmentation. A daily application of a sunscreen (SPF 30, please) will help you keep your skin safe. Additionally, you can look for formulations that contain antioxidants to boost their pollution-fighting powers.

Pollution is no joke, and it’s impossible to avoid. With a little time and effort, however, you can keep your complexion fresh and dewy.

Stay beautiful!



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