Anti-Pollution Skincare: How Much Does Your Skin Need it?

Anti-Pollution Skincare: Is It Worth Your Money?

Anti Pollution Skincare : Is It Worth Your Money?

Nowadays, the need for reliable skin protection has become a pressing topic giving the increasing number of environmental problems and diseases that come along with pollution. Hong Kong’s environment can have quite an impact on one’s skin. Although we don’t pay close attention to our environment on a daily basis, the pollution, the rise of allergic reactions and the never-ending crowds of Hong Kong are all different factors that can be very harmful to the skin. With all the reasons mentioned above and many more, the search for a protection that goes beyond the traditional skincare routine has become customers’ top priority.

I- What pollutants are most harmful to the skin?

Skin pollution comes in many forms, but you should always care about the main ones below:

– Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR): Standing for the energy emitted by the sun, the UVR exposure has many beneficial effects such as the vitamin D synthesis and prevention from diseases from which we can state diabetes type I, rickets, and osteoporosis. On the other hand, high exposure to UVR can even lead to non-melanoma skin cancer and other skin and eyes’ diseases without mentioning the fact that it fastens the ageing process, therefore UVR is widely considered as skin pollutant. Contrary to what most people think, wrinkles are not the ultimate primary sign of facial ageing. Facial ageing is a more complex process that affects the entire facial structure including skin, subcutaneous fat, muscles and facial bones.

– Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): PAHs is a group of more than 100 chemicals that are naturally released in the environment in fossil fuels. They are considered as environmental pollutants generated due to incomplete combustion. Not only they lead to premature ageing and increase of dark spots, but they can also result in skin tumor in very bad cases.

– Particulate Matter (PM): also stands for particle pollution, this term stands for the small particles that exist in the air and is the result of a chemical reaction between pollutants. PM is generally a pollutant in the air as a result of emissions from cigarettes, burnt fossil fuels and many others.

– Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): The VOCs are organic chemicals that are found in the environment when emitted from different solids and liquids and that can have short and long term effects on one’s health.

II- What’s the impact of pollution on the skin?

An adequate set of protective measures against skin pollution is a must have in a big city like Hong Kong. Air pollution particles are known to hover in big cities and can even enter homes. The particles are small and can easily penetrate the skin which leads to many unpleasant consequences such as: accelerating the ageing process, triggering the appearance of brown spots on the skin, clogging pores, and increasing wrinkles. In extreme and rare cases, pollution can lead to skin cancer.

Now talking about the impact of the solar ultraviolet radiation on the skin, the list is pretty long. Regardless of the fact that it is the major cause of skin cancers on the long run when exposed to too much sun, tanning lamps and beds, the solar ultraviolet radiation also has effects on the short run such as erythema,  which is commonly known as “sunburn”. Many of us usually take sunburns for granted, but the truth is: sunburns are the result of an extreme absorption of energy from UV rays which led to cell damage. In order for the skin to naturally heal the injury, it pumps more blood to the affected part – leading to the redness usually associated with sunburns-.

Although the skin works as a natural barrier against external factors, small nanoparticles in the form of soot, dirt or dust still manage to penetrate our skins on a daily basis by breaking down the lipids and the collagen in it. Ozone, carbon monoxide and other gases caused by air pollution mainly also harm the skin and affect it negatively.

Ultraviolet Rays Types

III- What are the steps to lower the impact of pollution on the skin?

Many cosmetics brands have now stepped up to advertise for their anti-pollution skincare products but one shall not underestimate the benefits of the traditional habits.

  • Skin cleansing is the first and most important step that one should never neglect especially during hot weather. It is important to make sure your face is fully clean from makeup and dirt every night before you go to bed. Efficient cleansing removes trapped PM  in the skin layers during the day. In addition to the cleansing, in order for your products to be effective, make sure they contain UV protection and other ingredients that can hydrate and strengthen the natural skin.
  • Skin Hydration is another step that is very important. Be it by using skin moisturizers and lotions that will keep your skin tight or by drinking the right amount of water on a daily basis. Our skin, connective tissues and eyes contain a substance that is called Hyaluronic Acid, this latter’s main job is to retain water in order to keep the tissues hydrated, smooth, and lubricated. When there is enough supply of water from inside and outside the body, the skin looks healthier, more radiant, and consequently less prone to wrinkles, acne and other skin problems. The skin hydrating products also work the same way by preventing the water content from evaporating.

 Although both moisturizing and hydrating aim to get the skin the sufficient amount of water it needs, there are some slight differences between both – mainly in how they achieve these results. Do you know the difference between hydrating and moisturizing?

Hydrating Vs. Moisturizing

  • A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) product is also something you should never take for granted as part of your daily skin care routine especially on sunny days. The right sunscreen can only prevent so many skin problems and combat pollution at the same time. As we previously mentioned in the article, the solar ultraviolet radiation (SUV) is one of the most harmful pollutants to the skin. By constantly using sunscreens or any sun protection factor products, you protect your skin from UVB rays that are responsible for sunburns and noticeable skin discoloration as well as dullness.
UVA & UVB on the skin
UVA & UVB on the skin

IV- Any efficient cosmetics products which are anti-pollution specifically?

It is true that the traditional skin care routine is a must, but you can also go the extra mile to combat or prevent the impact of pollution on your skin. There are so many anti-pollution cosmetics that you can easily find. Here is a selection of those that are worth a try:

  • Thisworks In Transit Skin Defence: Contains SPF protection and combats air pollutants, this moisturizer also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin E that soothes and calms the skin

Price: around 304 HKD. 

  • Dermalogica daily superfoliant: this product absorbs environmental pollutants and help clean and detoxify pores. The advanced powder formula can be activated upon contact with water by releasing enzymes and anti-pollution particles.

Price: around 463 HKD.

  • Dermalogica oil busting emulsifier: A deep cleansing oil that melts impurities and makeup without harming the skin. Melts away layers of excess sebum, makeup and other pollutants the skin goes through during the day.

Price: 418 HKD. 

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