Do you ever feel like walking around a major city can age your skin by 10 years? Or, that by accidentally crossing the street behind a bus exhaust, you’ve just inflamed your preexisting melasma condition? (You know, the one you thought you had under control?) Well, you are not alone. These days more and more studies are making their way to the forefront touting pollution as one of the leading causes of skin issues such as acne, eczema, rosacea and more. There’s even a term for it, polluaging, which, as its name suggests, is a combination of pollution and aging. Pollutants in our surroundings are causing us to age prematurely as they are responsible for transferring free radicals into the pores of our skin. Free radicals attack healthy skin cells and cause trauma. With research to back it up, anti-polluaging skincare is officially the next big trend among dermatologists, beauty brands and wellness professionals.
How does pollution affect the skin?
What is anti-pollution skincare?
And for the United States, which represents $17 billion in revenue generated by the skincare market, the anti-polluaging movement is gaining momentum thanks to new supporting data. A recent experiment in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology proves a correlation exists between air pollution and sunspots. The study conducted last May showed a link in 400 women between the development of facial lentigines (sunspots) and chronic exposure to traffic-related PM. In the United Kingdom, NPD Group reports that anti-pollution moisturizers and masks have risen 62 percent and 112 percent, respectively. And, a recent study in Korea, according to MD Magazine, examined the connection between outdoor pollutants and chronic eczema. Researchers measured daily outdoor concentrations of pollutant matter, nitric oxides and volatile organic compounds and found a direct link between the outdoor pollutants and eczema symptoms.
How does anti-pollution skincare work?
Beyond vitamin C, Wolinsky recommends washing with a gentle cleanser at night to remove the unwanted pollutants that have been sitting on the skin throughout the day. Harsh scrubs or exfoliants will only add to inflammation of the skin, so choosing a cleanser that can remove dirt and makeup without stripping the skin’s moisture is essential. “We can’t totally shield ourselves from pollutants,” she says, “but we can take preventative measures that will keep our skin happy and healthy over time.”
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