We all know that bad skin is what happens when we’re on an unhealthy diet and become extremely stressed. There’s also the other thing of not removing makeup before going to bed, not drinking enough fluids and not getting enough sleep—little things that pile up over the years and eventually wreak havoc on your skin by causing breakouts. The biggest enemy of your skin is something that you’ve probably been ignoring, which is pollution. And pollution is a hazard we just can’t escape from.
If you live in a city, you might want to wake up to the fact that it’s probably the environment that’s making your skin worse. Imagine what pollution is doing to your skin. The situation is so severe that the beauty industry is experiencing a huge surge in anti-pollution skincare products that cater to this issue. There’s deep cleansers to exfoliators, and these products are especially designed to combat the effects of pollution. But you must know that this is just scratching the skin’s surface. Just slapping sunscreen on your skin isn’t going to do anything great.
Sun damage may be one of your worst daily skincare problems but there are a lot more dangerous issues to deal with. The skin is the largest organ of our body and it has an important part in protecting it from external agents. Even toxins from household cleaning materials, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide mixed with other pollutants such as dust are absorbed by the skin. In other words, even if you might not realize it, your skin is soaking environmental pollution minute by minute, every day.
Exposure to pollution in both air and water can cause various skin problems including acne and premature ageing. Free radicals cause injury to the collagen, resulting in darkening of some areas and the appearance of fine lines. They can also increase inflammation, which in turn makes acne and reddening worse. Other factors such as the weather, diet, UV exposure, allergies, and lifestyle all contribute towards it, and will eventually aggravate the common skin issues people experience.
Because prevention is better than cure, make sure to protect your skin from the adverse effects of environmental pollution. In order to do so, experts suggest maintaining a balanced lifestyle and following a good skincare regimen. No matter what your skin type, follow a strict routine to combat pollution. Cleanse your skin daily in the morning and evening to remove any buildup of debris. You can also exfoliate to remove the accumulation of pollutants, while allowing for the healthy cells to move to the surface of the skin. Add a moisturizer to your regimen to create a protective barrier and top it off with an SPF for full protection. You can also customize your skincare routine depending on your skin type and concern.
Use a gentle moisturizing face wash to cleanse your skin. Apply a daily serum and a cream-based, antioxidant-rich sunscreen during the day, and a rich cream to nourish your skin at night. Amlani recommends using a multi-vitamin mask twice a week to keep the skin hydrated.
Normal to combination skin
Use a gentle face wash to cleanse the skin and apply sunscreen in the mornings. At night, apply an oil-free lotion to moisturize the skin. Dr. Agarwal suggests using a moisturizing cream only on the dry areas during daytime. Throw in a charcoal-based mask to detox the skin once a week. This will not only deep cleanse the skin, but will also remove toxins that lead to any breakouts.
People with oily skin need to use an oil-control face wash to deep clean their pores, followed by an alcohol-free toner on the face and neck. Use a matte moisturiser to prevent the glands from producing excess oil. Dr. Agarwal suggests using a gel-based sunscreen in the mornings and oil control face pads. A salicylic-glycolic cream at night is perfect for reducing daytime oiliness. She recommends using a small-granule scrub at least twice-thrice a week to reduce skin buildup.
Follow a similar routine as you do with oily skin, however, add an anti-acne cream to help reduce breakouts.
Make sure to use a hydrating face-wash when cleansing your skin. Follow it up with a serum that should
be used twice daily to protect and prevent the skin from ageing. Dr. Agarwal also recommends using an anti-ageing cream and an under-eye cream at night.
If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to pollution-proof your skin from inside out, the answer is yes. “The main function of our skin is to be an immune-barrier and if pollutants have weakened this barrier, then it’s important to strengthen it. This can be achieved by fortifying the skin with essential vitamins such as E, C, and B and antioxidants. These help heal the skin damaged by free radicals and keep the immune barrier healthy,” says Dr. Agarwal.
Citrus fruits, beetroot, oregano, apples, avocado, blueberries, and leafy greens and beans play a significant role in the body’s capability to heal itself, especially the skin. Water is also essential when combating pollutants internally, so make sure you drink plenty of water through the day to detoxify the body. While the effects of pollution are rather alarming and you may not be able to completely undo the years of damage to your skin, you can prevent it from further harm by taking care of it from here on.
As a final note:
Cleanse, tone and moisturize
Double cleanse, if required
Stay hydrated through the day
Always wear sunscreen
Cover up when outdoors
Regularly visit your dermatologist to detoxify and repair skin
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