If you care about your skin, you may have been reading about pollution protection. Just when you think you’ve got this whole skin care thing figured out, along comes something new! And yes, it’s a big thing.
Is this fear mongering or is pollution protection something we should really be concerned about? From free radicals to environmental attacks and noxious gases, the headlines make it sound like the air is out to get us. We already know that environmental pollution in the form of poor air quality is a major health problem worldwide. And now, we are starting to recognize the significant effects of air pollution on the skin as well. A recent study shows that cigarette smoking and soot levels are known to promote clinically visible skin changes. And, more recent information, demonstrates the association between NO2 levels (generated from combustion such as from vehicles), and cheek lentigines (brown spots) in 50 year olds from Germany and China.
Before rushing out to buy pollution protection treatments, it’s important to understand just what we are protecting ourselves against. It’s suspected that ozone – the toxic gas that forms when UV light hits mono-nitrogen oxides (from combustion exhaust) – is one of the primary causes of pollution-related skin damage. Ozone is thought to damage skin by oxidizing the lipids (fats) that bind our skin cells together, resulting in a cascade of DNA-damaging events.
Isn’t Sunscreen Enough?
If you apply sunscreen daily, you’re off to a good start. Sunscreens protect skin against damaging UV rays, but they aren’t necessarily going to offer much in the way of pollution protection. When it comes to pollution protection, antioxidants – Vitamins C and E, green tea, alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol and retinoids, for example – are your best friends. Antioxidants work by binding to free radicals – unstable molecules generated by pollution – and counteracting them before they damage cells. One single ingredient can’t do the job, so don’t get caught up in the hype of finding the “best” antioxidant as it doesn’t exist. Instead, there are lots of good ones, so the more, the merrier!
Don’t stop with the antioxidants at night. Pollution is around 24/7, day and night, so you need to use antioxidants at night too.
Other tips include cleansing (to remove dirt and grime, which contain particulate matter, the tiny harmful particles in the air) and skin barrier repair with good moisturizers. Keeping your skin strong and healthy helps to keep harmful things out.
Those of us at Apothekari wouldn’t dream of starting our days without Apothekari Bespoke Vitamin C Serum. Available in both a 10% and 15% concentration, this is the first thing we layer on every morning under our sunscreen. Loaded with free radical fighting vitamins C and E along with other potent actives, it’s one of the best pollution protection products available anywhere. At night, you can’t beat A is for Anti-Aging, which boasts antioxidant rich retinaldehyde and niacinamide.
We’re also really excited about our soon to be available sunscreen, Shade SPF 30, which contains not only UVA/UVB blocking zinc oxide, but is also enhanced with Thiotaine – an antioxidant found in red algae, which prevents damage caused by UV radiation – and Ergothioneine, an ingredient with special free-radical scavengers that supports skin from stress and other health challenges.
Pollution Protection? We’ve got you covered!