In case you've missed it, pollution is a big problem. Huge. In fact, the director general of the World Health Organisation has described air pollution as "one of the most pernicious threats to global public health". And just to add to the long, long list of pollution-related problems (not to mention period waste, or the fact that plastic is destroying everything in its wake), pollution is also wreaking havoc with our skin, causing a multitude of ailments from premature ageing to blocked pores to pigmentation.
According to the experts, there is more than one type of pollution able to negatively effect the skin. “Firstly, there's urban pollution caused by car emissions, air conditioning particles and smoke, which can weaken the skin, making it feel uncomfortable and appear dull and environmental pollution such as intense cold, sun exposure, hard water and age, all of which can lead to dry, uncomfortable, fragile skin," says Marie-Hélène Lair, Scientific Communications Director at Clarins.
"Pollution creates a layer of chemicals that leads to inflammation," explains Sue Nabi, founder of bio-fermented skincare brand, Orveda. "And inflammation causes redness, puffiness, dark spots and faster ageing. Pollution is also aggravated by UV rays so the combination is really harmful."
So, what can you do about it? Luckily, the beauty world has formulated a number of clever topical products able to safeguard skin from further damage. “Cleanse, double cleanse or even triple cleanse at night to remove daily pollution," says Nabi. "Then layer your skincare (a serum, a fluid and a daily moisturiser) to create layers of protection that will keep small particles on top of the skin and will protect from makeup penetration, too.”
Consultant dermatologist, Dr Sandeep Cliff, agrees; "I advise my patients to double cleanse with a powerful acidcleanser to neutralise any particles in the skin,” he says. "If they live in an urban environment, I also recommend applying anti-pollution skincare twice a day."
The experts recommend products with a high antioxidant content to negate the negative effects of free radicals (the pesky particles that hang heavy in polluted air and harm our skin cells). "Polyhydroxy Acids, or PHAs, are also known to deliver antioxidant benefits without irritation," adds Dr Cliff. "PHAs help to neutralise the visible ageing effects of environmental stressors including pollution and also the chelation of oxidation promoting metals in air and water."
Another clever way of preventing pollution-related damage is to invest in an air purification device, like the new Dyson Pure Cool purifying fan, which is able to reveal the indoor pollution you can’t see with a new LCD display that reports on the pollutants in the home in real time, it then reacts automatically using a unique algorithm. The clever device then uses its in-built filter system, which combines an activated carbon filter to remove gases, and a Glass HEPA filter that captures 99.95% of microscopic allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns, meaning you can relax in the knowledge that the air around you is clean.
For more anti-pollution solutions, check out our tried and tested skincare favourites to keep within arm's reach at all times.