5 ways to protect your skin from dirty air

We will tell you how you can deal with the consequences of smog.

Studies show that polluted and dirty air has a negative effect on the skin: it stimulates the formation of free radicals, activates inflammation, and violates the protective barrier of the skin.

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You may experience increased sensitivity with redness, dryness, tightness, and flaking. If your skin is prone to acne, the breakouts may get bigger.

Some negative effects become apparent immediately, while others become apparent over time. Polluted air has been identified as one of the main triggers of premature skin aging and has been linked to such symptoms as the formation of age spots and the formation of wrinkles.

1. Cleanse your skin thoroughly

PM2.5 (particulate matter) — fine particulate matter that pollutes the air — 20 times smaller in diameter than our pores. Once in the skin, they can increase inflammation and disrupt collagen synthesis.

To free skin from impurities and prevent clogged pores, use a two-step cleansing system. First, remove makeup with micellar water, hydrophilic oil, or a two-phase makeup remover, then wash with gel, foam, or special cream. It is not worth switching to harsher products that cleanse the skin to a squeak: there is a risk of weakening the skin’s protective barrier.

2. Use special masks

Use a clay or charcoal mask once or twice a week to deep cleanse your pores. If the smog has not made your skin more reactive, continue to use AHA and BHA exfoliation products.

3. Add antioxidant products to your daily routine

Polluted air stimulates the formation of free radicals, which, in turn, trigger the oxidation of cells. Due to damage to proteins and lipids, the skin becomes dull and more prone to hyperpigmentation, gradually losing its firmness and elasticity.

If you use a vitamin C serum or cream, you are already making a significant contribution to protecting your skin from oxidative stress. Antioxidants — Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, Resveratrol, Ferulic, and Alpha Lipoic Acids — neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from their damaging effects.

4. Use products marked anti-pollution

The assortment of many brands has special products aimed at residents of megacities. Usually, they are marked with anti-pollution or contain the words city or urban in the name.

The purpose of such products is to create a barrier between pollutants and the skin, enhance its protective properties, and help in recovery from oxidative stress.

Protective creams and sprays show good results: they form an invisible protective film on the skin surface, which becomes an obstacle for polluting particles.

Detox products are also useful. Skin detox is a controversial concept, but usually, cosmetics with such markings are good at clearing the skin of polluting particles.

5. Strengthen the protective barrier

If you feel tightness, tingling or itching, dehydration, redness, flaking, and an uncharacteristic reaction to familiar cosmetics, this may signal problems with the skin’s protective barrier.

Do not overuse intensive care products like retinol cosmetics against this background. Instead, choose a moisturizer with ceramides and fatty acids, ingredients that will help restore the barrier.

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