It’s a rough deal for your skin, but there are plenty of ways to care for it in the face of pollution.
With such high levels of pollution, the need for meticulous skincare becomes essential. Luckily, everyone has the option of taking the right measures to be protected because these pollutants penetrate deep into our skin. According to studies, air pollution is one of the major drivers for the increasing pigments and age spots due to which pigmentation and blemishes are the number one concern for most people.
When pollutants come in contact with your skin, they often penetrate into deeper epidermal layers causing inflammation, dehydration and cellular level reactions that affect skin internally. Beauty expert Ritu Khanna says, “Pollution increases risk of skin cancer, skin sensitivity, premature skin ageing, discoloration, dryness, dullness, roughness, acne, hives, and eczema. Luckily, we can deal with these conditions by proper cleansing and using antioxidants in everyday usage. Deep clean the skin at night, neutralise it with antioxidants and create a barrier with sunscreen. Include antioxidants in your diet and skincare regime. Citrus fruits contain Vitamin C, E, and limonene which lower the risk of cancer and protect your skin from damage.”
The impact of air pollution on the skin is also known as ‘polluaging’. The toxic fume from pollution contains free radicals that damage our skin and speeds up ageing.
Kinimi adds, “We can control a skincare routine and protect it from the harmful side effects of pollution. Deeply cleanse to ensure all traces of pollutants and dirt are effectively removed from your skin. Low foaming gel-based cleansers are the way to go. Avoid cleansers containing Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphates or denatured alcohols as they dry out the skin and can damage our skin barrier over time. Exfoliate a few times a week with an AHA or a BHA to speed up the skin cell turnover and to remove dead skin cell build-up that may be clogging our pores. Using serums and moisturisers with antioxidants help to fight inflammation, promote collagen production, even tone skin and keep wrinkles at bay. Opt for a sunscreen (SPF 30+) with broad-spectrum protection that protects against UVA and UVB rays.”
While beauty science insists on deep cleansing to prevent pollution-related skin damage, Ayurvedic experts recommend a more holistic approach. Kerala-based Dr Maneesh S, chief physician at Mekosha Ayurveda says, “Air pollutants turn our hair and skin excessively dry, losing their luster. Basically, it is the Vata accumulation in us, along with pollutants that lead to dry skin and brittle fingernails. Precautionary measures in Ayurveda can help bring the moisture level of one’s skin up through herbal remedies. One can try getting Siro Abhyanga massage for the hair and Kaya Abhyanga to combat dry skin. Since Ayurveda is a preventive approach, one has to take care of diet as well — including aloe vera juice — can help prevent both loss of moisture and nourishment from the skin. In addition, the use of sandalwood in different forms on the skin can help those with oily skin.”