You may not always be able to see it, but each day our skin is exposed to pollution (especially environmental pollution) which can go on to cause damage to our skin. Pollution can be caused by a number of different factors such as car fumes, smoke, dust, air particles from building sites or factories. The fact is we simply cannot easily avoid the microscopic polluting particles, especially if you are living in a city.
Our skin is our main protective barrier, however this does not stop it from being penetrated by attacks from dust, dirt, grime, cigarette smoke and smog which permeates the air. When our skin is attacked by these roaming particles of dirt, they can block the pores in our skin leading to possible breakouts, dehydration, inflammation, uneven skin tone or even damaged and aged looking skin.
The pollution which stays on our skin causes 'free radicals'. Free radicals are unstable molecules which can damage the collagen and lipids in your skin. They do this by effectively 'stealing' electrons from other molecules, such as your skin cells, to pair with their unpaired electrons. They basically do what they want and damage our skin in the process causing visible signs of ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, lacklustre and ashy looking skin.
How can you protect your skin from pollution?
Despite the fact we cannot avoid environmentally caused pollution, especially if you are living in a city, there are a few things we can do to help protect our skin.
We hope we do not need to tell you the importance of cleansing your skin, once in the evening to remove your make up, dead skin cells and excessive oil as well as in the morning to remove any toxins which the skin may eliminate during the night, but there we go, we just gave you a gentle reminder!
We would recommend, if you do not already, treat your skin to a double cleanse each evening. This method has been popping up on blogs and beauty pages for quite some time but it really is worth giving a go. The double cleanse method involves first cleansing your skin with an oil based cleanser which dissolves the make up, followed with another type of cleanser to reallyget deep into the pores of your skin leaving you feeling fresh and clean! This second step can be any kind of cleanser which you have found to work well with your skin.
Tata Harper is a firm believer in this method and her enzyme-based cleansers work well to unclog impurities and leave your skin not only as clean as possible, but also super-soft and dewy looking. Try the Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser to first melt away your make up by adding a little water to your skin with the cleanser and massaging thoroughly. This encourages oxygen into the skin to give you a healthy looking glow. Rinse your face and follow up with the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser which contains Papaya Enzymes and Broccoli Extract to stimulate the skins natural detoxification process.
Add your antioxidants
So, among all the talk of grime and dirt clogging our pores and attacking our skin there is some good news; the free radicals mentioned earlier can be counteracted by antioxidants. They work by providing your skin with the molecules needed to stabilise free radicals, therefore preventing them from damaging our skin.
You can ensure an intake of antioxidants in two ways, either by using skincare products with added antioxidants or eating a diet of foods which include this wonderful ingredient.
Firstly, include super-rich antioxidant filled skincare which works hard to protect you and prevent free radicals causing damage. The Aromatherapy Associates Anti Ageing Rich Repair Nourishing Cream encourages the production of collagen, often damaged by pollution, for smooth and supple skin and features key ingredients such as Rose, Patchouli and Frankisense to renew your skin's vitality.
If you are looking for an intensive serum to add to your skincare routine, the Madara Time Miracle Cellular Repair Serum contains Madaras antioxidant rich plant extract which neutralises 70% of free radicals that work to slow down the ageing process. The formulation also contains Bilberry leaves which contain antioxidants that reduce the skin's ageing by obstructing UV rays and environmental influences.
The best foods for a high intake of antioxidants include blueberries, leafy greens and raspberries. (For more tips on how to eat for healthy skin, we've covered it in more depth here: Eat your way to healthy skin). Alternatively you can add anti-oxidant rich super foods such as Aduna Super Cacao Powder into your cooking (Cacao deserts are the best!) or try the 100% organic, highly concentrated The Synergy Company Beet Powder to promote optimal health.
Strengthen the barrier
The more barriers you build on your skin, the easier it is to stop your skin from being penetrated by environmental aggressors. You can do this by layering your skin care with a serum before a moisturiser. Look for products which contain ingredients such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C which can help boost strength into your skin. The Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum contains 29 high performance ingredients including antioxidants and vitamins and has been proved to begin protecting your skin within the first 24 hours.
If you are already set with your double cleansing, serum and moisturising combo you can protect your skin even further (yes, a 5th element to be extra careful) by spritzing your skin with a facial spray or mist. This not only keeps your make up in place throughout the day and keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, but they often contain further ingredients and properties to help fight the signs of ageing. Give your skin a boost with the Grown Alchemist Hydra Mist+ which is rich in Hyaluronic Acid, Desert Lime and Kelp Extracts to provide exceptional free radical protection.
Last but not least, do not forget your daily SPF - many formulas now contain antioxidants for extra protection such as the Green People Day Solution Cream SPF15.
It's good to know that even though we unfortunately are unable to prevent ourselves from exposing our skin to polluting particles in the air, there are natural & organic products which can help combat the problem!
For more products which are rich in antioxidants and anti-ageing properties, shop here for: Anti-ageing.
What do you do to protect your skin from pollution? Let us know in on Twitter @Naturisimo_UK