How Air Pollution Ages Your Skin

question: Facial ExerciseQuestion:  Can air pollution age my skin?  After a day in the city, my face feels gritty and irritated.My gut tells me this can’t be good.

Answer:  Your  gut instinct is right.  Studies have now shown that women who live in high traffic areas have more dark spots and wrinkles. That’s the bad news. The good news?   Other research can  both explain  why traffic pollution ages the skin  and how to prevent the damage.

Air Pollution and the skinHow Air Pollution Ages the Skin

The problem starts when car emissions in heavy traffic combines with sunlight to form ozone gas.  The ozone oxidizes the natrual skin oil ( sebum).  This causes inflammation and breaks down the barrier functions of the skin.   But wait there’s more.   The mix of ozone and sebum triggers the production of an enzyme in the body that breaksdown collagen which accelerates  development of lines, wrinkles and sagging.  In addition this enzyme stimulates pigment producing  brown spots and splotches.

Stop Air Pollution Skin Problems

Preventing aging from traffic related air pollution  calles for three straighforward steps:

  1.  Through Cleansing—  You need to  faithfully  wash your face at the end of the day.   By removing the daily accumulation of  oil and dirt, your prevent  nighttime exposure to oxidized dirt and oil.  Use a liquid cleanser to wash the face without dehydration.
  2. Antioxidant Therapy — The  best way to prevent oxidation is to use strong antioxidants  to block  formation of free radicals which interrupts oxidation.  If you prevent oxidation you prevent cascade of events that lead to brow spots and wrinkles.  Vitamin C is  a much studied and highly effective antioxidant.  Other great free radical fighters include green tea, soy and seaweed and are great ingredients to look for in a serum, moisturizer and face  mask. You  can also  make your own by adding these ingredients  your favorite skin care products.
  3. Protection —  When I think of skin protection I think of sunscreens that block UV rays from the sun.  That is still very important but unfortunately  the basic  sun block does not help  the skin deal with zone related  skin problems.  But  if your diet includes plenty of antioxidant rich  fruits and vegetables and  your  skin care products are formulated  with  ingredients like vitamin C and green tea, you are providing  genuine benefits.  In addition,  ozone dammages  the natural barrier of the skin and  there are  cosmetic ingrediets that can  help restore this essential skin factor.  Look  for ingredients like glycerin, glycerin , beeswax and lanolin to help the body restore a healthy skin barrier.


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