When you move to a big city, you make sacrifices – especially when it comes to your skin. City folk have to deal with a number of different skin care concerns as a result of traffic, and overall pollution that could be avoided if you just stay in the suburbs. Things like protection against free radicals, ozone, and floating debris are a must to prevent your skin from acne and pre-mature aging.
So, now that we know that pollution is a huge threat to our skin (alongside UV), incorporating a defense into your routine is totally worth considering – especially if you live in a big city! But before you do, know what you're defending against (and why).
PROTECTING YOUR SKIN AGAINST POLLUTION: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
SO, WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS?
Free radicals are reactive molecules – they're created as byproducts of other processes, like photodamage and cigarette smoke. They come about when normal, functioning cells are mutated by pollutants in the urban air, and as a result they become more prone to age us and dry us out.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT
UV rays are a big trigger for cell mutation, so start with SPF. After that, reach for antioxidant-rich products with ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, argan oil, green tea, and coffeberry. The idea is to protect the rest of your cells from free radical damage, which also preventing the formation of new free radicals.
Serums, which are treatments that you can apply post-cleanse and pre-moisturizer, also come into play here. Serum makes for a great, lightweight barrier that pairs well with just about anything and leaves you feeling a little brighter when you head out into the world.
DO I NEED TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST POLLUTION IF I DON'T LIVE IN A BIG CITY?
While urban dwellers are exposed to heavier concentrations of pollutants, less population-dense areas aren't safe zones because wind systems move pollutants, making them a problem everywhere. Meaning, even if you do live in a little suburban area, you should still be taking the appropriate action against pollution.
The suburban minimalist might lean towards a weekly treatment like an antioxidant mask that guards against pollutants.
SWITCH UP YOUR CLEANSER
Another way to protect and cleanse at the same time? Get defensive by swapping your regular old nightly cleanser for a micellar water or heavy-duty oil to take care of soot and debris.