Apparently it’s not just the sun we need to safeguard our skin from; according to NASA, air pollution levels are exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended levels, globally. So what exactly is pollution? There are two types; urban pollution which is caused by car, industrial and smoke emissions and environmental; intense cold, sun exposure and hard water all which can lead to fragile skin.
Pollutants known as PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers that cause the haze in the city air) are so small - 20 times smaller than our pores - several thousand can penetrate the skin at any one time. It’s these particles that can trigger skin conditions, deplete the proteins that protect our skin from losing moisture, causing ageing. And according to clinical research it’s this pollution that ages the appearance of city dwellers 10% faster than their rural counterparts! So what’s the solution? Follow Psycle’s rules to shielding ourselves against city pollution.
EAT CLEAN, NOT DIRTY
Being aware of pollutants is your first step. The annual Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 chart is a great starting point; these list the highest and lowest pesticide rates in fruit and vegetables. Try to go organic wherever you can, this will help reduce your intake of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics with most found in dairy, eggs, meat & poultry. It’s a commonly believed myth that organic farms don’t use pesticides, herbicides and fungicides but there are degrees of contamination all depending on each countries specific organic standards and individual farming practices. Although most organic food does still use pesticides, studies have been done to measure pesticides in children, which showed an immediate decrease in levels once they switched to organic foods. The levels returned when switched back to non-organic food.
BUILD UP YOUR BARRIERS
The more hydrated and resilient skin is the fewer toxins can penetrate. It’s now become the third highest concern in skincare and because of this products are being launched to target specific pollutants for example Guerlain’s Acqua Super Aqua Serum which increases the protein Clusterin found naturally in the skin and responsible for mopping up pollutants. Follow with Clarins UV Plus HP which has a special anti-pollution formula.
DO A DOUBLE CLEANSE
Cleansing is the cornerstone of every beauty regime but the Asian ritual of doubling cleansing takes it one step further. First any pollutants and bacteria that accumulate during the day are removed with an oil cleanser, before skin is cleansed again with a foam wash. The second step is the most important; not just for removing dirt or oil, but to soften the skin, which ensures anything applied afterwards, is absorbed more efficiently. For an extra boost use a cleanser with glycolic and salicylic acid to deep clean pores of pollutants whilst removing dead skin.
INCREASE YOUR ANTI-OXIDANTS
Free radicals are little compounds that if left to roam free and accumulate can lead to stress on the body. Anti-oxidants can stop these reactions, protecting the body from their effects so boosting Vitamin C & A levels can make a difference; “One of my go-to recommendations for my patients,’’ says New York Dermatologist Dr Adam Geyer, is using , which has a 10.5 per cent concentration of antioxidant-rich vitamin C’’. Use under your moisturizer and with your SPF. But anti-oxidants shouldn’t just stop at skin; Rhian’s go to foods are berries, citrus fruits and orange vegetables as they have higher amounts of Vitamin C and A which are great for skin.
Vitamin C is known for protection against free radicals, so if you already take that you’re already halfway there, but look into the more major players to top up. Rhian’s preference is to take Biomedical Anti-Ox as it has the enzymatic and amino acid precursors as well as a broad spectrum of antioxidants. The formula has great synergy because it also has herbal components that balance it out and give a wide range of phytonutrients. For a booster try alpha lipoid acid (also fantastic for insulin balance), CoQ10 and Vitamin E with Selenium but with any additions to your diet always consult to a qualified nutritionist to see what works best for you.