How Can I Fight Skin-Ageing Pollution and Toxins?

In 2010 airborne pollution was proven to have a significant ageing effect on the skin. Learn how to actively counteract this effect with three simple anti-pollution skincare products.

In 2010, airborne pollution was proven to have a significant ageing effect on the skin. There's plenty of good news though - this effect is easily counteracted with a simple, smart skincare routine.

Learn how to actively counteract the effect of pollution with three simple anti-pollution skincare products.

Skin ages in two ways:

There are multiple factors affecting the way our skin ages.

  1. 1. Intrinsically (determined by genetics)
  2. 2. Extrinsically (determined by environment)

While intrinsic ageing is programmed into your DNA, extrinsic ageing is not. Extrinsic ageing factors that have a detrimental effect on skin include:


How Can I Fight Skin-Ageing Pollution and Toxins?


While some of these factors are avoidable or changeable, there's one that isn't: airborne pollution.

In 2010, a team of researchers published an article in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology proving that airborne pollution was directly correlated to the rate at which skin ages.

Airborne pollution was directly correlated to:


The study found that people exposed to high levels of air pollution exhibited:

  • 20% more age spots on the forehead and cheeks
  • More pronounced 'smile' wrinkles

Several further dermatological studies are proving a link between pollution and:


How Can I Fight Skin-Ageing Pollution and Toxins?


While you can't entirely avoid airborne pollution, you can limit its ageing effects through a well-designed skincare routine. We recommend three steps to help fend off pollution-based premature ageing.

1. Cleanse skin daily.

Airborne pollution is mostly invisible to the naked eye. That means even when skin looks clean, it might not be. When airborne pollutants aren't removed from skin on a daily basis, the damaging effects of pollution are increased and, in some instances, accelerated by exposure to sunlight.

We recommend a cleansing routine which incorporates a gentle yet effective cleanser such as:

2. Exfoliate regularly.

Did you know the top layers of your skin are dead? When skin cells are dead, they're able to pack tightly together. This compact arrangement of cells creates a strong barrier against extrinsic ageing factors such as pollution.

Normal, healthy skin completely regenerates every 30 days on average. When skin matures, this turnover rate is up to one-third slower. So as you get older, any airborne pollution not removed by your cleanser remains on your skin for a longer time.

We recommend exfoliating between two and three times per week to minimise the complexion-damaging effects of airborne pollution.

Below are some of our favourite exfoliating products:

3. Use an antioxidant-based moisturiser/serum.

Skin naturally contains antioxidants that help to counteract the ageing effects of the environment. These antioxidants can be depleted if they're used up faster than they're made. For this reason, we recommend integrating an anti-oxidant moisturiser into your skincare regimen.


We recommend the following antioxidant moisturisers:


A basic skincare routine designed around these three products—cleanser, exfoliant, and antioxidant moisturiser or serum—will help minimise the ageing effects of airborne pollution. No complicated regimens are required.


4. How are Aussie bloggers fighting pollution-based ageing?

Gritty Pretty Elizabeth Arden Prevage

Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart. Image from Gritty Pretty.


Sydney blogger Eleanor Pendleton knows all about the complexion cons of living in the city. On her blog, Gritty Pretty, she’s pinpointed one of her favourite beauty trends from Asia: anti-pollution beauty. About 80 percent of the signs of premature ageing come from environmental causes such as pollution, the worst kind being traffic emissions. Eleanor explains just how bad pollution is for your skin and how it can keep you from looking youthful and feeling healthy.


Gritty Pretty offers plenty of suggestions on how you can protect your skin from an aggressive urban environment. Eleanor has picked out some of her favourite pollution-fighters. Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage line is one of her favourites, containing idebenone, a powerful antioxidant, as well as green tea and L-carnosine for additional protection. Head over to Gritty Pretty to read some of Eleanor’s top picks from the range.


One of Adore Beauty's best-sellers is also a favourite of Eleanor’s, providing the ultimate night-time detox: Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream.



If you're loving the city life, then give your skin that extra protection it needs. Browse through our Ultimate Guide to Anti-Ageing Skincare to find out how to keep your skin from ageing prematurely.

If you'd like further product recommendations, our skincare experts are always available to help. They're easily reachable through our skincare recommendations form.


How Can I Fight Skin-Ageing Pollution and Toxins?