All skin ages intrinsically (by genetics), but multiple factors affect the way skin ages extrinsically (by environment). Whereas intrinsic aging is programmed into your DNA, extrinsic aging isn’t. We’ve known now for some time that extrinsic environmental factors like smoking or sun exposure can affect our skin, but now it’s time to consider the air we breathe.
Air pollution, particularly in big cities, contains toxins and chemicals that produce free radicals. These free radicals can strip the skin of barrier lipids, which help retain moisture and keep out dirt and other impurities. A compromised skin barrier has potential for increased skin sensitivity and premature signs of skin aging.
How to protect your skin against pollution
Although you can't entirely avoid airborne pollution, you can limit its aging effects through a well-designed skincare routine.
Airborne pollution is mostly invisible to the naked eye. That means even when skin looks clean, it might not be. This is why cleansers are important. When airborne pollutants aren't removed from the skin on a daily basis, the damaging effects of pollution are increased and, in some instances, accelerated by exposure to sunlight.
Did you know the top layers of your skin are dead? Dead skin cells are able to pack together tightly. This compact arrangement of cells creates a strong barrier against extrinsic aging 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 longer.
We recommend exfoliating between two and three times per week to minimise the complexion-damaging effects of airborne pollution.
Use an antioxidant-based moisturiser/serum
Skin naturally contains antioxidants that help to counteract the aging effects of the environment. Antioxidants, along with Peptides and Vitamins, help strengthen the skin and neutralise the primary triggers of skin aging. Using a night cream or serum can create additional protection for your skin.