Air pollution is harmful to your skin

Carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds .. There are numerous pollutants and they are harmful to your health: irritation, tiredness, stress, migraine, headache, asthma, respiratory problems, etc. What effects do they have on your skin ? How good are the so-called "anti-pollution" cosmetics? The purpose of our article is to provide some answers.

Pollution makes us more vulnerable to external aggression

The pollutants are deposited on the skin and dissolve on contact with sebum. This oxidation phenomenon alters the natural skin barrier. Thus, the skin is more vulnerable to external aggressions. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful since it stimulates and aggravates the skin reactions of sensitive skin such as nettle rash, eczema or acne. The skin ages faster.

A recent L'Oréal study, performed in collaboration with the Centre Régional de lutte contre le cancer de Montpellier and the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, made it possible to evaluate the effect of pollution on human. 189 volunteers were enrolled to this study in Mexico City (polluted area) and Cuernavaca (less polluted area). The study demonstrated significant modifications: sebum excretion, lower level of vitamin E, squalene in sebum, and superficial biochemical properties. This can cause "more blackheads, imperfections", while "weakening the skin barrier" and "systematically aggravating existing skin problems," said Brigitte Liberman, general manager of L'Oréal's Active Cosmetics division, in the columns of the Echoes.

Air pollution causes premature ageing

Like all organs, the skin is subject to aging. Pollution accelerates this process.

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Cutaneous aging results in:

  • The appearance of premature lines
  • A loss of skin elasticity and firmness
  • The appearance of brown spots
  • An irregular complexion

Ultraviolet rays aggravates the effects of pollution

UV rays are also the cause of oxidation. They cause a drop of the natural antioxidants of the epidermis, like vitamins C and E, and participate in the premature aging of the skin. UVA also interacts with polluting particles, leading to the appearance of pigmentary spots.

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What about the efficacy of anti-pollution cosmetics?

The "anti-pollution" cosmetics market is booming. Between 2015 and 2016, it increased by 10%, reaching 38% of the Asia-Pacific market. The trend is also growing in Europe, with stronger sales during the peaks of pollution. The formulas of "anti-pollution" products are not revolutionary. These cosmetics contain UV filters and antioxidants, respectively used in sun creams and anti-aging creams. There is no standardized test to measure their actual level of protection against pollution.

Tips to protect your skin

  • Clean your skin to remove pollution deposits
  • Apply a moisturizer if your skin is dry
  • Plan a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Use a sun protection in case of pollution peaks
  • Purify your indoor air with TEQOYA ionizers