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How does pollution affect our skin?

Whether you live in the city center or on the outskirts of a big city, you are bound to be confronted with pollution. Carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide… What are the effects of these pollutants on the skin tissue? How does pollution affect our skin? Find out everything you need to know about the impact of pollution on your skin, and learn how to protect it!

What are the effects of pollution on the skin?

Today, there are still few studies on the effects of pollution on the skin, and few are the specialists in the field. However, over time, it has been found that pollution can very well cause skin reactions, which vary according to the sensitivity of each person, according to the importance of the pollution, the pollutants present, and the frequency of the exhibition.

Pollution and dry skin:do you have itchy skin?

One of the first “symptoms” mentioned by people exposed to pollution is skin dryness. Microparticles, sulfur dioxide and ozone present in the air weaken the skin barrier . Indeed, the hydrolipidic film is formed naturally thanks to the presence of antioxidants in the skin tissue, as well as vitamins C and E. Exposed to pollution, the skin secretes less sebum. Not only do you have the feeling of having drier skin, but it is also more vulnerable to external aggressions, because it is less well protected.

Pimples and pollution:do pollutants cause acne?

Having dry skin is (unfortunately) not the only problem pollution can trigger. More and more women aged 25 to 40, living in cities, are complaining of inflammatory acne , without having problem skin. A study recently published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science explains the role of pollution in these skin problems:pollution modifies one of the lipids present in sebum (squalene). The latter peroxidizes and acidifies the surface of the skin, and the pores become clogged. This creates inflammation, and presto, pimples and blackheads appear !

Pollution accelerates skin aging

The skin ages naturally, under the effect of oxidative stress. Concretely, even without being in a polluted environment, the cells of our skin oxidize under the effect of free radicals present in oxygen. However, when the air is loaded with pollutants, this effect is increased tenfold. Wrinkles tend to appear more quickly, to be more marked, and there are also many pigment spots in city dwellers. As we have seen previously, pollution dries out the skin and weakens its protective film. Vulnerable to attacks and pollutants, it ages even faster.

Skin allergy to pollution, does it exist?

Well yes, you can have an “allergic” reaction to pollution . Ozone and carbon dioxide are very irritating to the skin. These pollutants cause inflammation and alter the hydrolipidic film. In people with dry or sensitive skin, this aggravates feelings of tightness, burning, itching, and accentuates redness. If you are one of those people with particularly fragile skin, it is essential to protect yourself against pollution .

How to protect your skin from pollution?

To avoid the effects of pollution on your skin, you should adapt your beauty routine! Morning and evening, it is essential to cleanse your skin carefully. In the evening, remove your make-up and cleanse your skin with a lightly exfoliating cleanser, to remove all the impurities that have settled on your skin during the day. If you have combination-prone skin and are prone to inflammatory acne, exfoliation is your best ally to drive out peroxidized squalene at the origin of comedones.

Once the skin is clean, it must be taken care of, nourish it and moisturize it to rebuild its hydrolipidic film . It will thus be protected from attacks, and you will be able to find real comfort. Of course, to fight against premature skin aging, choose anti-aging moisturizers, specially designed to protect your skin.

Want even more tips for taking care of your skin despite pollution? Discover our special file Protect your skin against pollution!