The climate crisis continues to make headlines. From the inside-out, pollution can wreak havoc on our health. From UV rays and blue light to the polluted air we breathe, these toxins can lead to pesky fine lines and wrinkles as well as sagging and brown spots. We know we need to safeguard our skin with pollution-protecting skincare, but does that mean we need to throw out our current regimen?
Absolutely not. But there are some key ingredients and products you’ll want to add to your regimen to maintain your skin’s health.
How Does The Environment Impact the Skin?
Environmental factors create oxidative damage in the skin, which breaks down collagen and may also serve to damage the barrier function of the skin. A damaged barrier makes skin more prone to the ill effects of UV damage and early signs of aging. Oxidative damage or stress happens when the level of harmful free radicals present surpasses that of the neutralizing “good guy” antioxidants. Unfortunately, our current climate has passed the levels our intrinsic antioxidants can neutralize. Here’s a breakdown of the current threats to healthy skin:
Let’s talk about the sun. UV radiation is the most significant environmental factor and also one of the most recognized when it comes to skin damage and aging. UV rays trigger the production of free radicals in the skin that lead to DNA damage and the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. This leads to wrinkles, according to the World Health Organization (WHO); which also notes that it stimulates the melanin production that leads to skin discolorations
Beyond aesthetics, UV rays have been linked to an increased risk in developing skin cancers. And, keep in mind, It’s the cumulative effect of sun exposure that, over time, can lead to the formation of non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Blue light lies on the visible light spectrum and is rapidly becoming known as a trigger for skin aging. Blue light is everywhere, from our computer screens and phones to the sun itself, emerging research suggests that overexposure to blue light is a recipe for premature aging. One study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in February 2015 suggested that visible light increased free radical formation in the skin.
Air pollution doesn’t just affect how you breathe. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns, it can also create the same free radical damage in skin as light. Air pollution includes particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons, and ozone and creates oxidative damage in the skin that increases inflammation.
Over time, chronic exposure to air pollution may cause sagging and fine lines and wrinkles.
What’s more, if you’re dealing with dark spots appearing on your face, you may have cars to blame. An article published in May 2016 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology also shows that exposure to air particles from traffic is linked to pigment spots on cheeks.
5 Tips for Protecting Your Skin Against the Environment
Use a Mineral Sunscreen to Avoid Sun Damage
Wearing sunscreen should be the number one goal. Look for SPFs that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are ingredients that physically block UV rays. Chemical sunscreens allow some absorption of light, so purchase sunscreens that have "mineral-based” on the label.
Go for Vitamin C and Niacinamide
Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that are prematurely breaking down collagen and elastin. When Vitamin C is combined with Niacinamide like in our Anti-Pollution Mist, both redness and inflammation can be reduced.
Opt for Fatty Acids like Omega 6 and Omega 9
What can’t fatty acids do? These two beauties help produce the skin's natural oil barrier which is essential for keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. When combined with facial oils, you can moisturize and protect your skin.
Wash Up Twice a Day
It’s important to wash off the daily buildup of dirt and grime. Part of every good anti-aging routine is a gentle cleanser. Try a mild wash that will clean your skin while keeping the skin barrier intact. This will also help lessen the chance of irritation.
Protect in the P.M.
While you sleep is the perfect time to help clean out debris that builds up on the skin's surface and rehydrate the skin. Products like the AOX Micro Peel can stimulate cellular turnover and collagen production while healing the skin from environmental damage.
Protect Your Skin Today
In today's climate, your skin needs a second line of defense that fortifies your natural skin barrier. Here's where protective products that pollution-proof your skin come in. With well-chosen products, you can maintain both your skin’s health and radiance.