An increasing number of the world’s population lives in an environment that is too polluted according to the WHO. Pollution does not only damage our health. It also has dramatic consequences on the condition of our skin. How to protect and reverse the effects? Pay keen attention to this article as we disclose all the important procedures on how to reverse the effects of pollution and sun damage on the skin.
How Pollution Attacks The Skin?
The sources of pollution are multiple, there is indoor pollution like charcoal from firewood, paints, and dyes. And external pollution such as air pollutants ( particles, gasses, ozone, sulfur dioxide), industrial pollutants, and tobacco.
Generally speaking, all of this creates oxidative stress. Cells have difficulty getting rid of free radicals. This slows down their repair mechanism, concretely, this results in tired, dehydrated, and dull skin. Certain skin problems are exacerbated such as spots, acne, and skin diseases.
Pollution particles can be up to 400 times smaller than the size of a pore. By penetrating the skin barrier, the pollution particle creates microscopic gaps and reduces the natural defense of the epidermis, allowing irritating agents to enter and water to evaporate.
If the skin is not sufficiently well protected to defend itself against environmental aggressors, the skin barrier becomes weakened, the skin’s aging process accelerates, and sensitivity increases.
So How Can We Combat The Harmful Effects Of Pollution On The Skin?
Adapting your skincare routine to the urban environment is the key to stopping pollution damage to the skin, such as blackheads, age spots, tightness, dull complexion, wrinkles, and fine lines. Pollution can also accentuate already existing skin concerns such as acne, eczema, or even sensitivity.
Sun: What Are The Consequences For The Skin?
Pollution is not the only one responsible for the visible signs of premature aging of the skin. Exposure to the sun is a daily attack on the skin and will also cause skin damage. In fact, every minute spent in daylight has direct consequences on the skin.
Sunlight is made up of several wavelengths, this is what we call the electromagnetic spectrum. About 35% of this spectrum is visible light, 60% is infrared light, and 5% is ultraviolet (UV). UV rays are the most harmful waves for the skin: UV rays also known as aging rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. Repeated exposure to UV without protection can also cause skin cancer.
Right Action To Reverse Your Skin From Pollution
Most importantly, carry out thorough cleaning. With milk or micellar water, remove makeup until the cotton is completely white. For less sensitive skin, use a foaming cleanser in the evening and a charcoal mask once a week. This will detoxify the skin. To ensure that the epidermis remains waterproof, do not forget to hydrate/ nourish it well as needed.
Can Sun Damage Be Reversed?
Once UV radiation changes the DNA of skin cells, the DNA damage cannot be reversed. However, this does not mean that you cannot change the appearance of your skin. They can treat, reduce, or repair the effects of pollution and sun-damaged skin.
Treatment can remove blemishes and other skin discoloration, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin, and stimulate new skin and collagen production.
Steps That Improve The Appearance, Tone, And Quality Of Your Skin
Sun-damaged skin cannot be completely reversed, but certain treatment options can help rejuvenate the skin. Talk to your doctor about the risk of complications. Possible ways to reverse the effects include:
✔ Retinoid, retinol: These topical products offer the best benefit in treating early signs of pollution and sun-damaged skin. These chemicals encourage the shedding of skin cells, allowing new cells to rise to the surface.
They also stimulate the production of collagen, which keeps the skin firmer. Retinoids are effective in treating fine lines and wrinkles, as well as age spots, and reduce roughness and pore size.
✔ Vitamin C and other antioxidants: These substances slow down skin damage caused by unwanted chemicals called free radicals, which cause visible signs of damage. Antioxidants can slow skin aging, and reduce UV damage and collagen breakdown.
✔ Alpha hydroxy acid: Acts as an exfoliant, which means it stimulates cell renewal in the skin.
✔ Lighten: Bleaching or lightening agents such as hydroquinone can lighten skin imperfections in affected areas.
As the largest organ in the body which serves as protective covering for other vital organs in our body, we have to be intentional in our approaches to protecting our skin.
While pollution and sun exposure can prematurely age skin, their effects can be reversed. A regimen including antioxidant serums, retinoids, and protective sunscreens can repair damage and boost collagen. Professional treatments like chemical peels and microneedling prompt additional collagen production.
A healthy diet, stress reduction, and limiting future sun/pollution exposure also prevent further harm. With dedication to proper skincare and lifestyle changes, it’s possible to restore a youthful glow despite environmental factors.