I was shocked to read that 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air (source: World Health Organization). I thought only city dwellers were affected by this issue, but according to WHO with over 3 billion people ‘breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes’, it’s not just cars and cigarettes that are the culprits. When I think back to my student nights, one of the first memories that hits me is the smell of stale, cold, cigarette smoke clinging on to my clothes, hair and skin the morning after, after I’d invariably end the night on a smoke-filled dance floor. And living in central London on a busy street, above a bus stop, probably isn’t much better. And don’t get me started on all those free radicals out there. Throughout my blog I regularly blame my love of sun bathing for damaging my skin. But maybe some of the damage should be attributed to pollution. I’ve lived in cities my whole life so it wouldn’t be surprising. Facialist Lisa Franklin highlights particulate pollution – from micro particles of solids from dust, fumes and smoke – as a cause for high levels of oxidative stress, leading to skin ageing and pigmentation, as well as daily exposure to over 100,000 chemicals (from cleaning products, pesticides and synthetic ingredients) resulting in irritated and sensitive skin. Quick to pick up on a modern day concern, the beauty industry has flooded the market with anti-pollution skincare. But how do these products work and are they effective?
Clinique is the most sold premium beauty brand in the world in terms of units. So chances are you have or have had at least one Clinique beauty product in your bathroom cabinet or makeup bag. As a teenager I was introduced to the brand’s famous Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion by my mum, and although it’s been a while since I’ve used this instantly recognisable yellow lotion, I’ve been keen to try their Hydrating Jelly for a while. Not only is this oil-free jelly-to-water texture super lightweight and non-sticky, it also boasts pollution protection: a moisture barrier made from sunflower seed cake, barley extract and cucumber extract improves the skin’s resilience to external aggressors. And if you’re looking an extra boost go for Clinique iD where you can add a cartridge to the jelly base that’ll tackle a specific skin concern. I went for anti-fatigue which contains taurine to energise dull-looking skin – one of the visible side-effects of pollution. 125ml RRP £31 for the Hydrating Jelly, £36 for Clinique iD Jelly + Anti-Fatigue
This certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free foamy cleanser provides a kale-infused skin detox to remove impurities and protect against pollution. It also contains ultra-hydrating Hyaluronic acid and probiotics to energise and refresh the skin. Nourish’s Kale 3D Cleanse may be super gentle but it effectively washes off the day’s grime and impurities, lathering up from a white to light green foam for a little added fun factor. I’m left with hydrated, clean, soft skin. 100ml RRP £25.00
The entire S5 organic and vegan skincare range is designed to fight the effects of modern living, from pollution to chemical exposure and poor sleep hygiene. As a long-standing city dweller the concept resonates with me, especially knowing that aside from all the health risks, pollution can also lead to premature ageing and uneven skin tone. The lightweight Balance Fluid not only balances oily or combination skin but also protects against the effects of stress and environmental damage thanks to:
- Desert glycoproteins: amino acid produced by a unique bacteria in the Wadi desert providing protection against pollution, radiation, temperature, chemical stress and skin ageing
- Marina Laminaria: seaweed extract which reinforces skin barrier and protects against radiation and ageing caused by inflammation
50ml RRP £46.00
I discovered this Eye Serum when reviewing products for Wedding Ideas’ first ever beauty awards and was immediately taken in by its pleasantly light and refreshing gel texture. Daytox Eye Wonder’s main claim is tackling free radicals, a key concern stemming from pollution. If you’re still a little hazy as to the exact meaning of free radicals you can check out my Wedding Ideas Magazine Beauty Awards post, but essentially they are atoms that have unpaired electrons and are seeking other molecules to bond to, therefore breaking down skin cells and causing signs of ageing. When it comes to free radicals, pollution is one of the key culprits, with particulate matter from exhaust pipes building up on the skin. I’m always up for trying anything that’ll help tackle the negative effects of a London lifestyle and this antioxidant-rich eye serum gently plumps and smooths out fine lines around my eyes. 14ml RRP £24.00
Another gel-to-water formula, I was initially a little confused as to where to place this skincare product within my skincare routine. Is it a serum? A hydrator? A booster to mix with your moisturiser? I went with serum and applied this refreshing gel onto cleansed skin for a hydrating effect thanks to the ubiquitous Hyaluronic Acid. It literally feels like I’ve applied water to my skin but without the drying effect I would usually get from H2O. Combined with Vichy Thermal Mineralizing Water, these power couple ingredients not only intensely hydrate but also strengthen the skin’s barrier to protect against pollution. I’m a big fan of French pharmacy skincare, the thermal waters in the likes of Vichy, Avene and La Roche-Posay offer mineral-rich skincare you don’t find anywhere else. 50ml RRP £25.00
Whilst these skincare products feel great on skin, fighting the effects of pollution is a claim that’s difficult to measure from your bathroom. What would my skin look like if I was using different skincare? How much protection can I expect from anti-pollution skincare? What other factors (genes, diet, exercise, stress) are influencing my skin’s sensitivity to pollution? Let’s review in 10 years’ time then! Are you worried about the effects of pollution on your skin? Leave a comment below to let me know.
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