How To Protect Your Skin from Air Pollution
Have you ever wondered how sometimes, no matter how much you take care of your skin, it still becomes infected, irritated, dehydrated or prone to breakouts? Perhaps, it is suddenly exhibiting signs of skin aging out of nowhere. It could be caused by the different irritants and pollutants present in the air around us in addition to the Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) that our skin is exposed to pretty much on a daily basis, whether from artificial light or exposure to the sun.
Our skin is our first line of defense against anything and everything that may enter the body and ultimately, affect our health. The skin is an armor specially designed to protect and defend the whole body system. It essentially serves to safeguard our overall health and well being.
It is a very important organ that we need to nourish from the inside out and protect from harmful external factors that can damage, weaken and destroy it. Once weakened, our skin becomes more susceptible to premature skin aging, infections, irritations and skin diseases. It will also allow the entry of harmful matters into the body that can affect our body systems and bodily functions.
There are numerous external factors that can attack, affect and weaken the skin. Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) largely from the sun, environmental pollutants, chemicals and other substances and organisms are among some of the factors that we can ingest, or can attach to the skin and cause it harm.
We all know what the sun can do to our skin. Prolonged sun exposure equals wrinkles, age spots, skin discolorations, freckles, pigmentations and skin cancer. It is the number one factor contributing to skin aging.
While the sun is certainly a primary source for skin damage, other pollutants, irritants and harmful particles present in the air and atmosphere can also do damage to our skin and weaken our body systems.
These are very small particles present in the air outdoors, and even indoors, that we probably don’t even notice most of the time. Little do we know that these tiny particles can wreak havoc to our skin.
Air Pollution and the pollutants affecting our skinAir Pollution occurs when outdoor and indoor environments are contaminated by chemical, physical, or biological agents that modify or alter the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. It is a combination of smoke or smog and other tiny particles that are floating in the air.
Air pollutants enter the skin by directly accumulating on the surface of the skin, absorption through the pores or the hair follicles, inhalation, ingestion such as consumption of grilled meats, and circulation in the plasma that are then scattered into the deeper dermal tissues.
In simple terms, UVR occurs when radiation from the sun or from other sources, like artificial light, significantly affects another object (on the ground), despite the absence of any contact between them.
Radiation from the sun or solar radiation can affect a person on the ground through direct exposure, scattered rays or radiation from the sky, and reflections from the environment like from metallic sources or bright colors.
Some of the other sources of UVR are arc welding instruments, fluorescent, halogen lamps and tanning beds, although these do not produce the more intensive effects of solar radiation to the skin.
Effects of UVR on the skin:
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PAHs are chemicals naturally found in coal, crude oil, gasoline, and can be produced when coal, oil or gas, wood, garbage and tobacco are burned. They are also found in automobile exhaust fumes, especially from diesel engines, incinerators and in all smoke resulting from the combustion of organic materials. Likewise, high-temperature cooking forms PAHs in meat and other foods. Naphthalene is also a PAH that is produced commercially to make other chemicals and mothballs.
VOCs are human-made chemicals in the form of industrial solvents. They are used in the manufacture of paints and thinners, and pharmaceuticals, and are usually found in petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids and dry cleaning agents. VOCs can also be present in the exhaust from cars, emissions from industrial facilities and in summer photochemical smog.
Nitrogen Oxides gets in the air from the burning of fuel and becomes an air pollutant. When these Oxides interact with other chemicals in the air, they form other air pollutants that are dangerous to inhale. Nitrogen Oxide is also a major factor in the development of Acid Rain and haze which are both harmful to our ecosystems.
Oxides are formed from the emissions of mobile and stationary combustion sources like fuel combustion, from power generation and industrial processes, traffic related pollutants, and also from natural sources like volcanic activities and forest fires.
PMs are a complex and various mixtures of solid particles in different sizes and compositions, and liquid droplets found or suspended in the air. Some particles can be visible to the naked eye such as dust or soot. These may come from factories and power plants, incinerators, automobiles, produced from construction activities, fires and naturally windblown dust.
Ozone occurs both in the upper atmosphere - where it is considered a good Ozone - and also on the ground-level where it is considered an air pollutant. It is the main factor in the development of smog. Ground-level ozone develops when pollutants emitted by cars, high-emission industries and other sources chemically react with natural sunlight.
VOCs and PMs are what make up most of cigarette or tobacco smoke. These combinations of pollutants not only result in diseases in the body system, but it significantly affects the skin as well. Skin aging, psoriasis, acne, some forms of skin cancer, and other skin infections are just some of the harmful effects smoking has on the skin.
Effects of Air Pollutants on the skin
Photoaging or Extrinsic Aging
Intrinsic Skin Aging is that which occurs from the natural passage of time. On the other hand, extrinsic skin aging, or photoaging, occurs because of numerous external or environmental factors, like prolonged exposure to sun and pollution, stress, lack of sleep, drastic temperature changes, poor diet and bad habits like smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Smoking is medically proven to lead to premature aging because of its visible effects to the skin, especially in facial skin. It affects skin elasticity, thickness and density, making smokers appear older than non-smoking individuals.
Air pollution, particulate and gaseous air pollution are major contributory factors to photoaging because they cause wrinkles to the face. It also leads to the development of lentigines or pigment spots especially in the forehead and cheek area. Even without UVR exposure, pollution alone can cause severe skin aging. Traffic pollution is also shown to be highly associated with premature skin aging.
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Lentigines are also called liver spots or solar lentigines. These are small, brown pigment spots that usually develop on the face, back of hands and in the chest area. It comes with intrinsic aging, but is also significantly caused by various environmental pollutants like PMs, PAHs, second hand smoke, traffic related smoke and exposure to fossil fuels. Lentigines caused by pollutants are more visible on the cheek and forehead area.
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Melasma is light to dark brown hyperpigmentations found in the skin that are benign. It usually appears on the face, neck and chest and around the shoulder areas. Melasma occurs because of genes, hormones and sun damage brought on by UVR.
Recently, pollution has now been found to also produce melasma, especially because of PMs and PAHs. It has been shown that melasma is higher in China, India, Southeast Asia and in the United States - these geographical states have the worst air pollution in the world.
Use our Yeouth Bright and Even Skin Tone Bundle to help even out skin tone and lighten the appearance of dark spots and discoloration on your skin. This bundle consists of our Vitamin C Facial Cleanser, Glycolic Acid Gel Peel, Vitamin C & E Serum and Hyaluronic Acid Cream.
Atopic dermatitis / Eczema
Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a common skin disorder. Recent studies have shown that air pollution is now a main culprit in the increase of AD cases. There is now strong evidence demonstrating that outdoor air pollution exacerbates preexisting asthma and allergies, and it leads to the development of atopic diseases.
AD symptoms are also related to air pollutants such as PMs, toluene, and VOCs. This was demonstrated in a study done in Seoul, Korea.
Skin barrier dysfunction
An imbalance or dysfunction in the skin barrier leads to skin inflammations, irritations and other skin disorders and diseases. Pollutants play a key factor in the imbalance and disruption of the skin barrier. Particulate Matters damage the skin barrier causing oxidative stress which leads to various infections of the skin.
Studies show that Cadmium, which is an environmental pollutant and usually found in batteries, television manufacturing and in the aircraft industry, aids in the worsening of psoriasis.
A study revealed the link between air pollution and the occurrence and worsening of acne vulgaris. Acne is prevalently similar among Asian and Caucasian women. Among Asian women, inflammatory acne is triggered during periods of high air pollution.
It was also discovered recently that skin quality declined in Shanghai and Mexico City, two of the most polluted cities in the world, demonstrating that chronic exposure to air pollution affects the quality of our skin.
Try our Yeouth Acne System to control acne whether it is brought about by pollution or it is sebum related. This skin system not only fights acne but it also minimizes skin blemishes and scarring.
With these 7 products’ synergistic effects, the journey to an acne-free and clearer skin has become more accessible. Combat acne formed from pollution and other factors to strengthen the skin, and have it ready to face harmful particulates after!
Pollutants that mostly react with the skin are UVR, PAHs, VOCs, O3 and heavy metals. UV Radiation is medically proven to be the major factor in most skin cancers.
How do we protect ourselves from the effects of Air Pollution?
- Drink at least 2 Liters of water per day to dilute toxins in the bloodstream.
- Adopt a diet and coupled with a regular intake of Supplements, which are rich in antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals from toxic air pollutants.
- Try to exercise or perform physical activities away from busy roads or main thoroughfares. Always remember that pollutants are present in the air.
- Help to reduce pollution at home from cooking, painting, dusting and other chores, by using proper ventilation or with the aid of air purifiers.
- Kick your smoking habit.
- Help in anti-pollution efforts.
- Proper skincare.
Proper skincare to combat the effects of pollutants in the air
1. A morning and evening skincare routine
A skin regimen which includes toning, cleansing and moisturizing must be adopted. A skincare routine in the morning, especially cleansing, is essential to protect the skin from all the impending pollutants you will encounter during the day.
The evening skincare regimen, especially the PM cleanse which should be longer and more intense, is designed to remove all the dirt, grime and pollutants that are lying on the surface of the skin.
Our Yeouth Vitamin C Facial Cleanser formulated with Aloe Vera, Green Tea and Seaweed is the perfect cleanser to remove particles on the skin caused by pollutants. Packed full of antioxidants, this cleanser works to nourish and cleanse the skin to remove impurities and excess oil, while also fighting to defend skin health and give your complexion a bright, healthy-looking glow
Use a product fortified with ingredients that can totally magnetize toxins and pollutants that are stuck in the skin. Our Dead Sea Mud Mask loosens dirt to decongest clogged pores so that your skin will be free of unwanted particles. The result is a clean, fresh and blemish-free complexion that is ready to protect the skin from pollutants and all things harmful!
3. Dig deeper with exfoliation
Exfoliation does not only remove skin cells and excess oil, but all the gunk, dirt, grime and harmful particles that are occupying and clogging the pores.
The Yeouth Glycolic Acid Gel Peel penetrates the deep layers of the skin to decongest pores and encourage skin clarity. It is formulated with 30% Glycolic Acid, Retinol, and Green Tea to fortify skin and help prepare it to ward off harmful particles that weaken and damage the skin.
4. Highlight your moisturizer in your skincare regimen
The skin suffers from chronic inflammation caused by air pollutants. Due to this, the skin barrier is weakened and damaged. If not properly cared for and nourished, the skin barrier will lose its power to safeguard itself and prevent dehydration.
Use a powerful moisturizer to heal a weakened skin barrier, and restore the moisture that is gone. Our Day / Night Cream will do just that! It is lightweight for daytime use and nourishing enough to repair the skin overnight. This moisturizer provides optimal hydration for the skin to repair itself and restore that natural vibrance with every application.
Skin pollutants in the environment are present anytime and anywhere, even during those seemingly perfect days when you are outdoors breathing fresh air. You can never be too confident about your skin protection even inside your homes. We now live on a heavily polluted planet that we cannot seem to change because of industrialization.
Pollutants affect our whole body system, including our skin, and our total health and well being. That is why it now becomes inevitable that we shield ourselves from all the harmful and damaging effects of pollution by nourishing and protecting our bodies.
Dead Sea Mud Mask with Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe, Oatmeal, & Avocado Oil ( $18.95 )
Heal your heavily-polluted skin and free it from damaging pollutants that weaken your skin! Our YEOUTH Dead Sea Mud Mask detoxifies the complexion by drawing out toxins and impurities trapped deep in the skin’s pores.
This powerful mask is combined with nourishing vitamins and minerals which include Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe, Oatmeal and Avocado oil to moisturize and soothe the skin.