Is pollution really bad for your skin?

Is pollution really bad for your skin?

An invisible threat to your health and your skin

Recently, many of us saw the skies turn orange and the air so hard to breathe, sparked by the wildfires in Canada. It was a scary reminder of the small world we share and how important it is to understand the effects of all environmental pollutants on our total wellbeing.

Severe air pollution affects our breathing and other aspects of health in obvious ways, but the daily damage pollution does to our skin can be much more subtle, and we hope to increase awareness and prevention for these issues.

Thanks to educational campaigns by experts in past decades, everyone is now pretty much aware of the damage that UV radiation can cause. And using daily sun protection – even if you have naturally darker skin – is now becoming more routine. Ustawi recognizes that the same efforts to increase awareness is urgently needed about pollution. Perhaps because you can’t feel or see it most of the time – unless the sky turns dark with extreme pollution, we do not truly realize how much we are surrounded by air pollution. And unlike sunlight, you can’t really avoid it, especially if you live in the city. So: how to protect your skin from environmental pollutants - and why is it so important?

Air pollutants and their harmful effects on the skin

First, there are many types of pollutants with scary names: Gaseous pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and Sulphur dioxide. Heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and arsenic. 4Polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can be produced by cigarette smoke, vehicle emissions, and coal burning and so on… The list is very long. But what do they all have in common? The pollutants we are surrounded by can potentially enter the skin via absorption of nanoparticles. These absorbed particles create oxidative stress resulting in the depletion of antioxidants – including glutathione, vitamin E, vitamin C, and squalene. It also stimulates complex pro-inflammatory melanogenesis.

In other words, not only will pollution have an impact on the general appearance of your skin (irritation, aging process, dullness) but it can also lead to hyperpigmentation, especially for those with medium and dark skin tones! This is the very reason USTAWI products - originally formulated to answer medium and dark skin tones’ needs - have anti-pollution properties. How to tackle pollution's impact on your skin? Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent and fight the damage caused by air pollution.

Anti-pollution skincare protection is key

First, you can physically protect yourself from harmful pollutants. How? By using skincare that will act as a barrier between your skin and damaging pollution particles. Our Glow Protection & Shielding Mist is the perfect way to do so. One of the key ingredients is called Pollustop® (or Biosacharride gum-4) and it creates a 3D matrix (hi-tech!) barrier onto the skin. This invisible film is non-occlusive (allows the skin to breathe) while it will block large particles from penetrating the barrier. That is why we call it “your anti-pollution Bodyguard”.

Antioxidants: our best friends!

Secondly, oxidative stress from pollution triggers the reduction of antioxidants and increases formation of free radicals. This is why it is essential to continuously fill up with antioxidants (both food and skincare). On the skincare side, we can help! Our serums and moisturizers are full of powerful and natural antioxidants: Baobab superfruit extract, Vitamin C, Hesperidin, Green tea…and so on!

On the food side, here are some ideas of foods you can toss into your morning smoothie to load up on your daily dose of antioxidants: Strawberry, Blueberry, Goji Berries… (pretty much all the berries!) Nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds… Green vegetables are the best too: Kale, broccoli, spinach. And for a healing treat, you can also add some dark chocolate- a known antioxidant (yummy!)

Clean skin, Fresh start!

The last step of your anti-pollution routine (and of every skincare routine really!) is cleansing. Deep, gentle, and consistent! Our cleansers range has been specifically formulated to help you efficiently remove the pollution particles accumulated on the skin surface, leaving the skin clean, fresh, and protected. And for extra care, our 5 in 1 Detox & Glow Mask is packed with powerful ingredients to purify, detoxify, smooth, nourish and illuminate the skin. A must have to incorporate in your weekly routine! “Knowledge is power” so now you should have all the tips you need to protect your beautiful skin from external aggressions. Be safe out there!

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