It's that time of the year again. Where N95 masks are in hot demand, air purifiers are a godsend and those without air-conditioning suffer. And, yes, the haze (or smog more accurately) does cause long- and short-term health issues as well as irritation to the ears, nose, throat and skin.
In our skin especially, some changes that you might experience include, tightness and dryness, a flaring up of acne and eczema and general irritation. What can you do? Drink lots of water, stay indoors and wear proper masks. As for your skincare, certain products can help to calm and protect your skin from the (let's face it) massive pollution. Though not a perfect solution to your skin woes, every little bit helps.
1. Double cleanse the skin
Why? Because exposure to the haze means that tiny particles might be sitting atop your face at the end of the day. We recommend cleansing with a deep cleansing oil or foam cleanser (depending on your skin type) and finishing with less harsh cream and milk cleansers that comfort and hydrate the skin. This one from Clarins is designed for urban living and helps detoxify the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin).
2. Use good eye drops
The eyes are one of the first organs to get irritated. Take off your contact lenses and use glasses instead, as the haze can dry out and cause discomfort. When using eye drops, opt for preservative-free, artificial tears to help wash out any irritants.
3. Load up on face masks... no the other kind
If you're sleeping in air-conditioning to battle the haze, it's likely that your skin will start to feel tighter as well. Whatever the cause of your skin dryness, load up on a hydrating and antioxidant-packed mask to boost and protect the skin. Use this once every two to three days to pamper and refresh your skin instantly, as it will be under a lot of stress.
4. Treat your acne
Many people will experience breakouts as the dust, dirt and pollutants can clog pores. If pimples are sudden and unexpected, don't ignore them, but treat imperfections with a good anti-acne product.
5. Calm eczema and psoriasis
If you already have an existing condition, it's likely the haze — which disrupts the skin's barrier function — will cause flare ups. Keep any areas of broken skin covered and protected from the dirt and toxins in the air and moisturise, moisturise, moisturise (with a good product designed for these conditions that is).
6. Step up your sunscreen game
With a whole slew of sunscreens that have anti-pollution effects as well, it's time to invest in good skin protection. Dior's One Essential City Defense covers skin like a shield — preventing toxins and pollution from penetrating the skin surface.