How air pollution affects your skin

Detox time

  • 30.11.2021

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If you look at your car the next time you’re about to get into it, you’d realize there’s a thin layer of dust sitting on the surface. Same goes for your windows, and even the dust that accumulates on your tabletops at home. Being the clean and green city that Singapore is, we truly never stop to realise that, at its core, it still is a city. A vibrant, bustling city. We have industrial buildings, way too many cars, and of course, the occasional smoker or two. So even though we don’t smell the air pollution like we would in typical June months (where things get a little hazy and the PSI spikes), there’s still a significant amount of pollutants lingering in the air that is getting absorbed into our pretty, porous skin.

And of course, with pollutants being a generally bad thing, it’s no surprise that when absorbed into our skin, it does its fair share of damage. Dermatologists have found the leading consequence is actually premature wrinkling and hyperpigmentation. There’s also a whole host of other problems, such as dehydration, irritation, sensitivity, and even breakouts. So how do we protect our precious pores and silky smooth skin? The lowdown, below.

Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of just how dirty your face can get after a whole day out and about, we hope you never feel tempted to fall asleep without washing your face. Pollutants are as small as 50-70 microns, which means they can casually float into your pores with no trouble and cause some serious damage. Even so, washing your face religiously with your favourite cleanser might not even be sufficient to cleanse your skin of pollutants. Because of how small they are, they are known to penetrate the outer layers of skin, so you’ll likely require the assistance of a cleansing brush, preferably a sonic device to really flush out those skin aggressors. We like this one by Foreo; it is small and portable to bring along with you on holidays and such as well.

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Draw those suckers out
Just like how you would purge your Instagram following of snakes (ha), you’ll have to do the same for your skin. We’ll recommend something penetrative like activated charcoal to pull out pollutants from your skin. The Origins Clear Improvement Mask, for instance, is a great pick.

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Build up a barrier
Think of your skin barrier as an immune system, of sorts. When pollutants and such get past our barrier, it’s compromised, and begins to cause a depletion of vitamins in our skin. This then causes your skin to panic and send certain cells into an overdrive (hence pigmentation). So just like how you would go along strengthening your immune system with multivitamins, invest in skincare with ingredients like vitamin C and E, or those that contain antioxidants. This would help heal damage caused by pollutants and keep your barrier strong and healthy. You’ll also want to moisturise deeply, something with petrolatum or equally amazing to really seal the gaps in your skin barrier, maintain hydration, and allow some time for your skin to heal itself. We like this one by CeraVe, which can be used on your face and your body.

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