Think of the word pollution and the first things that probably spring to mind are toxic contaminants present in our daily lives. Whether it’s car emissions, smog or heavy metals, pollutants are all around us and are almost inescapable, with levels rising all the time. Hardly a surprise then that the World Health Organization declared air pollution as the “world’s largest single environmental health risk” in 2014. But while the levels of pollution we face outdoors are very real - and rising – the pollution that we face when we step inside our front door is just as worrying.
According to a study carried out by the National Air Quality Testing Services, the air inside our homes is around three times more polluted than the air outside. That’s thanks to toxic compounds found in building materials, home furnishings and cleaning products as well as emissions from open fires and some cooking appliances. And because the air inside our homes is more concentrated than the air outside, the impact can be more severe.
As well as having a potentially serious effect on our general health, both indoor and outdoor pollution can wreak havoc on our skin by generating destructive free radicals which cause oxidative stress. When the pollution particles attack your skin, they break down the collagen and elastin in your its barrier, causing its structure to denigrate and become unbalanced, resulting in irritation, flakiness or increased breakouts. In one study, testers revealed that children living in urban Germany were more likely to develop atopic dermatitis than those living in rural areas and that people who were exposed to high levels of air pollution had higher levels of pigmentation than those who weren’t. In addition to increased pigmentation and a breakdown in skin function, particulate matter can also clog pores.
As well as the more obvious sources, we’re also facing pollution from our digital devices, which emit blue light (or High Energy Visible Light). It’s something we’re all guilty of, especially at this time, and given that the average person spends up to eight hours a day staring at a screen, it’s likely that we’re getting significantly more exposure to blue light than we are to the sun. A fact which can result in an increase in pigmentation and an attack on the dermis, where our collagen and elastin live.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to protect your skin from the risk of indoor (and outdoor) pollution. It’s should be a given in your skincare routine anyway, but thorough cleansing and regular exfoliation is really a must in order to remove all the pollution particles that may be trapped in your makeup layers. Ensure you’re using a daily SPF that’s loaded with antioxidants which can boost skin’s protection against free radicals and strengthen the skin barrier, and on a more pleasing note, go green by filling your house with plants. In addition to bringing you joy and helping you connect with nature they have a natural ability to clean the air in your house and filter out toxic compounds. Finally, invest in a blue light shield for your mobile and switch your phone to yellow light or night-mode instead of regular blue light.
Your Anti-pollution Skincare Regime
Restorative Cleansing Balm
Spend time massaging in this rich balm cleanser to fully rid skin of the pollution that has accumulated on its surface during the day. The fatty acids and vitamin-rich oils in its formula will help nourish and boost the skin barrier too.
Brightening Cleanse and Exfoliate
This gentle yet effective superfood exfoliating powder is packed with antioxidants and minerals to efficiently remove dead cells and pore-clogging pollution particles from skin.
Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir
Re-energise urban city with this reparative serum that uses Quercetin to protect against oxidative stress and Malachite which banishes impurities and pollutants from the skin.
Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar SPF30
A botanical blend of high-performance antioxidants, minerals including Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide and essential oils that combine to shield skin from UV rays and oxidative damage.