Mother Earth is undergoing an unfortunate makeover. Pollution, which has grown 8 percent globally in the past five years, generates free radicals—and these ions interfere with the skin’s ability to produce collagen and retain moisture, leading to premature ageing, not to mention dermatitis and psoriasis. Pollution is also causing rapid depletion of the ozone layer, further enraging our skin: According to a review in The Frontiers of Environmental Science, for every 1 percent decrease in ozone, there is a 2 percent jump in UVB radiation, which—beyond raising the risk for skin cancer (no small thing)—could increase DNA damage, heightening sensitivity. And what of global warming, another calamitous side effect of pollution? Though few studies currently prove a connection, researchers theorise that rising temperatures and a longer pollen season could exacerbate allergic skin conditions.
FOR SERENITY NOW: Cleanse with kindness.
You don’t need to jackhammer your face with a scrub to clean your face. Do a gentle two-step: First, reach for a micellar water like
(4) Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (RM29.90, Watsons); the micelles (which are tiny oil molecules) are superior at lifting deep-seated sunscreen residue, pollution particles and makeup. Then finish with a water-based, non-soap cleanser, like
(5) La Roche-posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser (RM190.27, lazada.com.my), which is formulated with moisturising glycerin and without common irritants. This will whisk away anything that’s still clinging to your skin, ensuring you’re clean but not squeaky, stinging clean.
Move to mineral.
Not only are mineral sunscreens less irritating than chemical ones, but they also form a physical barrier that prevents toxic particles from entering skin. Look for one that’s broad-spectrum and free of potential agitators, including PABA, formaldehyde, benzophenones, lanolin, dyes and parabens. (6) Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 30 (RM240, 11street.my) is a favourite of dermatologists and allergists alike.
Up the ante on antioxidants.
Hate to sound like a broken record, but seriously: You need an antioxidant serum in your life. Topically, antioxidants protect sensitive skin by reducing oxidative damage, which strengthens the skin barrier and prevents inflammation, says Engelman. We love Caudalíe Vine[activ] Glow Activating Anti-wrinkle Serum (RM181, cosme-de. com)—enriched with antioxidant vitamins C and E and grape polyphenols—under sunscreen in the morning.
Do repair work.
Our supply of Dna-repair enzymes is “pivotal in counteracting the sensitivityinducing inflammation brought on by free-radical damage,” says Engelman, but it dips as we age. To bolster your natural healing agents, use a treatment spiked with Dna-repair enzymes, such as (8) RMD DNA Intensive Renewal (approximately RM575, dnaegfrenewal.com), before bed.