Anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts for the per­fect com­plex­ion.

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IN AUS­TRALIA we’re well aware of the dam­age the sun can do, but sci­en­tists are digging up ever more dirt on a less vis­i­ble con­cern: pol­lu­tion. Around 91 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion is ex­posed to air qual­ity lev­els that ex­ceed the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) lim­its. “To­day, pol­lu­tion is the largest en­vi­ron­men­tal cause for pre­ma­ture death and ill­ness, as­so­ci­ated with nine mil­lion deaths world­wide in 2015,” says Dr Bar­bara Sturm, a spe­cial­ist in aes­thetic medicine and molec­u­lar cos­met­ics with a skin­care range in Mecca. “Sev­eral med­i­cal stud­ies show that pol­lu­tion is as­so­ci­ated with many symp­toms con­nected to the age­ing process.” Stud­ies have shown that poor air qual­ity in­creases age spots by up to 25 per cent, ag­gra­vates in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tions like eczema and acne, and even dam­ages DNA. “Ozone pol­lu­tion dam­age ap­pears in skin as ex­cess oili­ness, rough tex­ture and in­creased sen­si­tiv­ity,” says Dr Elena Voskre­sen­skaya, Sk­inceu­ti­cals Global Ed­u­ca­tion Man­ager. Sci­en­tists now know more about how this works: the fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter, deemed a car­cino­gen by WHO, is much smaller than our pores, so this mat­ter can in­fil­trate the deeper lay­ers of the skin and cause in­flam­ma­tion. It’s not just ob­vi­ous pol­lu­tants like car emis­sions, ozone, for­est fires and cig­a­rette smoke that we need to worry about — blue light from screens is also bad news for your skin. “Blue light ra­di­a­tion can pen­e­trate the skin much deeper than UVA or UVB rays, and dam­ages DNA,” says Dr Sturm. “Pol­lu­tion also has a cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect, mean­ing that blue light, in com­bi­na­tion with un­pro­tected sun ex­po­sure, cig­a­rette smoke and air pol­lu­tion, has a mag­ni­fy­ing ef­fect and dam­ages the skin even more.” Stay­ing away from screens and im­prov­ing in­door air qual­ity with plants or an air pu­ri­fier are sim­ple ways to im­prove in­door air qual­ity. Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances also make it pos­si­ble to un­der­stand the po­ten­tial dam­age you face when walk­ing out the door, too. Der­ma­log­ica has a ded­i­cated web­site, skin­pol­lu­, that not only tells you what your lo­cal air qual­ity is like, but also what prod­ucts your skin will need for ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion. As a gen­eral rule, Emma Hob­son, Ed­u­ca­tion Man­ager for the In­ter­na­tional Der­mal In­sti­tute and Der­ma­log­ica, rec­om­mends dou­ble cleans­ing your skin daily. “Use a tool such as a brush or mitt to en­sure the pol­lu­tant par­ti­cles on our skin’s sur­face are dis­lodged and re­moved ef­fec­tively,” she says. “Fol­low with a bridge be­tween cleans­ing and ex­fo­li­a­tion by us­ing a mi­cro­fo­liant, ide­ally con­tain­ing the ab­sorbent prop­er­ties of char­coal.” As aware­ness of toxic air in­creases, anti-pol­lu­tion skin­care prod­ucts are set to be­come as ubiq­ui­tous as SPF. “This is not a fad made up by the cos­metic in­dus­try, it is very real and an es­sen­tial com­po­nent to the health of our skin,” says Emma.

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