THE BIG SMOKE

All the new-gen anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts you need to know and why they work.

Female (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Pol­lu­tion is re­ally harm­ful to health

Don’t just take our word for it. In 2014, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) dubbed pol­lu­tion the “sin­gle big­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal health risk”. Air pol­lu­tion pro­duced by in­dus­try and cars – a mix­ture of par­tic­u­late mat­ter and free-rad­i­cal-con­tain­ing gases that dam­age the body and skin – is es­pe­cially toxic. Those mi­nus­cule bits of soot and smoke that get in­side lungs and pores cause in­flam­ma­tion, and have been as­so­ci­ated with count­less dis­eases and con­di­tions, from asthma to lung can­cer.

Your skin is al­most al­ways ex­posed to it

It’s an in­con­tro­vert­ible fact that air pol­lu­tion makes skin age, in­creas­ing pig­men­ta­tion, sen­si­tiv­ity and wrin­kles, and caus­ing de­hy­dra­tion. It also am­pli­fies the dam­age done by UVA rays, so sunny, pol­luted cities are the worst. “The harm­ful ef­fects of par­tic­u­late mat­ter are less known than other ag­gres­sors like UV rays and smok­ing,” says Dr Ivan Tan, med­i­cal direc­tor of Nu.Re­flec­tions Med­i­cal Aes­thet­ics. “This makes them the silent killer be­cause many peo­ple are not aware of the harm, and thus don’t take pre­cau­tions.”

Sin­ga­pore’s air is pretty clean (well, most of the time any­way)

Ac­cord­ing to WHO and Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Agency (NEA) stats, the con­cen­tra­tion of harm­ful gases and par­tic­u­late mat­ter in our air is usu­ally in the good or mod­er­ate range. In fact, thanks to gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion, air here is get­ting cleaner. There are, how­ever, those pe­ri­ods of haze when the con­cen­tra­tion of pol­lu­tants in our air rapidly in­creases. In 2013 and 2015, there were a num­ber of days where the PSI climbed above 400, and the NEA clas­si­fied air qual­ity as un­healthy or very un­healthy.

Which means you don’t need an­tipol­lu­tion sk­in­care all the time Since our air is usu­ally pretty clean, Dr Tan says it’s not ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to use anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts. “How­ever, more pro­tec­tion is al­ways good,” he says. “It’s a good idea to wear them dur­ing the haze.” You can also add them into your rou­tine if you’re trav­el­ling to a par­tic­u­larly pol­luted place, or if you have sen­si­tive skin, as you’d be more sus­cep­ti­ble to the ef­fects of pol­lu­tion. As with all new prod­ucts, though, be cau­tious to avoid ir­ri­ta­tion.

Anti-pol­lu­tion sk­in­care is not new – there’s just more of it now

Clin­ique’s Su­per City range was in­tro­duced more than a decade ago, while Clar­ins has in­cluded an Anti-pol­lu­tion Com­plex (with plant-based ac­tives like moringa, white tea and suc­cory dock-cress) to all its day creams and com­plex­ion prod­ucts since 1991. Yet in the past five years, there’s been a up­surge in in­ter­est here – mar­ket re­search firm Min­tel says that in Asia-Pa­cific, anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts are now con­sid­ered main­stream. What’s spurring this de­mand: Asian cities like Bei­jing and New Delhi are some of the most pol­luted glob­ally, putting the idea on our radar. There’s lifestyle and ed­u­ca­tion too. “With the well­ness trend gain­ing global trac­tion over the last two years and the in­creas­ing aware­ness of the neg­a­tive ef­fects of pol­lu­tion on skin, women are tak­ing steps to pre­vent dam­age through the reg­u­lar use of the right sk­in­care prod­ucts,” says Brenda Loke, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Clar­ins. Sk­in­care tech­nol­ogy has also im­proved, and there’s more ev­i­dence that anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts work.

The new gen prod­ucts tend to be a quadru­ple threat

Early anti-pol­lu­tion prod­ucts typ­i­cally had an­tiox­i­dants to coun­ter­act the harm­ful ef­fects of free rad­i­cals. The lat­est ones – from fa­cial spritz to makeup – re­tain those, but also in­clude in­gre­di­ents that stop par­tic­u­lates from stick­ing to skin. There are also prod­ucts de­signed to strengthen the mois­ture bar­rier so that pol­lu­tants can’t pen­e­trate, and cleansers to dis­solve par­tic­u­lates that reg­u­lar cleansers can’t touch – all with­out com­pro­mis­ing one’s mois­ture bar­rier.

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