What Are Anti-Pollution Skincare Products, and Should You Be Using One Daily?
In short, yes—especially if you live in a city.
You already know that pollution is bad for the environment and your health, but what you might not realize is that it's is also deleterious to your skin. "Air, especially in bigger cities, contains harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, among others," says Dr. Jeanine B. Downie, dermatologist and medical expert at Derm Collective. "These pollutants appear to speed up the aging process, contribute to inflammation, and impact the skin's natural barrier function." If you want your skin to look and feel its best, you need to protect it from pollution-related damage—and that's where anti-pollution skincare products come in.
These products do exactly what their name implies—they're formulated to both protect your skin from pollution and repair any pollution-related damage. "The goal of anti-pollution skin care is to negate, or at the very least reduce, the harmful effects that pollutants in the air have on the skin," adds Dr. Downie. "This is done both by removing pollutants from the pores and the skin's surface, as well as creating a barrier to protect the skin from pollutants' contact." Ahead, everything you need to know about how these formulas work and why they're essential, especially if you're an urbanite.
Look for antioxidant-rich products.
If you want your skincare to protect your skin from pollution-related damage, you need the right ingredients. And your first line of defense? Antioxidants. "Some of the key ingredients to look for in anti-pollution skincare are antioxidants like vitamin C and E," explains Dr. Downie. "These help to block the formation of free radicals, which helps to lessen the impact of pollution on premature aging."
Niacinamide is another ingredient to look for. "Products that contain niacinamide are good additions to antipollution regimens because they help improve the skin's barrier, preventing damage before it occurs," she says. "Niacinamide also helps to restore signs of skin damage, which helps to reverse any damage that your skin has undergone from pollution in the past."
Certain chemical exfoliants can also help to clear the skin of any pollutants. Just make sure to use as directed. "Chemical exfoliants like salicylic and lactic acid are well suited to clearing away any pollution that finds its way into pores," says Dr. Downie. "However, using these types of exfoliant as directed is paramount to avoid irritation which could, in turn, decrease your skin's barrier function and subject it to additional environmental stressors."
Use an anti-pollution product every day.
Should you be using anti-pollution skincare products on a daily basis? According to Dr. Downie, the answer is yes—especially if you want to prevent further damage to your skin. "Any days where antipollution ingredients are not applied, pollutants have the chance to sit on your skin's surface and cause damage," she explains. And while everyone could benefit from incorporating an anti-pollution skincare product or two into their daily regimen, the more pollution you're exposed to, the more you stand to gain. "Most people can benefit from including these good skincare ingredients," says Dr. Downie. "Living in or near large cities or near highways means that your skin is more likely to be bombarded by pollutants."
You're likely already using anti-pollution skincare.
The good news? You probably don't have to go out and spend a fortune on anti-pollution products. If you're taking care of your skin with a daily skincare regime, you may have the products and ingredients you need to protect your skin from pollution-related damage in your regimen already, says Dr. Downie.