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How Air Pollution Affects your Skin

PollutionA skincare regimen is probably one of the strongest habits we each have. It includes makeup removal, cleansers, moisturizers, and any number of products we choose for a specific purpose. Whether it’s sensitive skin, oily skin, freckles or no freckles, skin is important.

Have you ever thought about how the very air around you could be affecting your skin? Everything from nanoparticles of dust to dirt and humidity interact with your skin in some way. We already know moisturizers are critical in dry climates. If you live in one, you most likely have a favorite lip gloss and at least a couple moisturizers to manage the lack of humidity.

How about the air quality itself? If you live in a city with lots of traffic and vehicle exhaust, the air can prematurely age your skin by breaking down collagen and lipids that would normally keep your skin supple and healthy. Or how about all the devastating fires in the western part of the country that are diminishing air quality? This and other types of air pollution can cause breakouts, rashes, and all sorts of things you’d rather not deal with.

That’s why it is so important to educate our patients on things that could affect our skin and how to keep our skin looking its best. Educate and empower your patients by sharing actions they could take to protect their skin from air pollution.

One of the first steps is to help your patients understand the risks they’re dealing with and how to reduce those risks wherever possible. For example, if they update their kitchen wall color, they could reduce their risk by choosing a paint that emits fewer chemicals like VOCs. Skincare products with vitamins A, B3, C, and E may be especially helpful in reducing risks. Here are some other products and actions to consider and recommend:

  1. Daily cleanser: Choose a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your skin and consider adding another product to clean and freshen your face throughout the day, especially if you are in a more polluted environment.
  2. Toner: Used after the cleanser, a toner is meant to remove any remaining contaminants and give your skin a boost of moisture. Choose an alcohol-free version to eliminate any drying effects.
  3. Moisturizer: Your skin needs different levels of moisture during the day and at night, so you’ll want to select the best combination for your skin. If you choose a product with Vitamin C, remember that it should be in a container that protects the moisturizer from light.
  4. Antioxidants: Vitamin A (Retinol), Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are just a few of the antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and allow the skin to repair itself and correct visible damage.
  5. Diet: Eat leafy greens, berries, Omega 3s, citrus for vitamin C, and drink plenty of water to help your skin protect itself.

It is important to educate your patients on taking care of their skin once they leave your office to help them keep the work you are doing looking its best.