Air pollution is something we don’t see that often (excludes Los Angeles and Beijing); but it is all around us and has a impact on our skin and health. Particles in the air settle on our skin and can block our pores resulting in breakouts. My daughter who is prone to acne; after living in China for 4 months came back with full blown acne. Prior to going there, her skin was clear. Air pollution can also cause eczema and skin rashes.
Pollutants That Harm Your Skin
There are many pollutants in the air: car exhaust, airborne dirt(construction sites), dust particles (the dessert), smog, and smoke. During a fire from a natural source the ash and debris particles floating in the air are apparent. Volcanic activity also adds particles to the air. Sulphur dioxide from vehicles, petroleum refineries and mills also damages your skin.
Protection From the Outside
The best way you can protect your skin is to adhere to a good skin care routine. At a minimum wash your face with a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. If you do not know what your skin type is, visit an esthetician for a skin evaluation. Exfoliating two to three times a week will help keep your pores clean and remove dead skin cells so your skin does not look dull. Apply a moisturizer with or without sunscreen (at least SPF 30) to create a barrier between the environment and your face. Never skimp on the sunscreen. Look for products with antioxidants, essential oils and vitamins to help maintain your skin. If your skin is damaged, consider using a serum and night creams with peptides for repair.
Maintenance From the Inside
Pollution also enters our bodies as we breathe. Drinking at least 8 – 10 glasses of water every day hydrates the skin and helps the liver to process and remove toxins from the blood. To support your liver function, add liver-friendly foods to your diet: beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, swiss chard, and other cruciferous vegetables. Eat lots of fruit including berries which have antioxidant properties. Don’t overtax the liver, drink alcohol in moderation.