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How Air Pollution Affects Your Skin and What You Can Do About It

Here's an expert-approved anti-pollution skincare routine to beat your skin's biggest enemy

The rising air pollution in Delhi has been quite a concern. While the toxic elements in the air can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, it can also severely damage your skin. To help you understand how pollution wreaks havoc on your skin, we asked Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Medical Director - ISAAC and a dermatologist and cosmetologist to list the different ways in which your skin can get affected and also suggest ways to avert the damage.

How does air pollution affect our skin? 

The toxic pollutants present in both indoor and outdoor air are absorbed into your skin, affecting skin health. The pollution that affects your skin has a combination of smog and particulate matter, which is absorbed directly through the skin into the subcutaneous tissue or via hair follicles and sweat/sebaceous glands.

1. Air pollution increases the rate of sebum excretion. Ensure to clean your skin twice daily using a facial cleanser to remove excess oils and avoid buildup in the pores. Avoid any aggravating ingredients or harsh scrubs. Dr G Sebum Control Face Wash has a sebum formula that gently cleanses deep pores for clear skin and helps get rid of acne and acne marks, and prevent future breakouts. It clarifies acne and purifies the skin, helps to refine skin pores and regulates excess sebum production. It is infused with tea tree oil, which helps calm the redness and irritation associated with acne. 

facewash

2. It increases dehydration by reducing skin moisture. Chronic inflammation from air pollutants may weaken your outer skin barrier functions; over time, it will lose its ability to protect itself and retain hydration. Proper levels of hydration on the skin are fundamental to keep it regenerating and functioning at its best. A lightweight water-based formulated moisturizer will effectively hydrate your skin without clogging your pores. 

3. Air pollution reduces the skin's ability to defend itself. Pollutant particles accumulate on the skin surface, damage the skin barrier and diminish the skin radiance. Further increases skin irritation and sensitivity which amplifies skin ageing due to collagen matrix breakdown and brown spots.

Is there a way that we can save our skin from air pollution? 

Dr Geetika breaks simplifies the process of protecting your skin from damage. She shares some expert advcie:

1. Apply a sunblock that is non-comedogenic with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin barrier from getting damaged by air pollution. 

2. Use targeted gentle cleansers that do not damage the skin barrier by stripping away the natural lipid barrier on our skin instead of protecting it from dirt and impurities. Dr G Sebum Control Face Wash has a sebum formula that gently cleanses deep pores for clear skin and helps get rid of acne marks, and prevent future breakouts. It clarifies acne and purifies the skin, helps to refine skin pores and regulates excess sebum production. It is infused with tea tree oil, which helps calm the redness and irritation associated with acne. Capryloyl Glycine helps in the restoration of the skin's acid mantle and reduction of sebum. Niacinamide makes it perfect for sensitive skin that leaves it moisturizing and toning.

3. Use pollution defying essence or serums, rich in ascorbic acid and other antioxidants like Vitamin E, which further help build skin defence systems. Dr G Hydra Cool Plumping Serum is a replenishing formulation that combats dryness and dullness and restores suppleness. It improves the skin's barrier and heals visibly improve enlarged pores and redness. This serum delivers moisture, provides intensive hydration and delivers antioxidant protection. It also has Camellia Sinensis leaf extract, which soothes dry skin and reduces trans-epidermal water loss. It also hydrates your skin and improves its structure and quality. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to prevent skin inflammation. 

serum

4. Keep a facial mist handy and spray it frequently to keep skin fresh and hydrated. It will help to replenish your skin with antioxidants and calming ingredients. It helps to remove any residues of dirt that could clog the pores. Dr G Avo Glow Mist is enriched with avocado, bamboo water extracts, niacinamide, AHA, lactic acid, glycolic acid; this gentle face mist hydrates, soothes, refreshes, and instantly gives skin a healthy glow. It's rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C & E, which helps relieve inflammation and lift away old skin cells. It plumps, moisturizes and refreshes the skin over time.

moisturising

5. Moisturize with skincare products containing beeswax, niacinamide, glycerin and lanolin, which help preserve the skin barrier. Niacinamide helps regulate the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce. It helps your skin grow a lipid barrier, which helps retain moisture, thus making it beneficial for dry skin types. Niacinamide reduces inflammation which helps ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Dr G HA Intense Moisturizer has hydrating abilities, which leaves you with a visible glowing and plumper look while improving the early signs of ageing. Mango butter is present inside Dr G HA Intense Moisturizer, which possesses great moisturizing properties that nourish your skin and keep it healthy. It is packed with antioxidants and eliminates dry skin, protects from UV rays and aids in collagen production.

6. To combat the negative effects of pollution, it is important to cleanse your skin properly and use skincare rich in antioxidants. Pamper your skin with sheet masks or hydrating overnight masks to repair the damage.

7. Use an air purifier with a humidifier at home and the workplace to lessen the effects of pollution. Humidifiers make the air breathable and maintain the room's humidity. It keeps the house's atmosphere clean, which works to curb the air pollution in your home. 

8. Eat your greens, Vitamin C rich foods, jaggery and drink loads of fluids rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can neutralize the effects of pollutants. Lemon, orange, amla, green vegetables, grapefruit, tomatoes and potatoes are some examples of Vitamin C rich foods.

lip care

9. Do not ignore your lips. Exfoliate with a mild sugar scrub and apply a lip balm containing beeswax and SPF 15 protection.

10. Cover your hair in a scarf or wear a cap to keep it from coming in contact with air pollutants and dust. You can also knot it up to reduce the damage. Daily shampooing is a must. Deep conditioning and hot oil treatments can bring back the lost moisture. Hair exposed to pollution is more prone to damage, brittleness, and split ends; therefore, avoid chemical hair treatments and blow dries.

11. Use hair and skin supplements rich in biotin, vitamins and minerals. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, stimulates keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth.