Not only does pollution leave your skin dehydrated, but it can also lead to inflammation and accelerated signs of premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. So, if you looking to prevent the ill-effects on air pollution on your skin, then a few lifestyle modifications that keep such skincare woes at bay.
Air pollution, cigarette smoke, and other irritants not only harm your health, but coming into contact with them every day can adversely impact the way your skin looks and feels. Not only does pollution leave your skin dehydrated, but it can also lead to inflammation and accelerated signs of premature ageing and hyperpigmentation.
Dr Saurabh Shah, dermatologist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai said that many studies show that pollution may play a key role in darkening and discolouring the skin, which may be a risk factor for various types of facial hyperpigmentation and pigmentary dyschromia. “It is a known trigger to cause melanogenesis (pigment production). Apart from leaving the outer surface of the skin feeling rough, dry, dirty and greasy, some chemical pollutants (hydrocarbons, toxic particulate matter, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide etc.) penetrate through the skin’s layers and cause oxidative stress which jeopardises the skin’s barrier and trigger chronic inflammation,” he said, adding, it gets further pronounced in the presence of ultraviolet exposure like sun rays.
So, if you looking to prevent the ill effects of air pollution on your skin, then a few lifestyle modifications keep such skincare woes at bay. Recently, Dr Renita Rajan, chief cosmetic dermatologist, RENDER Skin and Hair, shared five ways to strengthen your skin care routine to prevent pollution-related pigmentation.
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Check out her Instagram post below:
Dr Rajan added, “Air pollution is in the news. But for many of us, we have been living in areas with very high air pollution and particulate matter pollution for several years. These types of pollution have been linked to a number of pigmentary conditions such as melasma, overall photo tanning, increased sunspots, and specific dermatological conditions like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.”
In fact, according to Dr Rajan, the most common cause of pigmentation-related photo ageing in Asian women has been thought to be linked to increased particulate matter and air pollution.
Now, how can we make your skincare routine strong enough to protect against particulate matter and air pollution?
Step one– never miss wearing sunscreen. This is the single most important thing that you have to do to prevent the interaction of UV rays radiation and particulate matter pollution from wreaking havoc on your skin.
In a similar line, Dr Shah said, “Sunscreen is the cornerstone in the treatment strategy against pollution-induced pigmentation but just by itself a sunscreen alone cannot help reduce the pigmentation. One needs other supplements like antioxidants, depigmenting creams, and other skin-lightening treatments according to one’s skin type. Preferably, a broad-spectrum sunscreen gives the skin a shield against UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. Some sunscreens contain added ingredients like Ectoin, Uvinul, and iron oxide which further potentiate their sun protection effect.”
The second step is to introduce an exfoliator, which can do a great job of getting rid of the day-to-day pollution and oxidation damage on the skin’s surface.
Concurring, Dr Shah noted that gentle exfoliation assists in removing pollution particles that are often lodged on the surface of the skin and at times in between the skin layers and stop them from deeper penetration. “However, vigorous exfoliation can cause micro-abrasions (cuts) on the skin and induce further inflammation and pigmentation, a condition known as Frictional Hyper melanosis.”
The third step is to introduce activites that have some free radical scavenging potential, especially if you are living in areas of high urban pollution. Since particulate matter pollution is a key cause of pigmentation, you need to proactively introduce pigmentation-controlling agents in your skincare routine.
Agreeing, Dr Shah said, “Bioactives (biological actives) lighten and even out the skin tone. They help in reversing free radical-induced skin damage. Actives also reduce photodamage caused by sun exposure, help in skin hydration, and reduce and delay the wrinkling and crinkling of skin.”
Last, but not the least, everything starts and ends with diet. Hydration is an important factor. You need to have somewhere between 2 to 3 litres or more water depending on how much you sweat in this weather. You also need to have an antioxidant-rich diet, so you can protect yourself from the inside out.
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Additionally, Dr Shah said that the best way to have antioxidants is by consuming naturally coloured fruits and veggies. “A good recommendation would be a “rainbow coloured diet” or a 4-coloured diet that includes red, yellow, orange, and green-coloured fruits and veggies. These foods are a rich source of antioxidants like reservatol, astaxanthin, beta carotene, and glutathione, which help reduce the pollution induced pigmentation by quenching the reactive oxygen species and neutralising the oxidative stress of the skin,” he added.
Furthermore, he mentioned that good hydration will help improve a dry and withered-out skin barrier and aid in pigment reduction. “In fact, GLOW itself means – green leafy veggies, oranges, and water.”
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First published on: 01-09-2023 at 10:00 IST
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