SKIN SERIES | Air Pollution & Acne

SKIN SERIES | Air Pollution & Acne


One of the first questions I often ask clients is “what do you believe is behind your skin issues?” Clients have typically been mulling over this question for some time on their own so they are quick to rattle off a number of reasons. But often the most overlooked is a change in environment. Temperature variations alone can alter sebum production and require a change in one’s approach to skin care.

But new research is suggesting that there is another factor to contend with - increased air pollution. Researchers are finding that pollution exacerbates the skin’s inflammatory processes, particularly when the skin barrier is compromised (often a result of aggressive cleansing with detergent-based products). Additionally, subjects living in polluted areas reported sebum levels twice as high as those living in less polluted environments.

But pollution isn’t the only player in town - UV exposure has been shown to increase pollution’s harmful effects by further compromising the skin’s barrier and depleting antioxidants.

Luckily simple steps can help protect your skin from both pollution and UV rays:

·      Wear SPF every single day

·      Amp up your SPF by applying an antioxidant serum

·      Ditch harsh, detergent-based cleansers


·      Replenish your skin’s barrier (particularly if you are using sensitizing ingredients like retinol and AHAs)

Final note - I’ve noticed an increase in “anti-pollution” skin care products lining the shelves. While there is nothing wrong with these products, you’ll notice that the ingredient lists typically include antioxidants and SPF. You were likely using these ingredients before. The only difference between these new products and your current products is marketing.