Skin Matters

How Pollution Is Damaging Your Skin

We all know that pollution is bad, but are you aware of the specific ways it wreaks havoc on your complexion?

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Saying that pollution has an adverse effect on our skin is an understatement. With many places becoming more and more urbanized, you can’t ignore the ways it’s beginning to affect your skin anymore. Click next to know what these distressing effects are and how we can deal with them.

1. It causes premature skin aging.

While our skin naturally ages, elements in the air, like free radicals, are speeding up this natural process. Once these enter the skin, they cause tissue damage, creating wrinkles, fine lines, and rough dry patches—even at an age when you’re not supposed to be getting them yet.

How to deal?

The magic word here is antioxidants, which basically reverse the damaging oxidizing effect of free radicals. Take your daily dose of vitamins C, B3, and E supplements (for inside care) and use moisturizing products that contain these very same vitamins on your face and skin (for outside care). Other sources of antioxidants include coldwater fish, fruits and vegetables, and green tea.

2. It causes dry skin, irritation, and rashes, or worse—skin diseases.

Every time you head out, your skin faces a lot of dirt, smog, and other pollutants in the air. These particles and gases forcibly break the outermost protective barrier of our skin. And when they lodge themselves within the layers and pores of our skin, they cause greater damage by releasing harmful elements—pathogens—making us even more susceptible to skin diseases and imbalances.

How to deal?
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SPF, SPF, SPF. The good news is, sun protection factor is present in many products out there—from lotions to facial sprays to makeup. Clothing usually has SPF 5, which isn’t much, so double or triple up the protection by layering on sunscreen. A minimum of SPF 15 on the face will do, and SPF 30 on body parts that are exposed.

4. It stresses out your skin.

Honking cars, traffic build-up—these are all forms of pollution, too. All these can affect one’s psychological and emotional well-being. When your mind and emotions are stressed, your body is thrown out of whack, and this unbalanced condition manifests on your organs, including your skin. When the components of your skin aren’t functioning properly, you get acne, and your skin reveals a dull, gray pallor. Worse, it isn’t able to protect itself from further deterioration.

How to deal?

Check out of the city every once in a while. Use weekends to go to your favorite retreat. Or go to a quieter side of town with fresher air, away from the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle. Visit a park and surround yourself with greenery and the sound of birds in the trees, where you can think clearly. A regular dose of peace of mind will do your skin, body, mind, and soul a whole lot of good.

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PDS is the only specialty society in Dermatology recognized by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP). PDS is not an endorser of any product found in the site.

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