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  • Nelufer Beebeejaun

Pollutants and Your Skin


One of the reasons I love living in Toronto is that there is always something to see and do, and in the summertime, there is never a shortage of outdoor festivals, from food to music and an abundance of patios to checkout with friends. However, living in a city full time and being outside means that there might be pollutants affecting our skin that we aren’t always aware of. The particles may be tiny, but the damage they can cause is quite significant.


Air pollution can actually contribute to premature aging by accelerating the development of wrinkles and age spots. Toxic fumes can actually have a visible effect on skin in larger cities with some conditions like eczema worsening in city environments.


The two most common types of pollution are the following:

· Smog: occurs when emissions from combusting fossil fuels react with sunlight.

· Soot: made up of tiny particles of chemicals, soil, smoke, dust or allergens.


Here in Toronto, major strides have been made in reducing pollution thanks in large part to changes in Ontario’s energy policies. But Toronto Public Healthy says that levels of major pollutants in the air have become stagnant after years of decline and air pollution is still a serious concern in the city.


Its normal to even forget this is a major issue, considering most of us just live with it and are used to it, especially since when we think air pollution, we are prone to think about the effects it has on our lungs etc. But the impact on our skin goes deep!


When bits of smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants are released into the air, they don’t just sit on the outer layer of your skin, they penetrate all the way into the deeper layers of your skin, which can cause dehydration, loss of elasticity and increases your chance of wrinkles. The free radicals in the pollutants can strip the skin of its barrier lipids (which help retain moisture and keep out dirt and other junk). If this barrier weakens, it can lead to premature aging, skin damage, hyper-pigmentation and increased skin sensitivity.


How can you protect yoself before you wreck yoself? (Skin wise I mean). Makeup! I know that sounds weird and counter intuitive, but it actually helps create a barrier between your skin and the city’s air pollutants!


Here is a list of everything I have been using in the morning. Layering your products of course helps with protection.

2. Moisturizer/Sunscreen: Juice Beauty's SPF 30 Moisturizer


4. Under eye cream: Clinique’s Pep-Start Eye cream<--this is a great product.


I always thought the makeup I use was using was creating a protective layer from the elements. If I wear just powder without any prep I tend to breakout because the extra layers aren’t there to help barricade my skin from everything else. I do occasionally go without any makeup at all but I still make sure to do steps 1-4 in my routine before heading out doors.


Just an FYI, I stumbled upon a cool website whilst researching this topic. Dermalogica teamed up with air quality analytics company BreezoMeter to launch www.skinpollution.com, a real time, location based index. Check it out!

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