How do you protect your skin against pollution?

It’s not just UV light from the sun that wreaks havoc on our complexion; environmental damage is also a cause of dull, rough, blotchy, discoloured, and older-looking skin. Daily exposure to various forms of pollution accelerate signs of ageing.

Truth in beauty: You can’t completely protect skin from the visible effects of pollution but you can take control of its effects with the right skincare.

Look for products with a mix of potent antioxidants that are specially formulated to counter the effects of pollution. Also keep an eye out for ingredients that help to repair the skin and restore a healthy skin barrier. Daily exfoliation with a BHA exfoliant will help to penetrate and unclog any blocked pores caused from pollution.


In short, air pollution is a collective term for all gases or particles that are released by human activity. This includes exhaust fumes from cars, production processes, petroleum and other chemical refineries and cigarette smoke.

Whether you live in an urban or rural area, your skin needs strong environmental protection. Pollution particles are so small that they easily travel through the atmosphere and settle in the water and in the ground so you come into contact with it everywhere.

Although most airborne pollutants do not penetrate the skin immediately, they do damage the skin’s surface which eventually makes it easier for pollutants to penetrate the skin. There is only one non-gaseous pollutant that is small enough to penetrate your skin: fine dust. Fine dust gets stuck inside the pores and can cause long-term damage. Just cleansing your face is not enough to remove the polluting particles once they have entered your pores which is why you need an effective skincare routine.


Just like UV light, air pollution is a serious risk to your health and of course, your skin. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to limit the damage. The 5 following types of pollution are the most damaging:

  1. Exhaust gases
  2. Cigarette smoke
  3. By-products of production processes (such as phthalates from plastics)
  4. Particulate matter (including many volatile substances such as aerosols)
  5. Smog (especially the ground level ozone it creates)

All types of air pollution cause free radical damage to skin, smog is particularly disruptive. Small pollution particles can get stuck in pores, causing breakouts and damage in the deeper layers of skin, right where wrinkles and most discolorations form. Pollution leads to damage and depletion of everything your skin needs to be healthy and younger looking. Here is a number of problems pollution can cause your skin:

  • Pigmentation spots
  • A dull, uneven complexion
  • Wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Red, sensitive skin
  • Dry skin that feels itchy and/or taut

Breathing in polluted air is the most direct route for air pollution to get into the body. You can help reduce this damage by not smoking and by eating rich diet full of antioxidants to keep your body and skin healthy.


Technically, blue light is not a pollutant but daily exposure to it is damaging to your skin and most especially your eyes. Blue light is the light emitted from digital devices such as your smartphone, computer screen, tablet and television. The sun also emits blue light, but this light comes from far away and is diffused. In contrast, blue light emitted from digital devices is often within inches of your face.

Antioxidants can help your skin to recover from the damage caused by blue light, especially antioxidants derived from plant extracts (such as xanthophyll and grape polyphenols). An even quicker fix is to set your devices to yellow light or night mode.


The negative effects of environmental pollution on your skin can best be prevented and remedied with antioxidant-rich products. In addition, it is important that you keep your skin’s barrier healthy and exfoliate to remove the contamination from your pores. Our new Defense line shields skin from airborne pollutants letting skin steadily repair its stressed-out appearance, becoming even-toned, stronger, and noticeably vibrant so you see radiant, clarified, and healthy skin now and for years to come.


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