Skincare woes take on a whole new meaning in the summers. Concerns like dehydration and acne caused by excessive sweating are only amplified by pollution, for those of us living in urban locales.
This is that time of the year when you need to factor pollution into your list of skin concerns too. After all, pollution can cause premature ageing by accelerating the breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. Additionally, it can cause dark spots, uneven skin tone, and other forms of hyperpigmentation, making our skin look dull and lifeless.
But, we’re not here to freak you out. Rather, we’re here to understand the link between pollution and premature ageing better and find ways to tackle the issue!
Understanding Pollution and its Impact on the Skin:
Although pollution has numerous adverse effects on human health, its impact on the skin is often overlooked. Pollution can damage the skin's natural protective barrier, leading to premature ageing, skin inflammation, and other skin-related problems.
Several types of pollution can have specific effects on the skin. Air pollution, for instance, can lead to skin irritation, dryness, and premature ageing. Water pollution can cause skin rashes, acne breakouts, and other skin infections. Exposure to UV rays from the sun can damage the skin's natural protective barrier, leading to sunburns, premature ageing, and skin cancer. Indoor pollution, such as tobacco smoke, can also have a detrimental effect on the skin by interfering with collagen production and causing skin discolouration.
Summer and Premature Ageing: The Real Connection
Premature ageing is the result of damage to our skin's collagen and elastin fibres. These proteins help keep our skin firm, smooth and wrinkle-free. When these are broken down, our skin loses its elasticity, becomes thinner, and wrinkles start to appear.
The main causes of premature ageing include exposure to UV radiation, pollution, smoking, poor diet, lack of sleep and stress.
During the summer, pollution levels tend to increase due to factors such as increased traffic, industrial activities and forest fires. Air pollution particles can penetrate deep into our skin, causing damage to our skin cells, and accelerating the ageing process. Exposure to pollution can also lead to inflammation, which can cause skin redness, irritation and breakouts.
Protecting Your Skin from Pollution in Summer
One of the best ways to tackle all the issues mentioned above is by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50, with broad spectrum protection.
You can also wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, hats, face masks and UV ray blocking sunglasses, to help shield your skin from the sun and pollutants.
Throughout the day, make sure you stay hydrated, avoid over-washing your skin and use gentle, non-irritating skincare.
Double cleanse with an oil-based and a creamy cleanser at the end of the day, for a thorough cleanse.
Include a Vitamin C serum in your AM routine along with sunscreen, for better UV protection. And use Niacinamide in your PM routine to restore your skin’s lost radiance, repair damage and strengthen your barrier. In addition, moisturisers with calming ingredients such as Cica and Oats also are a bonus in soothing your skin.
Ensure you sleep for a minimum of 8 hours, follow a balanced, wholesome diet and keep lifestyle stressors under control.
Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week, to get rid of the dead skin cells and restore lost radiance.
Indulge in a facial at least once a month to rid all the toxins and pollutants from your skin and replenish your skin with all the essential nutrients it needs.
You don’t need an elaborate routine to keep your skin safe, healthy, and youthful. You just need to be proactive and consistent with these simple measures!