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Is City Living Affecting Your Skin? Your Guide To Skin And Pollutants

It’s not only your lifestyle, diet, or skincare routines that affect your skin. It turns out that even the environment you live in can pose a threat to the body’s largest organ. From the changing weather conditions and ultraviolet (UV) rays to airborne allergens and pollutants, the skin faces new challenges every day that could compromise its appearance and health.

That’s why your skincare routine should also focus on protecting your skin from daily stressors, especially if you live in one of the UK’s busy cities. As your body’s primary barrier, your skin often receives the most impact when the environment strikes. Environmental impurities may not be visible to the naked eye, but it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

How Pollution Affects Your Skin

Some research suggests that pollution is as bad for the skin as unprotected sun exposure. So, that means you should not only focus on UV light protection, but also on the need to shield your skin from pollution. To understand the negative influences of this environmental factor, let’s take a closer look at how pollution can affect your skin.

Clogged Pores And Acne

Pollutants are everywhere, but it’s probably safe to say that pollution levels are higher in busy towns and major cities than in rural areas. This means that people living in busy places are at greater risk of having increased bacteria on the skin, clogged pores and other skin problems.

Dirt, dust and smog can clog your pores, especially when they combine with excess oil on the skin. Clogged pores are clearly visible, appearing darker and more prominent, and often lead to acne breakouts.

Compromised Skin Barrier Function

A healthy skin barrier has two functions: keeping irritants out and locking in moisture and natural oils. Pollution, however, can penetrate through your skin layers and cause oxidative stress, weakening the skin barrier. In general, smog particles are too large to enter the skin, but they can still disrupt the skin barrier function.

Remember, when your skin barrier is compromised, it won’t function properly to maintain the skin’s health. It will be unable to prevent irritants from entering your skin, resulting in dullness, acne, premature ageing, dehydration and sensitivity.

Free Radical Damage

Pollution is one reason for the greater prevalence of free radicals these days, and where you live plays a massive role in how much of that you encounter. Urban living, for instance, means significant exposure to the air pollution which can trigger free radicals.

Various pollutants, including smog, dust, cigarette smoke, or even household cleaners, can cause oxidative free radical damage. This damage results in the deterioration and breakdown of everything your skin needs to look healthy and youthful. The damage will appear on the skin in the form of unwanted pigmentation, dryness, sagging, or wrinkles.

How to Protect Your Skin From Pollutants

Your skin is under constant attack from toxic elements with consequences including premature ageing, roughness, dryness, irritation, or even cancer. Fortunately, there are simple ways to combat these issues and keep your skin in great condition.

Making Better Dietary Choices

The skin is always ready to fight pollution, thanks to the antioxidants you get from your diet and the essential ingredients from your skincare products. Powerful antioxidants will help protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Some of the most beneficial antioxidants include Vitamins A, C and E.

Work from the inside out, therefore, by including nutrient-rich foods in your diet and drinking lots of fluids. This will help keep your skin hydrated, plump and healthy looking. Thankfully, many of the foods you consume daily contain minerals and vitamins essential for your skin, such as raspberries, kale, blueberries and spinach.

Consider Two-step Cleansing

Besides improving your diet, cleansing your face regularly is another way to protect your skin from pollutants and address free radical damage. It’s best to follow a two-step cleansing process. This involves using a makeup remover pad or a cleansing wipe for your face before washing with your regular cleanser. This process will ensure no makeup, grime, or dirt is left on your skin.

Choose Anti-pollution Ingredients

Whether it’s your cleanser, moisturiser, serum, or toner, use skincare products that contain anti-pollution properties. These products can help slow the damage or disrupt the visible effects of pollution on your skin. Besides antioxidants, these pollution-fighting elements include niacinamide, fatty acids and mineral blockers which can form a barrier to prevent environmental toxins from reaching your complexion.


If you live in the city, there’s no way you can avoid pollution. There are ways, however, of protecting your skin against those nano-sized particles. You can start by choosing a healthy lifestyle, having a proper skincare routine and using the right ingredients for a healthy, blemish-free complexion.

Vinci Aesthetics will help you renew and protect your skin from the harsh reality of city living. Secure your complimentary consultation by making an appointment with us today!


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