Living in an exciting city such as Dubai or London offers great appeal, but when it comes to airborne pollutants the effects on our wellbeing are not so glamorous.
With growing awareness of what pollution does to our health and respiratory, the impact of what it does to our skin typically remains poorly described or understood.
Here we break down the facts, the effects and guide you towards everyday easy solutions.
First the numbers, the World Health Organisation attributed 11.6% of all global deaths to be associated with indoor and outdoor airborne pollution, this number has more than doubled since 2012.
With skin our largest organ and our external protector it’s not surprising it takes the brunt as it defends against external aggressors.
So what are the consequences of pollutants on our skin?
Talking scientifically, it is increased oxidative stress defined as destructive reactive oxygen species (free radicals) that can overcome our natural antioxidant protection.
In real terms this means visible premature ageing, skin irritations, an increased rate of sebum secretion, acne, and poor skin barrier function. Now - let’s be honest none of it reads great. And the scientific clinical evidence is growing and makes the correlation clear between air pollution and skin, not only at a cosmetic level but at a deeper level effecting skin health.
The good news is that there are lots of anti-pollution and anti-oxidative measures we can take to prevent, protect and restore our skin.
Just as laboratory tests are able to measure how our cells react to different pollutants, they can test which ingredients can help protect them against the negative effects caused.
Our top Edits to PREVENT, PROTECT AND RESTORE against Pollution and Urban Living
One of the most simplest and natural things we can all do is to remove the daily grime from our skin. It is shown that Urban dust contains 224 toxic elements.
Cleansers that effectively remove daily build up without stripping the skin barrier of vital moisture are perfect. Of course, we have done the hard work for you and have selected the very best - from our much loved Votary multi award-winning Cleansing Oils that remove every trace of pollution effortlessly, to Zelens Shiso Balm Cleanser with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Votary Cleansing Oils, from AED 230. With a Cleansing Oil for every Skin Type.
Zelens Shiso Balm Cleanser, from AED 80.
Thinking beyond our face and our whole skin health - we adore Olive’s Pomegrante Body Wash an easy choice for the whole family. The pomegranate extract is rich in vitamin E providing the antioxidant capabilities we are looking for.
Topical Antioxidant Serums
We were jumping with excitement when we first heard about Dr. Marko Lens latest anti-oxidant creation and a formulation he is personally super excited about.
Tea Shot - Urban Defence Serum, from AED 170
Providing the ultimate in skin defence from urban pollution, it harnesses the antioxidant powers of tea - black tea, red tea, white tea, green tea, and matcha!
When it comes to antioxidants we listen to Dr. Marko Lens who has has had a lifelong passion to antioxidants in skincare and they can be found throughout his collection.
Interesting fact: Dr. Marko Lens studied the role of topical antioxidants in skin cancer at the prestigious Oxford University, England, so he knows more than a thing or two.
Oral Antioxidants - Diet and Supplement Boosters
Boosting our antioxidant protection has a whole range of health benefits beyond just our skin.
Three of the major antioxidant vitamins we want to look out for are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E and the mineral selenium.
These can be found in colourful fruits and vegetables, if however you struggle to get your five-a-day or as we age benefit from a boost to our antioxidant protection.
Super food Beauty Antiox - Berry Deluxe, AED160 is the perfect all-in-one formulation. Containing an antioxidant superfruit blend of Strawberry, Blueberry, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Cherry, Cranberry.
Vitamin E - 143% RDI per serve,
Vitamin C - 94% RDI per serve,
Vitamin A – 17% RDI per serve,
Selenium – 35% RDI per serve
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
For those struggling with the side effects of pollution resulting in excessive sebum production, blemished and stressed skin.
Vitamin B - Niacinamide can transform your skin and is one of the hardest working ingredients at reducing the negative effects of urban dust. It has anti-inflammatory benefits, works to control excess sebum production and supports skin barrier helping stressed skins.
Two standout formula’s we recommend:
Zelens - Power B Revitalising and Clearing serum, AED 425 - a high potency complex blend of B3 Niacinamide, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 vitamins.
In summary, whilst we keep thriving and enjoying our city lives, there are everyday simple things we can all do to protect ourselves against the threat of airborne pollution both at home and outside. Skin and our overall health can be aided by topical and dietary antioxidants, select supplements and properly cleansed skin.
Journal European Academy Dermatology. 2019 Aug; 33(8): 1496–1505.
Published online 2019 Apr 26.
WHO . Household air pollution and health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/household-air-pollution-and-health.
WHO . Air pollution. http://www.who.int/topics/air_pollution/en/.
English JS, Dawe RS, Ferguson J. Environmental effects and skin disease. Br Med Bull.