It is widely recognized that unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light (UVL) from the sun contributes to premature skin aging, but pollution from the environment has at least an equal detrimental effect as UVL. Overexposure to contaminants in the air, such as smoke, can accelerate skin aging and skin cancer.
Air pollution is proinflammatory and cytotoxic to multiple skin cell types, slowing down cell turnover and disrupting the skin barrier and its reparative processes. This prevents normal skin health and appearance.
Multiple skin diseases may also be induced by poor air quality such as acne, rosacea, dermatitis and ichthyosis.
There are several things you can do to help mitigate damage. One of the best defenses against polluted air is to focus on a proper balanced anti-inflammatory diet. Incorporating probiotics and prebiotics into your diet as well as minimizing sugar and alcohol is beneficial. Smoking will age your face and body at an exacerbated rate.
Adding anti-inflammatory, low or no caffeine beverages such as green, white, spearmint, rooibos, turmeric or ginger teas can have a positive impact. Pycnogenol, niacinamide and quercetin taken orally have been found to have anti-pollution benefits. If the air quality index is poor, stay indoors to exercise and limit time outside.
You can easily Google or ask Siri what the air quality is in your town.
The key to protecting against environmental insults is a healthy skin barrier. A healthy, well-formed skin barrier along with topical anti-inflammatory protection will help prevent the environmental insults from wreaking havoc on your skin, and prevent premature aging.