Effects of Air Pollution on Skin and How to Protect?

Pollution is havoc for humanity!

It is continuously curbing the healthy life of individuals and is leading to major health issues with every passing day! It is leading to respiratory diseases, GI disorders, Cardiovascular diseases and skin problems.

Talking about skin, it is the prime defensive barrier of our body; it protects us from various environmental stressors (biological, physical and chemical).

In recent years the skin problems due to environmental stressors (pollution, UV radiation and Ozone) have become more prevalent.

What research says about pollution leading to skin problems?

From a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology it is found that there is a link between skin problems and airborne pollutants including particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

A survey by dermatologists presented in International Dermatology Conference revealed that 67% of the population had shown an increased prevalence of acne with pollution.

Another epidemiological study published in Skin Research and Technology explored the prevalence of greasy skin in individuals of the metropolitan and non-polluted areas. It was found that in metropolitan areas, 25.6% of individuals reported having oily skin as compared with the non-polluted area.

Here we will talk about the impact of pollution on skin health and how you can tackle it. But before that, a brief understanding of what is pollution and how does it affects our skin physiology is necessary.

So, let us enlighten you.

What is pollution?

As per, World Health Organization (WHO) pollution is defined as the contamination of the outdoor or indoor environment by any physical, chemical or biological factors that alter the natural properties of the atmosphere.

Based on causes, pollution can be classified into primary pollutants and secondary pollutants.

  • Primary pollutants such as particulate matter (such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs] and polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], driving automobile smoke, dirt and dust) and toxic gases (such as CO, NO, NO2, SO2).
  • Secondary pollutants such as peroxyacetyl nitrates (PANs) and ozone.

How does pollution affect our skin physiology?

The exposure of skin to pollution may trigger cutaneous stress. When these pollutants react with skin tissue, it penetrates the skin barrier and alters the normal functioning of the skin barrier. It increases the oxidative stress in the skin by reacting with skin proteins, DNA molecules and lipid composition, which negatively affects the skin antioxidant defence mechanism. It also reduces the enzymatic (glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide catalase and dismutase) as well as non-enzymatic (vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione) antioxidant capacity.

Ill effects of prolonged pollution exposure to the skin:

The prolonged exposure of skin to pollutants may be resulting in several skin disorders such as:

  • Skin cancer
  • Sensitive skin
  • Premature skin ageing
  • Xerotic skin
  • Rapid ageing symptoms like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and sallow appearance of the skin.
  • It also leads to acne, psoriasis, eczema, skin rashes and atopic dermatitis.

Hence, protection of the skin against pollutants is very crucial not only for beauty purposes but also for the suppression of health risks concerned with the intrinsic damage to other body organs.


How deeply pollution affects the skin?

1. Pollutants as Inflammatory mediators: 

Outdoor pollutants (are the heterogeneous mixture of chemicals and gases) exerts harmful effects on skin by the generation of oxidative stress by means of inflammation and ROS (reactive oxygen species) leading to aged skin.

  • Upon exposure of skin to pollutants generation of ROS takes place that causes lipid peroxidation resulting in an enhanced release of proinflammatory mediators (Cytokines and Interleukins) from melanocytes and keratinocytes.
  • Ozone and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (commonly found air pollutants) induce inflammatory responses by stimulating cytochrome p450 via AhR activation. This inflammation is one of the prime reason behind acne and other skin disorders.
  • Figure 2. Effects of various pollutants on inflammation
Pollutants as Free radical generator Derma Essentia

2. Pollutants as Free radical generator: 

Ozone (secondary pollutants) is highly reactive compounds that cause the generation of free radicals and decreases the level of antioxidant in the epidermis.

From a study, published in Experimental Dermatology it is found that exposure of normal human epidermal keratinocytes to ozone causes the DNA damage and reduces the level of ATP and Sirtuin 3 (it is a mitochondrial NAD-dependent deacetylase essential for the stimulation of superoxide dismutase 2 enzymes that scavenge free radical in the mitochondria.

3. Pollutants alter the cutaneous microflora: 

Cutaneous microflora (beneficial micro-organisms) plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis and retard the overgrowth of harmful microbes. When pollutants come in contact with skin, it alters these cutaneous microflora resulting in increased skin problem.

A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science reveals that the exposure of skin to ozone causes a 50 % reduction in skin microflora.

How can you protect your skin from various pollutants?

Pollutants have shown significant impact on skin health. Skin can be protected from harmful pollutants by;

  • Reducing prolonged exposure to these pollutants
  • Or by following potential protection strategies (use of skincare products), that helps to repair the skin barrier system, replenishing the antioxidant level of the skin and reduced inflammation.

Nature of the skincare products should be

  • Suitable for all skin type
  • Lightweight, non-comedogenic and hydrating
  • Provides a protective barrier over the skin surface
  • Free from harsh chemical ingredients
  • Gentle to the skin and provides complete protection

Now the question is that are there any skincare products which have all these characteristics and are gentle on your skin?

The answer is Yes.

Let us reveal them to you! Dermaessentia has a complete product range that helps to protect your skin from pollution.Deep cleanse and exfoliate!

1. Advanced Urban Pollution Hydrating Foaming Face wash: 

it is an Anti-pollution face wash enriched with hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide and natural extracts, specially designed to deep cleanse your skin. It washes off the unwanted dirt, removes excess oil from the skin and hydrates your skin.

The unique features of the key ingredients are:

  • Glycolic acid: A remarkable skin exfoliating agents that exfoliate dead and dry skin cells and gives you a clean and clear skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid: It hydrates the skin and prevents dryness.
  • Niacinamide: Mainly work on inflammation thus prevents acne
  • It removes urban pollution (PM2.5) and smog residues from your skin.
  • It helps to prevent pollution-induced irritation.
  • Also, offers antioxidant effects.
  • Gives you a clean, healthy and glowing skin.
Hydrating Foaming Facewash

2. Sunscreen SPF 50 Gel (UV+Pollution Protection): 

It is a true gel based sunscreen formulated with natural extracts including Saxifraga sarmentosa extract, Thermus thermophilus Ferment extract, Vitis vinifera extract, Aloe vera extract, Biosaccharide gum-4 and Glycerine. Each ingredient offers potential benefits

  • Saxifraga sarmentosa extract: It provides a skin lightening effect.
  • Thermus thermophilus Ferment extracts: It protects the skin from harmful IR radiations
  • Vitis vinifera extract: It offers anti-oxidant property
  • Biosaccharide gum-4: It provides protection from pollution.

Features and Benefits:

  • An essential feature of this SPF 50 gel sunscreen is, it is made up of encapsulated nanotechnology technique which serves uniform spreading of sunscreen over the skin surface.
  • It offers broad-spectrum sun protection from UVA, UVB, Infrared (IR rays) and urban pollution (PM2.5).
  • Lightweight, non-sticky, non-oily and paraben-free.
  • Suitable for all skin type.
  • With skin-lightening and antioxidant property.
  • Provides prolonged protection.
Sunscreen SPF 50

Last but not least, Vitamin C serum (a single product with a complete solution for numerous skin problems). For overnight skin rejuvenation, vitamin C serum is an ideal formulation.

3. Vitamin C serum for skin: 

It is an excellent skincare product enriched with the goodness of Vitamin C, Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid and Niacinamide. Each ingredient serves a unique property such as

  • Vitamin C: It is a potent antioxidant that boosts collagen production and protects the skin from UV induced damage.
  • Hyaluronic acid: It is an excellent moisturizer, that can hold up to 1000 times of its weight in water. It traps moisture in the skin and keeps it hydrated for an extended period of time.
  • Ceramides: It prevents skin from dryness, lock moisture into the skin and provide protection from environmental damage.
  • Niacinamide: It helps to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that are the prime reason behind skin related problems such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C Serum

Concluding, pollution severely affects your health as well as skin and leads to a massive number of skin-related issue. Protect yourself from these pollutants by using The Best Vitamin C Serum in India that gives you healthy and glowy skin.

Regular use can save a lot, so be consistent, and maintain your skin health!

Bonus tip

Vitamin C also helps you to get rid of skin pigmentation apply for vitamin C serum and get remarkable skin rejuvenating benefits.

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