Air Pollution and Your Skin
How Air Quality Effects Your Skin
Skin Saviors for a Hazy Summer
Normally this time of year we would post about skincare for the party season… this year however, the focus is on protecting our skin from the immediate environment.
Our hearts go out to the people who have lost their homes and to the brave men and women on the front line battling the bush fires that continue to wreak havoc around the country. With air pollution at a record breaking high with little relief in sight, we must adapt and carry on safely and responsibly. We have been advised to stay indoors, avoid outdoor activities and close windows… One things for certain, anyone who has spent time outside of late feels the need for a good shower afterwards to clean all the pollution off.
So lets talk about air pollution and our skin. Presently, the smoky haze that’s engulfed our city is attributable in its severity to the bush fires that surround us. This is physical, in that the haze we see consists of micro particles containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) which come from the burning of items such as wood, coal, oil, exhaust fumes from cars, trash and cigarette smoke as well as particulate matter (PM) that come from smoke, fires, automobiles and dust. Both PAH’s and PM’s are known carcinogens and exposure to organs such as the lungs can be extremely dangerous. The particles are highly reactive toward biological surfaces like human skin and they have been proven to increase oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes skin to age prematurely, increase wrinkles, pigmentation and weaken the skin barrier.
Skin is our body’s first line of defence. It is important to keep the skin’s biological structure strong and healthy. A weakened skin barrier function is the primary cause of skin problems – from increased pore size to melanoma. Put simply, when exposure to environmental stress proves too much for the skin to take on, problems arise.
Maintaining skin barrier integrity is vital in polluted environments. This means avoidance of harsh treatments or products that strip the skin layers and taking a ‘less is more’ approach coupled with a committed cleansing regimen.
Karpati Skin Expert therapist Julie weighs in…
“The biggest risk we have this summer is the pollution and sun damage. My first piece of advice is to keep up with regular facials to maintain skin health. When skin is healthy, it is less vulnerable to the elements. Maintaining skin health decreases overall sensitivity and making the skin less prone to damage. Prevention is key. Starting with healthy skin makes it much more manageable.”
“The recent bush fires have diminished the air quality severely. The harmful pollutants not only slowly break down the skin barrier, the particles themselves become trapped in our pores, stretching their size. Add this to makeup and SPF and we have potential for serious pore congestion. The importance of properly cleaning your skin cannot be stressed enough.”
Julie recommends a ‘double cleanse’ by using a milk or foam cleanser first followed by a deep enzymatic cleanse to thoroughly capture the dirt, oil and pollutants.
“Enzymes attract the pollutants without stripping the skin or weakening the skin’s integrity. To see just how much dirt is on the skin, try the Marine Enzyme Peeling Gel which allows you to see the remains of the day captured in the gel as its worked over the skin – you’ll be amazed and shocked at the same time. ”
Adoption of a proper regular cleansing regimen post exposure to polluted air is vital. As is application of products that help strengthen the outer layers.
The Oxygen Plasma Fluid is a must have this season. The lightweight fluid contains Perfluorodecalin which is an oxygen hungry molecule. When applied to the skin, it draws oxygen atoms to it like a magnet and gives the skin a good dose of ‘oxygen therapy’ similar to the effects of a good hike in fresh air. Oxygenating the skin revitalizes the outer layer to reinforce its resilience, improving and strengthening the skin barrier.
The general rules we all know of keeping skin sun-safe by wearing a hat and glasses during the day in addition to SPF also apply. Adherence to this helps prevent pigmentation, sun damage and premature ageing. It is important to remember that many treatments for sun damage and pigmentation cannot be undertaken during summer, so prevention is really your saving grace.
Here Karpati Skin Expert Julie’s top skin saviors for our polluted Summer:-
- Karpati Marine Enzyme Cleansing Milk – Use as base cleanser to remove makeup
- Marine Enzyme Polishing Powder – Use every day, religiously to thoroughly clean skin from pollutants, SPF and oil
- Marine Enzyme Peeling Gel – A gel enzymatic cleanser / exfoliator that physically removes dead skin cells and pollutants
- Oxygen Plasma Fluid – Literally breathes fresh air into the skin
- Marine Stem Cell Repair Serum – Uses marine plant actives to protect and repair the skin from damage caused by environmental stress. Read more about the benefits of marine ingredients here
It is recommended to maintain skin health through regular deep cleansing facials. Skin is our first line of defense and its important it remains strong.
These bushfires have been a wake up call. We are now experiencing air quality that some cities around the world are used to. This is not good long term for the health of our planet and its people. A more mindful approach to how we look after ourselves and our environment moving forward is needed now more than ever.