Here's How to Find Out Exactly What's Secretly Ruining Your Skin
You might diligently apply your SPF and retinols and even invest in regular facials, but most experts agree that if you're not factoring in your local air pollution, you could be overlooking a crucial part of your skincare regimen. It's simple science, really: Our epidermis (the fancy word for skin) absorbs much of what it's exposed to, and in our modern world, the air is packed with free radicals, the compounds associated most with ageing. This rings particularly true in urban environments that are brimming with vehicle and industrial exhaust, but even those who live out in the suburbs aren't totally immune. (Some argue that pollution is as impactful on the complexion as the sun and smoking, which is why it's unfortunate that not many people really talk about it.)
But in a trend that has long since found its footing in parts of Asia, skincare brands and dermatologists om the West are finally starting to address the impact of pollution on our skin, by way of new products and consumer education. Consider the latest project from Dermalogica: SkincarePollution.com allows you to see exactly which chemical compounds are impacting your skin, the extent to which they're accelerating the ageing process, and even a couple of thrown-in product recommendations—all based on your address.
This is what came up when I plugged in my home address this morning—a low number by Los Angeles standards, which I'm guessing is due to my home's proximity to the mountains and all the rain we've had lately. By scrolling down, I learned that in addition to motor exhaust, gas-powered heat is one of the main culprits of nitrogen dioxide—something to keep in mind as I wuss my way through the "chilly" L.A. winter nights.
When I turned it over to our NYC office in the heart of Manhattan, on the other hand…
It's significantly higher, though our senior editor, Hallie, notes that her Brooklyn address earns a kinder rating. [Editor's Note: Dermalogica's handy little bot works world-wide, so you can suss out skin ageing factors no matter where you live.] It's certainly worth playing around with it, if for no other reason than to educate yourself on the less obvious culprits behind advanced skin ageing.
Then, check out some of the best skincare products on the market for battling pollution—starting with a handful of our favourites below.
Ren Flash Defense Anti-Pollution ($61)
For convenient protection on the go, there's no better option than this lightweight face mist. It uses botanical extracts to create an actual barrier on your face—not that you'll notice it's there.
On that note, see the shocking results when one writer switched to an anti-pollution skincare routine.