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Pollution: you’re breathing in more than you think

Pollution: you're breathing in more than you think 

Don't let pollutants get under your skin

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Did you know: When we step outside, our faces are bombarded by almost 50 million particles in just 10 minutes?

All that smog, dust, traffic fumes and secondhand smoke aren’t just making it difficult to breathe, our skin is taking a big hit too.

What is pollution doing to my skin?

Pollutants contain free radicals — stray electrons that roam freely in our bodies, attaching to and destroying healthy cells. As pollutants are nasty, microscopic things — 20 times smaller than our pores — they can easily penetrate and stay in the deeper layers of skin. While the particles clog pores, the free radicals can cause skin irritations.

Oh no, what’s happening inside my skin?

Early surface symptoms include dryness and fine lines, which a good diet and skin care products can fix quickly. But you could also start to see acne, rashes, eczema and even dark spots, which require longer-term remedies. Why dark spots, you ask? Because the skin’s immediate defense is to produce more melanin, our skin’s pigment.

So, what can I do?

Sadly, there’s no avoiding pollution completely. But we must be prepared especially when pollution levels spike. On top of maintaining a regular twice-daily cleansing regimen, try to sneak in a third wash in the middle of the day, for example, after you’ve taken a walk outside for your lunch break.

What if I use makeup? This sounds too troublesome

This is a good time to hold back on cosmetics, which contribute to clogged pores. After the midday cleanse, apply a light moisturizer, and opt for a light dusting of loose powder if you really can’t do without makeup. Where possible, try limiting your exposure to congested areas by taking a trip out of the city to clearer, cleaner skies.