The term “anti-pollution skincare” started cropping up in the industry around 2016 and has since gained traction throughout 2017 & 2018. Many beauty brands have launched targeted solutions which address anti-pollution or environmental-damage concerns.
The rise of anti-pollution skincare can be attributed to 2 main factors – Increased salience of climate change in developed countries, and locally observed environmental changes in lesser developed regions of the world.
A 2015 Yale study found that more than 90% of the public in North America, Europe, and Japan are aware of climate change. However, in lesser developed regions, many directly observe changes in local weather patterns and air quality. In both situations, people generally accept that human-caused climate change does have an impact on themselves and their families.
Many skincare brands have moved into developing new or rebranding/modifying existing products for “anti-pollution” because of the growing demand from consumers who are looking for such solutions, combined with the opportunity in the market to play up the negative impacts of pollution on skin to sell such products.
The truth of the matter is, consumers have no need to purchase specialized skincare to specifically target “anti-pollution” concerns. In fact, if you have been using a well-formulated skincare routine you’re most likely already doing the best you can for your skin! A good skincare routine should be assembled to suit your skin type and target your specific skin concerns such as acne, wrinkles, dehydration, etc.
Antioxidants to The Rescue!
You may not be aware, but, the best type of anti-pollutants are antioxidants. The good news is that they’re already present in many skincare formulations today! Antioxidants are really THE anti-aging heroes - working to reduce wrinkles, sensitivity, and uneven skin tone, amongst other things. They fight against pollution and environmental damage from the very moment you use it, and long-term use will guarantee to impress.
Take it with a grain of salt, however, when skincare companies try to sell or market a certain type of antioxidant (or ingredient really) as ‘the best’, because the answer to which antioxidant is the best, is a non-existent one. There are a wide range of antioxidants, and comparative research is still limited with regards to this topic. Understand that while there certainly are many good antioxidants, skincare formulation is also more complicated than just mixing a bunch of “good” antioxidants or ingredients together.
That being said, there are some proven antioxidants available in skincare products today which you can look out for. These potent and stable antioxidants are Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid), Resveratrol, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), and Green Tea.
Always Cleanse Well
The truth is that air-borne pollutants are not immediately damaging. If you’re already wearing makeup, or a layer of product on your skin, the presence of that physical barrier can offer some protection against particulate matter. So, good cleansing practices should be followed to remove harmful particles and makeup at the end of the day.
The key step is to choose a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your face of its natural oils which acts as a natural barrier for the skin. If after cleansing, your skin feels tight, dry, or has that cooling, fresh feeling, then you may be using an irritating cleanser or over cleansing.
We recommend cleansing your face twice a day – once in the morning and again at night before you go to bed.
A Bigger Threat Than Pollution?
Pollution can vary by region, and the time of year (think Haze). But one thing which is relatively constant in our lives is sun exposure. Even if it’s cloudy, or you’re indoors, UV light can penetrate clouds and windows to damage your skin and even deeper cellular damage. That’s why we’re such big proponents of sunscreen. Sun damage has real and well-researched effects on skin – premature aging and skin cancer, to say the least.
Especially in equatorial regions like Singapore, which has one of the highest UV Indexes globally, sunscreen is extremely essential. There are so many great formulations available in the market today, even antioxidant-packed ones with additional anti-aging and anti-pollution benefits. Choose one that’s suitable for your skin, and remember, the best sunscreen is one which you’ll love wearing every day!