You’ve heard about free radicals in skincare, and how they damage and wreck havoc on your skin. Make note: good to know that a primary source of free radicals is from pollution. Recent studies show excess pollution is what damages the skin when overexposed by a high percentage: 39%. Thus, pollution is a leading cause to premature aging.
Here are 4 questions to ask, which are important to know in order to better understand pollution and its effects on your skin.
#1 Is the ozone good or bad?
First off, ozone is a colorless and highly reactive gas. There are two types of ozones that you need to know about. There is a good ozone, which is naturally occurring in the upper atmosphere of the Earth. This ozone layer, also called the stratosphere, is what protects us from the sun's UV rays.
Then there is a bad ozone, also known as the tropospheric ozone layer. This ozone layer is manmade at ground level, where we live and breathe.
#2 What is the bad ozone made of?
The bad ozone is made from pollutants emitted by refineries, cars, chemical plants, power plants and other such sources. This bad ozone is a carcinogen, which negatively affects all areas of your body, including accelerating the aging of your skin.
#3 Who is exposed to these pollutants?
These pollutants are more concentrated in urban areas where there’s a higher concentration of cars, power plants, and other similar emitting sources. However, the bad ozone can be present in rural areas as well due to winds carrying the pollutants from one geographic region to another. And we cannot discount household cleaning products and cigarette smoke either, which can be found in any home within any location. Pollution is simply everywhere, and more prevalent in some areas more than others.
#4 How do these pollutants effect the skin?
Here is one negative, hidden outcome of pollution: skin damage. Pollution damages cellular structure, namely protein and lipids, through oxidative stress in the stratum corneum. Studies also show pollution strips your skin of its natural antioxidants, notably Vitamin C and Vitamin E. We have learned how important antioxidants are in neutralizing free radical damage, thus, it’s a huge loss to have them stripped away.
Thus, prolonged exposure to pollutants in the air will cause inflammation that damage your skin on the outside, as well as on the inside. Result: fine lines, wrinkles, oily skin, a rough discolored skin texture and your skin becoming extra sensitive and more prone to skin disease.
We live in a day and age where we cannot hide from this bad ozone layer. Thus, the best option is to limit how much you are outside in more dense urban environments where pollution is more rampant. Also, take great care of your skin with diet and skincare products that you use to best combat pollution.
How has pollution affected your life? Is pollution noticeable in the area where you live? Let us know in the comment section below.