Are you regularly exposed to electronic screens, heating, cleaning products or simply ‘fresh’ air?
These are the three main types of pollution that damage your skin causing it to age prematurely, become sensitive and appear dull. In this article, we explain why and provide some simple steps to help prevent this damage.
Three types of pollution
Every day our skin is subjected to over 300 sources of pollution. These pollutants can be broken down into three main categories which have a slightly different effect on the skin.
1. UV & HEV Pollution (Blue Light Rays)
Attacks all layers of the skin including DNA.
It’s commonly known that UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage by generating free radicals. However a new growing concern is that HEV Light (AKA Artificial Blue Light) from electronic screens and devices causes more damage than these two combined. It penetrates all the way down the the DNA of the skin cells which affects their regeneration and starves them of oxygen. Exposure to phones, laptops and television screens, in turn, causes premature lines and wrinkles and the skin appears dull, grey or pallid.
Solution: the cells needs regenerating and an oxygen boost.
2. Air Pollution
Attacks the skin’s deeper layers.
Toxic particles from pollutants such as smoke, acid and gas in the air are 20x smaller than our pores meaning they can easily penetrate deep into our skin. This clogs up the skin’s natural hydration process and it’s ability to produce collagen.
These toxins also cause the skin to appear dull. Gina Baker Germaine de Capuccini Skincare Expert explains; “it’s like a dirty window – when dirt gets stuck on it, natural blue light can no longer come through and it therefore looks grey. When our skin gets ‘dirty,’ it also appears dull or grey in tone and the light can no longer reflect out of it.
Solution: the skin needs to be detoxified and cleaned.
3. Domestic Pollution
Attacks the skins surface.
Heating, air conditioning, cleaning products and other household substances sit on the skin’s surface causing irritation and drawing out moisture which causes dehydration. They also damage the stratum corneum (skins protective barrier) which in turn allows the other pollution types to penetrate the skin more easily and makes the skin more sensitive – it’s a vicious circle.
Solution: strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
How to protect & repair the skin from pollution damage
Protect the skin
The best form of of attack is a good defence! Use a high factor SPF cream. Look for a light protective cream specifically designed for daily use on top of your moisturiser. This will offer much more effective, stronger and reliable protection.
Clean the skin
Cleansing morning and evening will help to get rid of the dirt or pollution on the skin’s surface. We’d also highly recommend weekly exfoliation with a gentle enzyme powder to effectively remove more stubborn pollutants that are lodged on the skin.
Oxygenate & detoxify the skin
We know HEV and UV light starves the cells of oxygen, therefore it needs to be replaced – it’s essential for maintaining younger and healthier skin. Oxygen can be contained within skincare products but it must be stabilised in order to do so. Make sure the ingredient is “encapsulated” to be sure its going to enter the skin effectively and work to detoxify the cells.
Repair the skin
Repairing the skin’s barrier function (stratum cornemn) provides a long term solution to pollution damage and sensitivity from irritating toxic particles. Products containing Niacinamide are a great place to start as it increases the production of ceramides which in turn strengthens the skin’s barrier function. Avoid products that contain astringents like alcohol, sulphates and witch hazel. These harsh ingredients strip the skin of its natural moisturiser which weakens it.
So you’re staring in the mirror one day wondering what’s happened. You don’t look like you did in your 20s or even your 30s and suddenly it hits you. It’s not wrinkles. Your skin has succumbed to the effects of gravity.
Like me, you are a ‘melter’ – and there are a few key signs that it might be time to invest in some specific at-home treatment products.
The most obvious sign for most people is your cheeks are starting to fold downwards, from the sides of your nose and mouth (known as the nasal-labial fold). Or it may be drooping eyelids and excess skin or bunching under the eyes. The other sign is an excess skin around the jawline.
What causes saggy skin – and can it be fixed?
Without getting too technical, as you age, your skin loses the collagen and elastin (your skin’s supportive connective tissue) that make it look soft, plump and youthful.
It’s probably a good time to mention that loss of elasticity is different to wrinkles and is treated differently. Sagging skin is best suited to specific ‘lifting’ products.
We can help fix lack of elasticity by rebuilding the density of the lower layer of the skin, which breaks down over time, and by replenishing the hyaluronic acid in the middle layer, which increases hydration and give skin back its springy texture.
I like to recommend the following products for clients to help restore sagging skin.
Hyaluronic Force Serum is always my go-to product. This powerhouse serum delivers hyaluronic acid to the dermis to improve and protect the structural fibres from breaking, as well as improving hydration to make the skin look plump and soft. It also fixes a range of other skin issues such as redness, irritation and open pore.
The best serum around for sagging skin is our Vector Lift serum – known as a face lift in a bottle. This product is enriched with V-Matrix, which immediately starts to rebuild the bottom layer of the skin, and smooths, lifts and redefines facial contours. People who used this serum reported up to 86% firmer skin in 30 days. I always recommend my clients use our Lift Supreme Definition moisturising cream for best results.
The GdC Supreme Definition Eye Contour cream is one of the only eye creams on the market to specifically target hooded eyes. Users reported a 77% increase in firmness in hooded eyes, and an improvement in bags and excess skin under the eyes. This eye cream comes with its own massager to allow you to increase the benefits of the eye cream, by doing under-eye drainage massage, or eyelid lifting techniques.
If you experience extra loose skin around your neck, which happens when the fat cells from our checks migrate to the area under our chin, our Firming Neck and Decolletage cream is formulated to help drain this area and firm the delicate skin of the décolletage and neck.
If you are still a little unsure about what products would suit your skin, book a virtual skin analysis with one of our qualified skin therapists. Between us we have over 100 years of skin experience and we would be more than happy to chat about how and why your skin is behaving the way it is, and what homecare would best suit you.