How Pollution Affects Your Skin and What You Can Do About it

woman holding face

Published: June 15, 2024

woman holding face

If you’ve done any skincare shopping lately, chances are that you’ve noticed an increasing number of anti-pollution products on the shelves. This has, naturally, led people to wonder about how pollution actually affects their skin – is the impact of pollution really so bad that specialized skincare products are now needed?

Yes and no. There’s no doubt about the fact that pollution causes serious damage to the skin, so much so that it needs to be a major consideration when putting together a skincare routine. However, dedicated anti-pollution products aren’t necessarily the answer – there are plenty of other products out there that can also help to safeguard and repair your complexion.

Ready to find out more? Read on as Avinichi explains the various ways in which pollution can harm your skin, along with what you can do about this.

What is Pollution?

Pollution refers to harmful materials, aka pollutants, being introduced into the environment. It’s an increasingly common problem in today’s modern world, which is why environmentalists have been trying to bring attention to the issue for years now. The world has now reached the point where pollution is pretty much impossible to avoid. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 99% of the global population is regularly exposed to pollution levels that exceed safety limits.

Where does all of this pollution come from? Human activity is primarily to blame, although there are also natural sources of pollutants out there. Some of the biggest contributors to skin-harming pollutants are:

  • Particulate matter, meaning tiny specks of dirt, soot, smoke, dust, and debris
  • Fossil fuels
  • Solvents, such as paint
  • Heavy metals
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pesticides and other similar chemicals

Although many countries are now making efforts to reduce the amount of pollution they’re creating, many would say that this is too little, too late. Whether those various measures make a notable difference is yet to be established but, in the meantime, you need to take control when it comes to preventing all of the pollution that surrounds you from wreaking havoc on your skin.

How Does Pollution Affect Your Skin?

What exactly does pollution do to your skin? Here are just a few of the ways in which it can impact your complexion:

Damages the Skin’s Protective Barrier

Your skin’s protective barrier forms a shield between your skin and the world around it. It prevents pollutants from entering your skin while keeping moisture trapped in. Unfortunately, exposure to high levels of pollution compromises the skin barrier. It leaves it weaker – unable to perform in the way that it should. 

This leads to two major concerns. Firstly, moisture retention suffers. With the skin barrier being weaker, it won’t be able to lock in moisture in the same way. Instead, it will allow that precious water to evaporate, leaving the skin dehydrated.

A compromised skin barrier also won’t be able to block out environmental impurities. Pollutants and other particles will enter your skin at a much greater rate. This then leads to inflammation and inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and acne.

What Can You Do About This?

mousse cleanser

The best way to prevent pollutants from causing too much damage to your skin barrier is by ensuring that they don’t have access to your skin for too long. How? By cleansing your skin twice a day.

Your evening cleanse is most important. This is when you’ll be able to clear away all of the pollutants that have settled onto your skin over the course of the day. If you live in a particularly polluted area, you may want to dry double cleansing. This involves using both an oil-based and a water-based cleanser, giving you a deeper and more thorough cleanse.

Either way, even if you live in a smoggy city, don’t be tempted to use an overly potent cleanser. With your skin barrier already having so much to deal with, you need to be gentle with it. Look for sulfate-free formulas that will cleanse without causing further damage to that vital barrier, such as the Avinichi Noni Mousse Cleanser. 

Moisturizing is also essential if you want to keep your skin barrier feeling fortified and safe. A moisturizer will form a barrier of its own over your skin’s surface. Although this won’t work in quite the same way as your skin’s natural barrier, it’s still an extra physical layer in between your skin and the pollutants around it.

One moisturizer that’s fantastic for countering the visible effects of pollution is the Avinichi Noni Night Repair Cream. Thanks to its plant butters and oils, it’s a rich formula that leaves the skin barrier feeling fully supported. It’s also packed with antioxidants, which, as you’ll find out later, are also vital when it comes to preventing pollution from ruining your complexion.

Clogs Up Pores and Triggers Acne Breakouts

Pollution is detrimental for all skin types, but those with oily skin often find themselves particularly frustrated with it. Why? Because it can make that greasiness so much worse. In fact, one study found that people who live in metropolitan areas have oilier skin than those who live in less polluted areas. 

All of this extra oil that the skin produces needs to go somewhere, meaning that the pores soon end up filled with it. The fact that pollutants are also sticking to this oil doesn’t help. It doesn’t take long for this dangerous combination of clogged pores and inflammation to trigger an acne breakout.

What Can You Do About This?

Noni Polishing Peel

The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to keep your pores clog-free. The first is to regularly cleanse your skin using a gentle cleanser. However, don’t go overboard and cleanse more than twice a day as this will only further disrupt your skin barrier, which can make oiliness even worse.

With that said, twice-daily cleansing often won’t be enough for those with oily skin who live in polluted areas. This is where exfoliation comes in. An exfoliator works on a deeper level of the complexion than a cleanser. This enables it to tackle any debris that has collected in the pores, effectively removing blockages. The Noni Polishing Peel from Avinichi is perfect for this. It combines chemical and physical exfoliants in a way that works beautifully to exfoliate the skin without causing any damage.

Of course, clogged pores are only one part of the battle. Inflammation is also a huge acne trigger and it’s exacerbated by pollution. Fortunately, there are plenty of skincare products out there designed to soothe the feeling of inflammation. Look for ingredients that are known for their complexion-calming properties, such as chamomile and aloe vera.

You’ll find both of those ingredients in the Noni Pore Purifying Toner from Avinichi. Thanks to the addition of witch hazel extract, it leaves the pores feeling clarified too. This ingredient is great for de-greasing the complexion in the long run while keeping the skin feeling balanced.

Accelerates Skin Aging

Nobody wants to look older than their years, yet this is exactly what pollution will do to you. The more exposure to pollution your skin experiences, the faster its protein fibers will deteriorate. These fibers essentially hold your skin up from within, giving it volume and smoothness. As they break down, the skin’s structure breaks down with it. This results in wrinkles and sagging, so much so that some experts estimate that up to 90% of premature aging can be attributed to pollution.

Of course, aging isn’t only about wrinkles and loose skin. Dark spots can make a person look older too, with these often referred to as age spots. While the sun’s UV rays usually receive most of the blame when it comes to the appearance of discoloration, pollution is also a big culprit. The free radical damage that it causes sends melanin production into overdrive. With the skin now producing more melanin than it actually needs, dark spots quickly appear.

The skin barrier damage that we discussed earlier doesn’t help either. Inflammation goes hand-in-hand with aging. Dehydration accelerates this even more too. Without enough moisture, protein production slows even further while the skin loses its radiance, turning dull and lackluster instead.

What Can You Do About This?

Hydrating Multifruit C-Serum

If you’re worried about pollution aging your complexion, there are a few things that you can do. Firstly, follow all of the advice that we’ve shared above so far. Keep your skin clean, regularly exfoliate, and never fail to moisturize. 

It would also be worth making sure that your skincare routine is chockfull of antioxidants. When it comes to preventing and countering the appearance of free radical damage, antioxidants are true superstars. Serums are a great way to ramp up the number of antioxidants you’re giving to your skin, with these lightweight formulas capable of holding onto high concentrations of these potent compounds. The Hydrating Multifruit C-Serum would be a great choice – it’s brimming with a long list of much-loved antioxidants!

The Avinichi Liquid Lift Overnight Melting Mask would also be an excellent addition to your skincare routine. Again, it’s loaded with antioxidants. They come from a concentrated blend of superfruit extracts, including goji berry, acai berry, pomegranate, and bilberry. This mask also contains sodium hyaluronate and squalane. Both ingredients are known for being incredibly hydrating while also leaving the skin barrier feeling boosted. Again, both can be hugely beneficial when it comes to reducing the visible effects of pollution.

Do You Really Need to Be Worried About Pollution?

Is pollution really something that you need to worry about, on top of all of the other skincare knowledge you need to remember? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Pollution is now a major problem all over the world and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While you could ignore it, you won’t be able to turn a blind eye to its effects on your complexion. Chances are that you can already see some of the ways in which pollution has harmed your skin. 

The good news is that a comprehensive skincare routine can help to keep your complexion safe. Follow the tips that we’ve shared above and not only will you be able to restore the glow that you had before pollution started taking a toll, but you’ll also be able to retain that radiance for many more years to come!

Click here to enhance your skincare routine with more bestselling products from Avinichi.

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