It wouldn’t surprise most of us to learn that we are being exposed to environmental pollution all of the time. Cars, trains, buses, factories, sky rise output, chemicals - you name it it’s adding to the pollution. But have you considered what this is doing to your skin?
Whats causing the damage?
Pollutants are dangerous because of their size. At roughly 20 times smaller than the pores on your skin, damaging particles easily penetrate your skins natural barriers where they can start an oxidation process.
In an attempt to rid itself of these harmful environmental toxins our skin reacts by producing free radicals. However, this response has long term negative effects on our skin. In the article “Aging in a Polluted World” by Dr. Zoe Draelos, she explains this free radical reaction ultimately damages our collagen layer. Our skins natural production of Vitamin E is also diminished. This leads to a higher risk of wrinkles, hyper pigmentation and even skin cancer.
How to help?
Like most things, preventative measures are far more important than treating the damage later. Luckily, its not too difficult to remove these particles and reverse your skins free radical production.
My two favorite osmosis products are both high in antioxidant fighting ingredients.
Rescue Serum This epidermal repair serum is perfect for combating the stresses acquired through environmental pollution.
Calm A vitamin A based serum, this product calms (duh) reduces inflammation and helps to build your skins natural protection against free radical damage.
The most important things to look for in sunscreens are spf 30 or higher and a broad spectrum designation. My absolute favorite brand of sunscreen is Image, they even have an anti pollution sunscreen! Search for local spas that sell the line to pick some up.
Neutrogena Oil Free Broad Spectrum spf 35 is my favorite drug store brand
* I use Osmosis products in my practice. I will usually recommend Osmosis products because I believe they are some of the best skin care products around and I am well educated in the line. However, I will always try to include drug store alternatives and I will never recommend a product I don't explicitly believe in.
We have all experienced the brutal effects of cold, dry air on our skins. Last January I wrote a post with some easy tips to help minimize some of the damage. You can read that post here.
But today I want to talk about one product that will help to ease the pain of winter skin - AmLactin. This lotion is my jam and I honestly don't think my dry skin would be able to handle DC winters without it. (Side note - I'm originally from Florida and DC is the farthest north I've ever lived. I know for some of you these winters are a cake walk but for me, 23 degrees and snowy is about as cold as I'm interested in)
Ok, back to AmLactin. There are a few different formulations but as the name would suggest, they all contain lactic acid as their main active ingredient. Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid which means it does two important things: the acid gently disolves your dull, dry, dead skin and it creates a moisture bond to your skin - essentially binding moisturizers to your skin so that it is harder to escape.
What are some cold weather products that you can't live without? Leave them in the comment section!