How to Protect the Skin From City Pollution Damage Naturally

Suffering from 'Commuter Face'? How city pollution is stressing your skin out

7 Minute ReadHow To by Jessica Lacey

01.06.21 (Updated 12.07.23)

It's the heavy metal band that no one's a fan of. Pollution, carbon emissions and city smog are all detrimental to our overall health and well-being. But as well as impacting our immunity and increasing our susceptibility to illness, experts are increasingly being made aware of the damaging effects of pollution on our skin and of the major role it plays in premature ageing.

How does pollution harm skin?

The only thing that's positive about pollution is its atomic charge. Environmental stressors such as carbon and pollution are made up of positively charged ions which compromise the skin's essential barrier upon contact. This disruption of the skin barrier's function has a knock-on effect on skin health, increasing dehydration through trans-epidermal water loss and heightening skin sensitivity. High levels of pollution also compromise the skin's immunity, which in turn puts a strain on its regenerative and repair functions, often making it more susceptible to surface damage, inflammation and premature aging.

Pollution is an extrinsic aging factor that accelerates skin's formation of lines and wrinkles, as well as the degradation of collagen and elastin proteins. That's when our DNA comes into play because the body's gene expression keeps recalibrating according to what the body is exposed to. This chemical and biological reaction is called epigenetics and arguably the biggest focus in skincare right now.

Skin stress and the city

Research shows those who live in cities are 21% more likely to suffer from anxiety and psychological stress than their rural counterparts due to the cumulated effects of overcrowding, sleep disruption, and sensory overload. Cities are vibrant and ever-evolving and as a result, city folk live far more hectic lifestyles. These persistent stress levels cause inflammation throughout the body and in the skin.

Heightened stress levels within our bodies can accelerate the aging process too. “Though it's multifactorial and complicated, there's also good evidence to suggest that stress disorders create hormonal changes, having an effect on our overall health. So our behaviour can also affect the way that we age,” says Dr Graeme Glass MD PhD, Plastic Surgeon, Associate Professor of Surgery and Aesthetic Director of LYMA.

Add to that, the compositions of skin microbiomes differ between city and country folk. Those living in urban environments have been found to have a less diverse microbial community on their skin's surface than those living in rural settings because urbanisation reduces microbiological abundance and diversity. In short, what we're exposed to in our external environments, dictates the protective bacteria on our skin.

LYMA woman white suit nature

What does polluted skin look like?

Pollution can cause pores to appear blocked and blackheads to develop, but its impact goes far deeper than that. Pollution particles can be up to twenty times smaller than the pores themselves and are able to infiltrate deep into the epidermis, causing inflammation and dehydration. Skin can become dry and itchy, and the texture uneven. Over the years, skin that's stressed out by city living loses elasticity and firmness at a much faster rate.

Pollution accumulates in the skin over time, preventing the oxygen your skin cells need to produce energy from entering through the pores, causing dullness and making you increasingly prone to blemishes and breakouts.


Epigenetic skincare for pollution heavy skin

Solving polluted skin requires getting deep down into the dermis and understanding the science behind the root causes of aging. This mission is exactly why LYMA founder Lucy Goff decided to launch LYMA Skincare - the world's first two-step bioactive skin protocol proven to change 8 cellular aging mechanisms identified in skin.

LYMA Skincare contains an unprecedented potency of skincare actives that turns back the epigenetic clock to protect DNA function and prevent decay. Results show measurable and marked improvements in skin immunity, prolonged hydration at the deepest layers of skin, peaked levels of mitochondria and cell energy and even an optimised skin microbiome to that of a 22 year old. This is a gold standard formulation of patented actives that out performs every other skincare regimen on the market today.

6 ways to keep skin safe from pollution

De-stress the skin and reduce the impact of pollution on your complexion, by optimising your skincare routine to be the most anti-aging it can be, taking skin-boosting supplements and vitamins, and harnessing the regenerative power of at-home laser treatment to reinforce the skin's protective barrier.

Here's how to protect and repair stressed skin from the effects of city pollution damage:

1. Remove your makeup properly, and cleanse thoroughly every day

"Don't bring the streets to your sheets!" instructs A-List facialist Joanna Czech. Pollution particles can travel deep into the dermis, acting as free radicals, bumping into other molecules, and injuring healthy skin cells.

Ideally, you should double cleanse your face twice a day, morning and evening, to remove the accumulated dirt and pollution.

2. Exfoliate your skin regularly

Regular exfoliation, whether chemical or manual, is key to unclogging pores and removing dead skin cells. Exfoliating not only prevents pollutants, dirt, and bacteria from building up and seeping into the pores, which releases toxins and damages the lower layers of the epidermis, it also ensures that any antioxidant or anti-pollutant products you apply to your skin are well absorbed.

skin vitamin pills on white background

3. Adopt the ultimate anti-aging two-step skin protocol

  • Morning and evening, apply three pumps of LYMA Skincare Serum to double cleansed skin, using gentle circular motions. Ensure equal coverage across the face and neck. Leave for 30 seconds to ensure full absorption before applying LYMA Cream.

  • Apply three pumps of LYMA Cream using gentle circular motions until you see a visible white film. Leave for 60 seconds to allow the actives to penetrate. Massage into the skin using circular motions until fully absorbed.

4. Use sun protection every time you leave the house

UV rays are incredibly harmful to the skin, causing premature ageing and sunspots. As well as being heavily implicated in skin cancers, they also amplify the impact that pollutants have on the overall health and condition of your skin. Counteract the effects of UV rays by applying sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather. In addition to the topical variety, effective supplementation can also help the skin to better defend itself.

The LYMA Supplement contains Lycored Lycopene™ , a powerful technology-enhanced natural carotenoid which has been shown to help protect the skin from UV damage. The recommended daily dose of lycopene - equivalent to the 30mg present in LYMA - could reduce the likelihood of sunburn by as much as 50%.

The body is unable to manufacture lycopene itself, so supplementing is highly recommended. Lycored Lycopene™ has a wealth of benefits for overall health and beauty and, as formulated in LYMA, is the most potent strain of lycopene on the market.

skin tablet in red flower

5. Up your antioxidant intake to prevent cellular oxidation

The presence of free radicals — unstable molecules caused by cellular oxidation can accelerate the skin's natural ageing process. This process is known as inflammaging and can accelerate the development of fine lines and wrinkles as well as tired, dull and looking older skin.

LYMA Skincare contains Tego® the highest concentration of Betaine, that protects DNA function and prevents decay. Production of collagen, elastin, and ceramides is dramatically increased and the surface lipid layer radically improved. MitoPrime™ protects mitochondrial decline from environmental stressors and increases their numbers by 30%. Skin renewal is accelerated and wrinkle formation significantly reduced. PrimaHyal™ 50 Hyaluronic Acid floods all layers of skin and creates an anti-dehydration shield.

Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, oily fish, nuts and seeds and healthy omega-packed oils to your diet can also help to restore your skin barrier and promote the proliferation of healthy tissues, but for some, taking a supplement high in antioxidants might be a better option. One of the most exciting nutricosmetic ingredients right now, Cynatine® HNS is a highly bioavailable, active keratin and is included in the LYMA supplement's formula for its incredible beauty benefits and ability to obliterate free radicals. Supplementing with Cynatine® HNS has been shown to reverse the toll that pollution can take on your appearance, with clinical studies showing that a daily dose of 500mg/day over three months can improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails in as little as 90 days.

6. Consider at-home skin laser treatment

Because your skin is bombarded with pollutants every single day (this is especially true if you live in a city) your skin's natural barrier — the 'hydrolipidic film' in science parlay — can become worn down, increasing your skin's vulnerability, and increasing the chance of further damage.

If you fear that your skin's protective barrier has already been compromised, the LYMA Laser, alongside the oxygen-packed LYMA Mist & Glide skincare products, reactivates the mitochondria in the skin's cells by providing them with more energy. This restores the skin's ability to produce its own collagen and elastin, thus rejuvenating the skin and re-establishing the hydrolipidic film in the process.

The LYMA Supplement, LYMA Skincare and LYMA Laser are the ultimate skin health Ecosystem, working in synergy to armour the skin against stress and pollution, and lessen the toll that city life can take on your appearance.


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