Suffering from 'Commuter Face'? How city pollution is stressing your skin out
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.
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
a result, city folk live far more hectic lifestyles.
These persistent stress levels cause inflammation throughout the body and in the skin.
What's more, 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
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 ageing.
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
causing dullness and making
you increasingly prone to blemishes and breakouts.
6 ways to keep skin safe from pollution
Thankfully, there are ways to de-stress the skin and reduce the impact of pollution on your complexion, namely by optimising your skincare routine, 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 cleanse your face twice a day, with a double cleanse come 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.
3. Serum with moisturiser on top
In order to protect your skin from pollution before you've even stepped foot outside, apply a serum that's high in anti-pollutants and other active ingredients, followed by your preferred moisturiser — morning and night
, after cleansing and exfoliating. The serum and moisturiser will work together to protect your skin, lock in moisture and support your skin's natural protective barrier.
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.
5. Up your antioxidant intake to prevent cellular oxidation
The presence of free radicals — those pesky unstable molecules caused by cellular oxidation that we mentioned earlier — 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.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, oily fish, nuts and seeds and healthy omega-packed oils to your diet can 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 and that your skin needs repairing rather than protection, the LYMA Laser could be your new best friend. Including an oxygen-rich Active Mist and a Priming Serum, the LYMA Laser protocol 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.
When used together, the LYMA Supplement and LYMA Laser are the ultimate power couple, working in synergy to armour the skin against stress and pollution, and lessen the toll that city life can take on your appearance.