Anti pollution has been an area of buzz in the cosmetic industry for a few years now, it sounds like an honourable pursuit but what does it really mean? For those of us that live in towns and cities the effects on our skin from the nasties in the air around us can be profound. Things like free radicals, particulates and other organic compounds arising from pollution interact with our skin to interfere with the normal processes occurring, and the natural defences it’s able to put up. Without trying to sound too dramatic, the potential effects can include anything from dry, inflamed skin, to oily skin with acne problems. Over time it can cause changes in skin tone, and a lack of elasticity and firmness, and could essentially prematurely age your skin due to this combination of factors. Even the sun can be classed as a pollutant when discussing this due to the UV and free radical interactions it causes with our skin.
So what can be done to limit these potential negative effects? A good cleansing and moisturising regime is an excellent starting point, particularly after a day of exposure. Using an exfoliating product (look for one containing glycollic or salicylic acid) 2-3 times per week will cleanse your skin of dead cells, clear pores and stimulate your bodies own regeneration properties. Charcoal, due to its crazy abilities of absorption is being used heavily now in face wash products also to help combat build up of toxins on the skin. Using a cleanser and toner will help clean and calm your skin, but be careful of alcohol based products if you suffer from dry or sensitive skin, a glycol base will be better for you.
Increasingly however formulators are creating products to apply in the morning to give your skin an extra layer of defence during the day, to help keep out all the bad stuff and keep your skin happier as a result. There are lots of ways to add in anti pollution to a product, such as the ability to remove pollutants, form a protective layer, or improve the natural barrier or to contain lots on anti oxidants to name a few. I’ve picked out 3 examples that I believe do an excellent job of doing so, each using a different set of active ingredients and approach to help protect your precious skin.
Ren Flash Defence
First up is a product from Ren, not specifically aimed at men (i.e. women can use it too!) but the whole branding and aesthetic of the brand I’m a big fan of and I wouldn’t be self conscious getting this out at the office. This product is designed very specifically for anti-pollution, to be applied when you feel in need of some extra protection as a mist, so is quickly and easily absorbed into the skin.
Biosaccharide Gum – forms a physical, non occlusive (still allows the skin to breathe) layer on the skin to block out organic compounds and particulates in the air.
Zinc & Manganese Amino Acids – key constituents in the skin naturally, they add into the natural processes and defences of the skin.
Sophora Japonica – a source of quercetin, for which there is evidence of naturally stimulating the skins natural anti-oxidising properties.
I like this product due to it’s simplicity while using several very interesting ingredients for anti-pollution, and would be great to have in your bag to apply during the day.
Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense SPF 15
Secondly we have a product from Lab Series, one of the leading male specific brands. This is designed to be your morning moisturiser, that adds in extra features to protect your skin during the day, mainly focusing on protection against anti-oxidants and the sun. This isn’t a cheap product (RRP £44) however the benefits do stack up.
Ethyl Bisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride – this is a synthetic version of 2 enzymes renowned as powerful antioxidants. This will also reduce redness, while protecting against UV-A which leads to premature ageing.
Saccharomyes Lycate & Birch Bark Extracts – 2 powerful natural anti-oxidants.
Skin Conditioning Agents – too many to list but it’s chock full of skin moisturisers and emollients to act as your morning moisturiser as well.
A kind of all in one morning moisturiser, sun cream and anti pollution product Lab Series have created an absolute gem. While the price tag may be high, the formulation backs it up, and really is a case of you get what you pay for.
Ultrasun SPF 50+ Anti Pollution Face Fluid
Finally we have an option from Ultrasun, known for creating high end sun protection products this one uses a clever natural active ingredient to give some extra benefits to your skin also, while also delivering SPF 50 against the sun. This one is definitely not one for those looking for a tanned look, as it gives both excellent protection from the sun, and the actives are also used for skin brightening and lightening. This is however excellent for evening out skin tone, and for battling things like dark spots.
Sulfora White – made from Swiss garden cress sprouts it has anti oxidant properties, but the really special thing is that it inhibits melanin formation, the production of which gives our skin it’s tan and darker colour.
Pollustop – Forms a film on the skins surface to block out forms of pollution such as particulates and chemicals, while also being non-occlusive so allowing the skin to breathe.
While not for everyone this product will successfully battle some of the more visible long term effects of pollution, and protect against further damage in the future.