Diwali fireworks and crop burning have pushed pollution in Delhi to a dangerous level, the worst in the last ten years. It is not just threatening the planet, it is deadly for our skin too. Pollution is the second most harmful aggression to the skin after the sun and can add years on to you. Smog, dirt, and dust, when combined with UV rays, can obstruct collagen production by generating free radicals that reduce oxygen in skin cells. Free radicals are unstable molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and some serious ailments. The polluted air enters the skin and destroys the moisture level, which makes the skin dry and patchy, giving you dark spots and blemishes. It can lead to acne, rough patches, wrinkles and give skin a dull and gray appearance. Pollution is an unavoidable fact of life. It is very unlikely to avoid it unless you live in the Himalayas. However, with some tips, you can protect your skin from pollution and keep your skin glowing, nourished and healthy-
Cleansing - Cleansing is the basic part of any skin care routine, it helps remove everyday accumulated impurities, pore-clogging oil, pollutants, and dirt from the epidermis. It will help prevent clogging of impurities over our face and make it look fresh and glowing. Go for a cleanser with salicylic acid if your skin is oily, use any mild cleanser with fewer chemicals if you have sensitive skin and use a creamy facial cleanser if you have a very dry skin.
Apply Toner - Apply a toner after cleansing to maintain your pH balance and reinstate your skin to its naturally acidic condition. It will hydrate your skin, removes any remaining debris and help prepare your skin for the next skin care products.
Exfoliation - Exfoliate twice or thrice a week to remove air pollutants from your skin. It will help others skin care products including serums and moisturizers to penetrate easily. Remember to use mineral water as chlorine in tap water can have bad effects on your skin.
Stay Hydrated - Water is one of the best defense to combat pollution and help flush out toxins. It hydrates the skin, improves skin’s elasticity, improves circulation and generates cell growth. Filter your drinking water to eradicate chlorine and other toxins to shield your skin from the effects of water pollution.
Moisturize - Your skin cells need to stay moist in order to be healthy, but moisture is lost and skin cells no longer make up a strong protective barrier due to pollution. A good moisturizer hydrates the skin and creates the barrier between your skin and pollutants. Opt for an antioxidant ingredients and enriching vitamins like A, C, and E to help fight free-radical.
Avoid Chlorine Exposure - Long exposure to chlorine can cause a serious agitation to the skin and lungs. During the long shower, heat opens your pores which allow the chlorine to penetrate deeper into the skin taking away essential oils and causing it to dry. It can lead to wrinkles and fine lines.
Sunscreen - The shrinking ozone layer results in augmented UV exposure, which means a higher rate of melanoma. Hence, it is really important to apply sunscreen every day to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and ozone.
Remove makeup- When you are out in pollution, the dirt and dust sticks over the makeup, which needs to be cleansed for skin protection.
Antioxidants - Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage and free radical activity in the body. Consume antioxidant-rich foods such as leafy greens, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and tomatoes for a healthy skin.
Omega 3 Acids - Essential fatty acids (EFAs) improve your skin tone from the inside and help to develop lipid-based cell membranes. It protects the skin from polluting agents and harmful UV rays. You can find them in spinach, walnuts, kidney beans, sardines, oysters, trout, and salmon.
Don’t Smoke - Smoking is a major source of free radicals, which cause the skin to wrinkle prematurely. It damages collagen and elastin, which are responsible for giving skin its elasticity and dramatically speeds up the aging process.
Use Foundation - Apply foundation on your skin to block the amount of pollutant particles that can penetrate into your skin and cause skin damage.
Eye cream- The skin around our eyes is 40% thinner than the skin on the rest of our face. So, use predominantly formulated eye creams and serums for skin around your eyes.
Avoid Touching Face - Wash your hand whenever you touch your face as your hands might be dirty.
Always wear a scarf to protect your face from pollution. You can also visit a dermatologist, he will help you find suitable products to coat your skin with a protective layer to combat the damage caused by toxins.
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