How environmental aggressors can damage your skin (and what you can do about it), according to this beauty writer

How environmental aggressors can damage your skin (and what you can do about it), according to this beauty writer

Jasmine Wicks Stephens
From UVA and UVB rays to the city dust clogging your pores, your skin doesn’t have it easy. Free radicals are constantly compromising its protective barrier, generating the loss of collagen and elastin (read: loss of plumpness and glow) and speeding up the appearance of early signs of ageing. The good news is that you can boost your complexion’s protective barrier and ensure it gets enough TLC to regenerate itself - how? Keep reading.

How to protect your skin with sun protection

Let’s start with the obvious: UV rays. UVA and UVB are two sun-emitted types of radiation accounting for as much as 80% of pre-mature skin ageing. Sun exposure takes away your skin’s bounciness and is the main cause behind hyper-pigmentation (‘sun spots’). By damaging the collagen and elastin fibres in your skin, UV rays can induce the early appearance of lines and wrinkles and cause blotchiness - an absolute glow killer!

To protect your skin, a daily dose of SPF should be a no-brainer, and the higher the factor, the better - even when indoors (UVA rays can penetrate through glass, so windows won’t save you). If you’re an avid make-up wearer, pick a lightweight formula so your foundation doesn’t slide and slip. There are lots of clever, water-like formulations to choose from that are undetectable on the skin and won’t cause break-outs, even on the most sensitive of complexions. Vitamin C is a wonder ingredient that you can incorporate into your morning routine; when paired with SPF, experts say it can increase its efficacy, not to mention it fights free radicals and conquers sun-induced dullness. To look after sun-exposed skin, incorporate anti-oxidant rich products and mild exfoliators into your evening skincare routine - they will help soothe, brighten and revitalise, boosting your skin’s ability to regenerate itself. You can try trusty Tired faace to help you tackle sunshine-disturbed skin; the cocktail of vitamin C, soothing aloe vera and natural vitamin A derivatives will help to restore your complexion’s luminosity and maintain its elasticity.

Screen face syndrome is real

If you thought the sun was your only enemy, we regret to inform you that blue light (AKA the light emitted by the devices you use daily) isn’t very forgiving on your skin either. Responsible for potential loss of elasticity, pigmentation and inflammation, blue light can penetrate even deeper into your skin than UV rays. Four eight-hour workdays spent in front of your screen can be as harmful for your complexion as 20 minutes spent in the mid-day sun, Dr. Murad told Harper's Bazaar. The answer? Look for SPFs that also shield the skin from all sources of visible light and focus on building an anti-pollution skincare regime. To show digitally-disturbed skin some love, opt for pigmentation fighters and soothing ingredients to help reduce inflammation. Topical antioxidants have proven to be game changers in this case too as they are said to mildly counteract the damaging effects, whilst exfoliating formulas can help boost cell turnover and prevent pigmentation. To conquer inflammation induced by blue light, you could treat your skin to a little session of Period faace; the green tea extract will help calm down any redness and the hyaluronic acid will work to restore your skin’s plumpness.

Four eight-hour workdays spent in front of your screen can be as harmful for your complexion as 20 minutes spent in the mid-day sun

How to protect your skin from pollution and city nasties

Your skin comes in contact with nanoparticles of dust and dirt on a daily basis, especially if you live in a big city and are spending time in the garden. Add in traffic fumes and the grime your skin accumulates every day, and you’ve got yourself a very disturbed complexion that is (very likely) craving a good scrub. Nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide are just a few from the cocktail of pollution-generated nasties that break down your skin’s barrier and clog your pores, causing breakouts, irritation and premature ageing. Whilst moving to the quiet countryside would be the best solution, there are ways you can combat ‘city skin’: cleanse morning and evening to buff away dullness, add an exfoliating toner into your routine and treat your skin to trusty antioxidants, as they are proven to fight free radicals. When you’re in need of a pick-me-up, pop on Sweaty faace for a comforting pollution fighter; a blend of lightweight oils will deeply nourish any irritated complexions, vitamin C and grapefruit will help rejuvenate and calm inflammation and the incorporated galbanum will act like a mild revitalising toner.

Air con - not so cool on skin

With summer around the corner, one of our skin’s most dreaded enemies is ready to attack: Air-Con. Whilst keeping cool feels like an essential, your parched skin won’t be too thankful. Prolonged AC exposure is known to dehydrate your complexion and make it prone to a handful of issues associated with dryness, including eczema and rosacea (which, if you suffer from already, are bound to become a right pain). Air-Cons tend to reduce humidity by pulling moisture from the air, causing your skin to dry out when exposed to this environment and potentially induce flakiness and itchiness. Being in a dry environment will cause your skin to decrease oil production, which inevitably results in a drier complexion. On a positive note, the situation is easy to tackle: try and switch to milder cleansers as summer approaches to ensure you don’t strip down your skin’s protective barrier. And, the more obvious solution, slather your skin in a richer moisturiser when you know you’ll be in an AC-powered environment to maintain its hydration. To rebalance the oils in your skin, you could give Period faace a try; with zinc to regulate sebum production and hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture, this mask will allow you to show parched skin some love.

Maria Bita, beauty writer @imariabita

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