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A Polluted Face: How Pollution is Showing Up on Your Skin

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shutterstock_10925248   “One of the central factors that has been proven beyond any doubt to cause premature skin ageing is overexposure to UV radiation. However, other potential contributors to this process can include smog, pollution, cigarette smoke as well as other particulates in the air..” says Zoe Draelos, M.D., consulting professor of dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. We have heard it enough times to now maybe turn a deaf ear to it. Pollution affects our health very adversely. Studies now show that it is ageing our skin faster than ever before. Some studies show that it props us up to almost 25% higher risk of pigmentation and wrinkles. Some of the signs of pollution related skin problems are: Premature skin ageing Hyperpigmentation Age spots Wrinkles Extreme dryness Itching Redness

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pollution Just what is pollution!? Our environment is dense with oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other harmless natural gasses. With increasing traffic and industries there are effluents that get added to the mix. These effluents have various types of harmful gases and particulate materials that are extremely toxic. Scientific studies are now showing that pollution accelerates skin ageing by almost 20%! Some of the rogue pollutants are: 1. Quinones not only prematurely age the skin but they are also thought to be a driving force behind pigmentation. 2. Traffic effusion includes particles called PMs, Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and extremely damaging chemicals like Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). 3. Noise pollution. Seriously, this stuff ages me? Yes, and it damages. “We normally lose about 100-200 telomere bases with each cell division and when you add psychological stress to the formula, you lose the telomere bases more rapidly, and telomere shortening leads to premature ageing,” Dr. Draelos says. shutterstock_318281633 In a cyclical way: 1. These agents get absorbed into the skin and create internal inflammation. 2. Internal inflammation sets our body to respond by going into hyper active mode and over producing melanocytes or melanin that protects our skin from damage. 3. Over active melanocytes create more than needed pigment. Excessive pigment shows up as sun spots or melasma. 4. The absorption of these chemicals can also make our blood vessels grow resulting in facial redness and even rosacea. 5. As the skin fights back by getting into repair mode, it excites enzymes which re-adsorb damaged collagen. In chronic inflammation, these enzymes remove more collagen than what our skin can create. This makes the skin lose its laxity and fine wrinkles and lines become prominent. So, is there any hope?

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shutterstock_386664859 The answer is yes! It’s in a fight to help our skin fight back. 1. Cleanse: Don’t take your make up to bed! With your make up you are taking to bed a toxic soup of poisonous chemicals that will continue to damage your skin as you sleep. 2. Hydrate: Keep it hydrated! Our skin has a natural barrier that protects it from impurities. This barrier works best when its hydrated instead of dry. 3. Exfoliate: Spend a little more time twice a week! Exfoliation goes in deeper to clean the pores thoroughly as also encouraging skin to renew its skin cell barrier. A cautionary note though, over exfoliation can reverse damage your skin by stripping away the protective skin barrier. Exfoliation twice a week is considered a good practice. 4. Antioxidants: Eat for the skin! Antioxidants are your best defence against environmental stressors. Fruits, veggies, tea, and dark chocolate, cranberry oil, Acai berry, and vitamin E are all powerful antioxidants that help our skin fight back damage. 5. Protect: Use the darn sunscreen! Sunscreen protects your skin from sun and pollution too. Another reason to load up on a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Look for products that are rich in vitamin B3 or Niacinamide, it helps bolster skin to fight damage. Is there any good news left? Yes! Our skin is a pretty efficient filter of good versus bad. Given the levels of pollution, however, it has to fight back harder and sometimes the fight is just not good enough on its own. Won't you help it? Looking good and youthful is not a bad prize! Good skin care can be learnt and further bolstered with great homemade preservative free products. You can download the GrowFit app to get in touch with our experts for targeted skin care solutions.

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