When we can see, smell and feel the particulate matter in our air, as we are now experiencing in Northern California, we become more aware of the effects pollution has on our skin. Drier, grittier and dirtier skin have become more pronounced over the past week, especially among people spending time outside.
The skin’s primary function defends against impurities entering the body. Internal biochemical mechanisms are constantly repairing DNA coding that gets damaged from ultraviolet exposure, pollution and aging. It is very important to protect ourselves from extreme environmental stressors, so the repair system can keep up with damage control.
Many exfoliating treatments, aimed to reveal softer skin, remove protective dead cells on the corneum stratum leaving the skin feeling drier and more vulnerable to harmful environmental elements. So, while offering short-term aesthetic benefits, these treatments can potentially increase long-term disease-risk and accelerate premature aging. Use good judgement while engaging in this short list exfoliating treatments, especially during prolonged exposure to damaging environmental elements, such as air pollution and UV light:
Cleansers and moisturizers with glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid;
Treatments with vitamin A derivatives (tretinoin, retinol, and other "retin-" compounds);
Abrasive scrubs with rough particles and brushes;
In-office exfoliating treatments: chemical peels, dermaplaning, ablative laser facials.
Here is a short list of protective measures to take:
Avoid outdoor exposure when possible during severe pollution days and stop all forms of smoking.
Wear protective clothing.
Vitamin C serum (with at least 10% l-ascorbic acid) and other topical antioxidants.
Moisturizers with sunflower oil.
Pollution-protective sunscreens, in family of BB (Beauty Balm) and CC (Corrective Cream) products. Some lines identify pollution protection their product.
We extend our deepest sympathies to those experiencing losses during the traumatic events of the Tubbs and other California fires, and other catastrophic events beyond our borders.