Writer and expert /
Living in a city has its perks, but there are also hidden downfalls, especially if you’re concerned about skin ageing. Pollution is an undeniably real thing in most of the world’s cities, due to constant emissions from cars, machinery and other typical city staples. As a result, anti-pollution skincare is a bigger market than ever.
Whether you’re in Melbourne or Mumbai, Wellington or Washington, keeping the skin protected against pollutants is an incredibly important, non-negotiable step in your routine. It’s time to shield that gorgeous skin against the side effects of living in a city — they’re more serious than they may seem. Keep on reading to discover the anti-pollution skincare essentials you can work into your daily regimen right now.
There are a few ingredients to keep an eye out for when you’re choosing anti-pollution skincare. These include essential vitamins and minerals in addition to SPF and other known protectants. Here are some must-have ingredients that’ll be well-received additions to your routine:
Anti-pollution skincare is definitely on the rise, and cleansers for this purpose in particular are dominating the beauty world. When choosing a cleanser to fend off the elements, it’s important you choose something that reaches deeply into the pores to remove dust, dirt and other environmental byproducts that may have snaked their way in there throughout the day. Double cleansing is also a great practice to get into if you live in a city, as this ensures the skin is really clear and that no nasties are trapped.
Go for the Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm if you’ve got normal to dry skin, making it the first step in your double cleansing routine. The balm consistency cuts through dirt and day-to-day grime to reveal clearer pores. Then, simply go in with your favourite gel or cream cleanser to deliver any additional benefits you’re after. Oilier skin types will love the brand’s OG PreCleanse, which takes the form of an emulsion to trap oils without over-drying.
If double cleansing wasn’t enough, perhaps it’s time to go in with an exfoliant to really help slough away at any leftover pollutants on the skin. Whether you opt for a true scrub with gritty particles or a chemical exfoliant that can simply be swiped across the face, these will reinforce the effects of your anti-pollution cleanser if they incorporate the right ingredients.
One key facet of anti-pollution skincare is that it’s inherently anti-ageing, so the Dermalogica AGESmart range is ideal for protecting the skin. The Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant has been lauded for being a pollution routine must-have, as it relies on activated binchotan charcoal to absorb leftover residue from free radicals or pollutive particles. It’s also a uniquely fun product that you’ll enjoy using daily — try it out for yourself!
Mists are an ideal way to refresh made-up skin as the day goes on, guaranteeing the complexion stays protected against pollutants even as your SPF loses efficacy. These are must-haves to keep on your desk at work — simply spritz before you head out on your break to prevent sneaky free radical or UV damage.
The WEI Golden Root Multi-Action Anti-Pollution Mist is a fantastic addition to any desk beauty supply or purse stash, as it’s enriched with Vitamin C-packed lemon extract to ensure protection against the elements. Developed using the best botanical extracts inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine, this mist refreshes the skin with zero nasties involved.
Other favourites include the Skinstitut Multi-Active Mist, a go-to for mature skin, and the NIOD Superoxide Dimustase Saccharide Mist, which has anti-pollution benefits for sensitive or younger skin types.
A good serum is essential to any skincare lover’s arsenal, but is even more integral when you’re facing pollution on a daily basis. Simply apply after toning and before your moisturiser or any heavier creams to lock in a whole slew of benefits.
Deliver concentrated Vitamin C to the skin with the Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum with Grape Seed, which uses a combination of innovative technology and effective plant extracts to create an effective formula. Not only will this product protect the skin against free radical damage, but it’ll also work to keep the complexion supple, elastic and free of fine lines and wrinkles.
Another serum we adore for protecting the skin is The Ordinary EUK 134 Serum 0.1%, which features unique ingredient EUK in a low yet effective concentration to ward off a whole list of pollutants. Smoke, UV light, free radicals and more are no match against this serum, which neutralises all activity before it penetrates the skin. And before you ask — yep, that really does say $14.70…
Finally, don’t forget to apply your moisturiser as the final step in your skincare routine. We recommend picking up two different moisturiser formulas to really maximise protective potential — one for daytime wear that includes a quality SPF, and another for night that works to repair the skin’s barrier.
For during the day, we can’t go past the Skinstitut Age Defence SPF50+, which is ideal for absolutely any skin type. It’s lightweight, non-greasy and broad spectrum, meaning it covers all the bases and won’t irritate underlying conditions or exacerbate greasiness. Plus, it hydrates to the max, ensuring the skin stays soft and plump as it should. However, if you have an all-time favourite moisturiser, use it — just make sure it’s got adequate SPF protection, or that you supplement by following up with facial sunscreen!
Nighttime presents the perfect opportunity to repair the skin, as these natural processes are accelerated as we sleep. Fortify the skin restoration process with a moisturiser such as the Dermalogica Ultracalming Barrier Repair. If your skin has been exposed to damage from free radicals, the sun or pollutants, this product will work hard to repair it, fixing up those holes in your skin’s barrier. It also works as a shield during the day, so you can layer it with your SPF post-toning. Did we mention it’s a godsend for sensitive skin?
Will you be picking up any of our anti-pollution skincare essentials? Let us know your must-haves for battling the elements over on Facebook or Twitter.
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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