We all know environmental pollution is cause for alarm. Poor air quality, smog and smoke are linked to a whole host of scary things, from premature aging to cancer. Pollution causes oxidative stress to the skin, which breaks down collagen and causes damage to your cells’ DNA. Over time, this causes wrinkles and skin cancer. Yikes! Ready to pack it all in and high-tail it to the fresh-aired countryside? Not so fast! A few slight tweaks to your skincare routine can protect you from damaging pollution and free radicals. Now you can live it up in smoggy L.A. and look like you’ve been posted up in the Swiss Alps! Read on for the Bless guide to pollution defense skincare.
Our most important tip? Cleansing both day and night! Especially if you live in a smoggy city like me, double-cleansing at the end of the day is sooo important. Double cleansing is the K-Beauty cleansing method for clear, glass-like skin. To double-cleanse, I first cleanse my skin with an oil-based cleanser to remove all my makeup and larger particles of dirt and grime, and then follow up with a gentle water-based cleanser.
If you’re not using a toner after you cleanse, your skin is experiencing major F.O.M.O.. Toner balances your skin and preps it for the next steps in your skincare routine (serums, essences, moisturizers and SPF). Toner also removes the very last traces of makeup from your skin, and whisks away dead skin cells. The result? A gorgeous, glowing complexion. I’ve been using the Georgette Klinger Vitamin C Toner (included in the May Bless Box) and I’m hooked!
The Antioxidant Serum
I’m a big fan of Chanel’s La Solution 10 – its packed with free-radical fighting silver needle tea extract. We know it works, because it was tested during the peak air pollution in Beijing! Study participants’ skin found their skin soothed, defended and protected beautifully. Other honorable mentions: Dior’s One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum that protects against UV rays, stress and pollution. It targets 100% of bother outdoor toxins (such as micro-particles and heavy metals) and indoor toxins (such as carpet, glue, and varnishes). Another favorite is Lancome’s Advanced Genifique Sensitive Serum which calms stressed skin and protects against pollution, infrared radiation and UVA rays for visibly healthier, more glowing skin. Grown Alchemist’s unique Detox Serum Antioxidant+3 Complex targets oxygen, carbon and nitrogen free radicals. For a vegan-friendly option, I love the Chantecaille Anti-Pollution Finishing Essence.
The Antioxidant Sunscreen
We all know sunscreen is probably the single most important thing you can do for your skin. One of the best sunscreens for pollution defense is the Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA ++++. This ultralight 100% mineral sunscreen protects against the sun’s rays. Plus, it blocks pollution, blue light from electronic devices and infrared radiation. Plus, the vitamin C helps brighten skin, correct tone and boost radiance. On a budget? Aveeno’s Absolutely Ageless Leave-On Day Face Mask Lotion SPF 30 is a fabulous pollution-fighting moisturizer with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. The best part? The price tag is under twenty bucks.
The Eye Cream
The sensitive skin around our eyes needs extra T.L.C., and the Origins A Perfect World SPF 20 Age-Defense Eye Cream with White Tea is a specially-formulated anti-aging, antioxidant-rich eye cream that prevents premature signs of aging and protects eyes from UV rays and pollution. The formula combines 100% mineral SPF and antioxidant-boosting white tea.
The Antioxidant Mist
Skin mists are super easy to use, and reapply throughout the day. I alternate between two favorite antioxidant mists. The first is the REN Clean Skincare Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, which shields and protects skin from free radicals and environmental pollution. Bonus: Use this as a makeup setting spray! The second is the Oskia Citylife Facial Mist that instantly hydrates, brightens, refreshes and protects against indoor and outdoor pollution as well as free radical damage.
The Face Mask
No skincare roundup is complete without a face mask or two! My all-time favorite mask is the Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Mask from Kiehl’s. This protective and replenishing overnight facial mask is made with antioxidant-rich orange extract and protective cilantro extract. These super ingredients help strengthen the skin’s barrier to keep in the skin’s essential nutrients depleted by pollution damage. Another great antioxidant mask is the Matcha Antioxidant Face Mask by Plant Apothecary. Made with organic, fair trade matcha tea, this powder mask helps reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. Mix this mask yourself to reach your desired consistency!