How can pollution affect your skin?
UV rays and pollution play a huge role in affecting our planet as well as our skin. While we’re doing our bit to help our planet, we can also help you protect your skin from the effects of pollution and daily environmental aggressors. Check out our top tips and expert insights to help you get your glow back.
What are the effects of pollution on the skin?
City goers listen up! Many types of pollutants are known to cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the term for when there’s an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants on the skin. This can lead to common skin problems such as:
Dryness & sensitivity
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have the ability to oxidize precious squalene within the skin’s protective barrier. This means your skin loses its ability to retain moisture, resulting in dryness and sensitivity.2
Premature skin ageing
The same oxidative stress can cause the skin to lose its elasticity and firmness which is your skin’s ‘plumpness’. This can then lead to premature ageing like fine lines and wrinkles.3
With squalene oxidized, your skin’s natural protective barrier is down. This doesn’t help when dirt, grime and oil accumulate on the skin, clogging up your pores and leading to blemishes forming.4
HOW TO HELP CLEAR SKIN & PROTECT AGAINST POLLUTION
Edelweiss Liquid Peel
Our Edelweiss Liquid Peel is something of a wonder. Now made with 95% ingredients of natural origin, including edelweiss extract, it helps gently remove impurities, lifting away dirt, dust and grime from the skin. Smooth a couple of pumps onto dry skin 2-3 times a week, then peel away the excess to help clear the way to a fresh-faced, luminous complexion.
Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate
Our bestselling Drops of Youth™ concentrate just got even better. Bottled with 99% natural-origin ingredients, it only takes a few drops of our Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate to leave skin looking smoother, fresher, stronger* and plumped with 24hr moisture. Better yet, this light, fast-absorbing serum forms an invisible veil over skin to help protect against indoor and outdoor pollution.
Our leading expert
We caught up with Kasia Tate, Global Head of Research & Development in Skincare and Makeup for The Body Shop, to talk through the complex world of pollution, environmental aggressors and the impact they have on our skin.
After obtaining an MSc in Organic Chemistry & Engineering from Krakow’s University of Technology, Kasia has developed skincare and makeup formulations for the past 17 years.
Below, she gives us an insight into how we can help protect our skin from the effects of pollution and daily environmental aggressors. She also shows us the routines and products she loves to help keep her skin feeling fresh, protected and healthy.
The different types of environmental aggressors
There are many different types of aggressors that can affect our skin. Here, we get the lowdown on air pollution, UV rays, and all the ways they can affect our skin. We’ve also got tips and tricks from Kasia Tate on how to help protect our skin from these daily aggressors. We hope you’ve got your learning hat on…
Kasia’s ultimate pollution protecting routine
What are uva & uvb rays?
UVA and UVB rays are ultraviolet rays that carry radiation from the sun to the earth. Though they’re not classed as a type of pollution, they can still have a negative impact on the skin. And although the two types come from the same sunny source, they actually have some key differences…
To start, UVA is around 95% of the sun’s UV rays whereas UVB is around 5%. UVA affects the inner skin cells in the top layer of the skin, including dermis. UVB, on the other hand, affects skin cells in the top layer of the skin. When it comes to getting a golden tan, we tan immediately under UVA rays but burn when we’re not careful. With UVB rays, there’s a delay in tanning, sunburn and blistering (but we still have to be super careful). The long-term effects are not too dissimilar, with both UVA and UVB rays often premature skin ageing and some skin cancers are common.
What effects do uva & uvb rays have on skin?
One of the most common causes of dark spots is said to be from spending too much time in the sun, either when it’s at its hottest (around midday) or for lengthy periods of time. (That explains why mom is always telling us to not stay in the sun for too long.)
Hyperpigmentation comes in the form of speckles, freckles and sometimes blemishes on the skin. If you’re experiencing new speckles, it could be from overexposure to UV. Luckily, we have tips for reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Like pollution, UV rays can weaken your skin’s natural moisture barrier, leading to dryness and premature skin ageing. Though ageing is natural (you know we love to celebrate it), it’s still important to keep skin protected and looking healthy.
*Skin that looks plump with moisture, with a smooth surface. Skin looks re-energised and refreshed. ** Blue light means light emitted from electronic devices. Our mist does not provide sun protection.
2 J.Krutmann, Wwi Liu, Li Li, Xiaochuan Pan, M.Crawford, G.Sore, S. Seite. Pollution and skin: From epidemiological and mechanical studies to clinical implications. J of Dermatological Science 76(2014)163-168.
3 M.E. Darvin, J.W. Fluhr, M.C.Meinke, L. Zastrow, W.Sterry. J. Lademann. Topical beta-carotene protects against infra-red-light induced free radicals. Royal College of Physicians 2011, volume 2, Issue 2.
4 D.-M.Pham, B.Boussouira, D.Moyal, Q.I.Nguyen. Oxidization of squalene, a human skin lipid: a new and reliable marker of environmental pollution studies. J of Cosmetic Science 2015, 37. 357-365.
5 Evan Austin, A.Huang, T.Adar, E.Wang, J.Jagdeo. Electronic device generated light increases reactive oxygen species in human Fibroblasts. Lasers in surgery and medicine, Wiley. February, 2018.
6 M.E. Darvin. Blue – Violet light irradiation dose dependently decreases carotenoids in human skin, which indicates the generation of free radicals. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2015, 579675.
7 User trial results over a 4-week period: 100 women aged 25-40.