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A solution for pollution

Published : 17 Oct 2019 04:30 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 03:32 AM

To recall, entry-level science: skin is the largest organ and the first line of contact with the environment. So even if you stay indoors, you are constantly in touch with the environment. A reason why, pollution has become the new bugbear for skin experts. From UV rays to blue light and air pollution, all factors create oxidative damage in the skin that breaks down collagen (responsible for skin elasticity) and damage the barrier function of the skin.

Dermatologists say that the dirt can enter your skin layers leading to pre-mature ageing. Pollution can cause increase in dry patches, spots, eczema and breakouts and tired, stressed-out skin because of its inability to breathe properly.

Ultra-violet (UV) rays are perhaps the most significant threat to skin. World Health Organisation (WHO) mentions that UV rays trigger the production of free radicals in the skin. In addition to sun rays, a new source of light too is a potential cause for skin damage: blue light that comes from our computer screens and phones. New research says that long-term exposure to this light can lead to premature ageing.

Smart skincare

Make wearing sunscreen the number one goal. Look for high SPF “mineral-based” sunscreens. To block blue light, go for a BB cream (tinted moisturiser) with SPF. And always reapply during the day.

Up your antioxidants: Antioxidants fight free radicals. Vitamin C works better with the addition of vitamin E. Look for formulations that combine the two. You can also use an antioxidant-based night cream to repair damage. Look for ingredients like resveratrol and glutathione.

Create a night routine: Wash up carefully before bed to wash off the daily buildup of dirt and grime. Use products that are hydrating. Cover your skin with a scarf or wear a mask to avoid the direct contact of air pollutants. Healthy diet and hydration fights toxins and improves micro circulation.

Now what is oxidative stress? Just as an apple turns brown when exposed to air, our cells can “rust” when we breathe due to oxidative stress, a process caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage or “oxidise” cells throughout the body in a process called oxidative stress.

It happens when the level of harmful free radicals present surpasses that of the “good guy” antioxidants.

Home fixes

Rub ice cubes: Makes pores tighter and decreases redness

Hello aloe: Take half cup of thick natural aloe vera juice and mix it with a few drops of tea-tree oil. Apply this mixture and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rose water also soothes irritated skin

Neem to the rescue: Take 1 tsp sandalwood powder, add some crushed neem and tulsi leaves. Add a pinch of turmeric and make a pack with water. Keep it for 15 minutes    —TOI