How Pollution and Urban Lifestyle Affect Our Skin

Pollution has sadly become an integral part of today’s big city life. This ended up damaging our bodies both inside and out, and that also includes the epidermis. Even with our skin acting as a natural barrier, prolonged exposure will eventually wear its guard down and inflict damage on it in the long run.

This is why a specialized care regimen based around the best organic makeup brands and a regular cleansing and moisturizing routine is essential if you live in a big city and you have to carry out your daily life with smog and other unpleasant buildups. And by far the ones that are most affected by this are major Asian settlements.

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Although Jakarta isn’t one of the most polluted Asian cities by any means, the fact that a big part of its population relies on their personal car as a means of transportation contributes to high pollution levels all around the city limits. Unfortunately, looking in at a smog-shrouded urban settlement from its outer regions has become a common sight nowadays.

But until a massive change takes place, it’s important that we learn how pollution affects our bodies both inside and out. Once we possess this knowledge, we will be better equipped to find more adequate means of protection.

The Effects of Pollution

Research shows that the major air pollutants which have negative effects on the skin are ultraviolet radiation (UVR), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cigarette smoke, ozone, oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). The latter is the most closely monitored by world governments to determine pollution levels in major cities.

All these factors contribute to the development of epidermal afflictions such as acne, premature aging, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and even skin cancer. Similar studies have uncovered how each of the aforementioned pollutants contributes to these conditions by means of oxidative stress inflicted by free radicals.

UVR is responsible mostly for skin cancer, while cigarette smoke proliferates acne, eczema, and psoriasis, as well as premature aging in the form of spots and wrinkles. Oxides are associated with the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in both adults and children, and ozone can cause urticaria and other nonspecific eruptions. And the list goes on.

Protecting Your Complexion

1.      Wear Sunscreen

As mentioned above, UV rays are one of the main aggressors of the skin. There are two types which affect it, namely UVA and UVB. While the former ages the skin, the latter causes sunburn, which is something everyone who’s laid in the sun a bit too long is familiar with. However, something that we tend to forget is that these can lead to skin cancer in the long run.

Fortunately, the best line of defense against this affliction is readily available in stores, and it comes in the form of sunscreen. Although no variety will ever protect you 100% against UVR, it helps filter out most of it, which keeps your skin from absorbing it. This maintains it safe and healthy, which is crucial in this day and age.

2.      Moisturize Daily

Dehydrated skin is far more prone to aging, flaking, rashes, sunburn and just about any other affliction you might think of. This is why moisturizing it daily is essential, especially if you’re past a certain age. While teenagers can get away with less, when you’re well into your 20s and 30s, you need to start taking better care of your complexion.

Some ointments, creams, and lotions even come with an additional SPF factor which will serve as an extra layer of protection together with your sunscreen. Just remember that the values don’t add up. So, if you’re using a sunscreen with SPF 30 and a moisturizer with 15, you won’t end up with a total of SPF 45, but rather still of 30.

One important aspect is to choose a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin type. Dry skin and oily skin have different necessities, and so do a combination and even normal skin types. Furthermore, if your complexion is particularly sensitive, you also need to be wary of certain ingredients that might irritate it and avoid it.

3.      Exfoliate Biweekly

When the skin on your face and body gets exposed to polluting agents daily, some of them end up sticking to it and burrowing into your pores as well. This is why a proper exfoliating regimen is as important as all the other parts of your routine. Use a gentler formula on your complexion, and something more abrasive on the arms, legs and any other areas that need it.

Doing this twice a week brings in just the right amount of rejuvenation and cleanses the skin of any impurities and harmful substances. Nevertheless, doing it any more often than that can lead to irritation and rashes, which is why you need to practice this in moderation.

Editor's Note: This informative and interesting guest post (not sponsored or paid) was written by Freelance Writer Mike and contains links to Websites/sources not affiliated with nor necessarily endorsed by "Self Sufficient Me."  

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