Top Ten

Pollution-Proof Your Skin: 7 Products That Will Shield Your Skin From Pollution

Woman in yellow top and holding sunglasses

There’s just something inexplicably magical about looking out at the cityscape as the sun is about to set. That is, until you realize that the orange-tinged horizon is actually filtered with smog and that toxic chemicals regularly mingle in the air you breathe. We all know the devastating effects of pollution to the environment and to our health, but one thing we may not be aware of is that aside from our lungs, another organ that bears the brunt of the harmful effects of pollution is our skin.

In a 2017 study, experts found that aside from ultraviolet radiation, pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (chemicals that are released when burning coal, gasoline, trash or tobacco), volatile organic compounds (present in paints, coatings and car exhausts, among others), oxides, particulate matter, ozone and cigarette smoke cause significant damage to the skin—our body’s largest organ and outermost barrier. These pollutants cause premature skin aging and conditions like acne, psoriasis and skin cancers to allergies and pigmentation. Pollution also heightens the dangers of free radicals, which disrupt collagen production and destroy the skin’s natural barrier.

“Air pollution consists of gas and particulate contaminants that are present in the atmosphere,” explains Heather Hickman of Dermalogica. “These pollutants come from a variety of sources and can lead to inflammation and can result in hyperpigmentation, degradation of collagen that makes up the structural components of the skin, dehydration and increased sensitivity to the skin—a phenomenon called inflammaging.”

“Like ultraviolet and infrared light, pollution or ground-level ozone induces oxidative stress, damaging cellular structures—proteins and lipids—in the stratum corneum,” adds Nicole Akers of SkinCeuticals. “But more than that, existing research also suggests that ozone depletes natural antioxidants on the skin, such as vitamins C and E. As we know, antioxidants neutralize free-radical damage and oxidation that lead to collagen and other protein damage. With depleted levels of antioxidants, skin is less able to defend itself from environmental aggression.”

But if you think you’re safe just because you live in a rural area or the suburbs, think again. According to NASA, almost 80 percent of the world’s population breathes polluted air. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the harsh effects of pollution. And with the rise of skin care products that specifically counter and neutralize the impact of pollutants, damage-proofing your skin is not as daunting as you think.

To help you get optimum protection for your skin, we’ve rounded up our top picks for products that provide the best defense against pollution.

  1. 1. Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant
    Buy now with Dermstore

    1. Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant

    Protect your skin against environmental pollutants with Dermalogica’s Daily Superfoliant. This powerful resurfacer is optimal for daily use, unveiling smoother and more purified skin. Active ingredients like enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids travel deep into the pores to flush out harmful pollutants that lead to premature aging.Key Ingredients: * Activated Binchotan Charcoal: absorbs environmental pollutants and purifies the skin * Niacinamide, Red Algae and Tara Fruit Extract

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2.  Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer
    Buy now with Dermstore

    2. Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer

    Achieve a nourished, hydrated and glowing complexion with Sunday Riley C.E.O Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream (formerly C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer). Featuring a powerful blend of lime pearl extract and exopolysaccharides, this deeply hydrating moisturizer works to protect skin against pollution, revealing brighter-looking skin.Key Ingredients: * Vitamin C (5% THD Ascorbate): prevents and repairs the visible signs of premature skin aging, while being significantly less irritating than other forms of vitamin C, brightens the appearance of the skin

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
    Buy now with Dermstore

    3. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

    SkinCeuticals’ Phloretin CF provides powerful antioxidant protection to normal, oily and combination skin types. Designed for daytime use, this antioxidant serum neutralizes free radicals to prevent signs of accelerated skin aging. The blend of phloretin, pure vitamin C and Ferulic acid improve the appearance of discoloration, fine lines and uneven skin tone. Phloretin neutralizes damaging free radicals, improves cell turnover and lightens signs of discoloration. L-ascorbic acid protects your skin from oxidative stress while providing visible anti-aging benefits, too.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. 4. PCA SKIN Daily Defense Mist
    Buy now with Dermstore

    4. PCA SKIN Daily Defense Mist

    Perfect to safeguard skin on the go or throughout the day, Daily Defense Mist from PCA Skin helps protect skin in the fight against daily environmental stressors – including blue light and other pollutants. Providing an invisible shield over your everyday skin and/or cosmetic base, each misting harnesses the power of Taraxacum Officianale (Dandelion) Extract to limit inflammation and Marrubium Vulgare Extract to neutralise free radicals and block the penetration of pollutants. With Jania Rubens Extract to strengthen collagen network and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice to softens and hydrate, each misting is a spa treatment for skin.

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. 5. Supergoop SPF 50 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C
    Buy now with Dermstore

    5. Supergoop SPF 50 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C

    Play Antioxidant Mist SPF 50 from Supergoop!® is a non-aerosol, water-resistant spray that provides a continuous mist of broad-spectrum UVA protection for wet or dry skin. It’s the easiest, most refreshing way to apply (and reapply) your SPF during a full day of fun in the sun.Key Ingredients: * Vitamin C: a stable form of vitamin C is easily absorbed and helps counteract free radical damage * Green Tea Extract: naturally rich in antioxidant polyphenols that protect the skin from the damaging effect of free radicals * Açai Extract: a good source of vitamins A, C and E, and omega 3,6 and 6

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. 6. Luzern Laboratories LA Defense Urban Protect Detox Masque
    Buy now with Dermstore

    6. Luzern Laboratories LA Defense Urban Protect Detox Masque

    La Defense Urban Protect Detox Masque by Luzern Laboratories is a luxuriously thick and intensely moisturizing version of the original Crème Luxe. Bathe your skin in this ultra-rich, super hydrating edition of Force De Vie Crème Luxe, the anti-aging crème moisturizer that has inspired a cult following. Force De Vie, meaning life force, delivers a powerful daily dose of oxygen, Co-Q10, vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid and bio-suisse extracts in combination with natural moisture factors. Skin appears firmer, fresher, dewy and more radiant-looking.

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. 7. Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist
    Buy now with Dermstore

    7. Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist

    After that much needed cleanse at the end of the day, a spritz of Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist provides the comfort needed for tired, dull and dry skin. Infused with naturally-derived, super humectant hyaluronic acid to a base of organic pure rosewater, coconut water and hibiscus extract, this cult beauty buy is a must to instantly soften a stressed out derma. Apply to clean skin or to pep up make up throughout the day. Key ingredients: *Hibiscus Flower Petals support cellular turnover with rich citric and malic acids *Witch Hazel reduces inflammation *Rose Extract protects against free-radical damage *Aloe Vera naturally moisturizes skin

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Reporter

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for a good pair of hiking shoes and skip hotels to camp under the stars. She loves horror movies, googling ingredients in her beauty products and backpacking trips with her toddler. Her newfound obsession: nude lipstick.