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

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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
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    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: help fight the effects of
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  2. 2.  Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer
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    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, provides antioxidant
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  3. 3. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
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    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, while ferulic acid enhances
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  4. 4. REN Flash Defense Anti-Pollution Mist

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  5. 5. Supergoop SPF 50 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C
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    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
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  6. 6. Luzern Laboratories LA Defense Urban Protect Detox Masque
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    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.Key Ingredients: * Biodyne (Tissue Respiratory
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  7. 7. Tula Skincare Urban Defense Hydrating Mist

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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.