Updated: Aug 23, 2021
While battling an increasingly toxic atmosphere, consumers find more and more products that advertised to combat harmful particles associated with pollution in the store shelf. These products work by cleansing the skin from nanoparticles that are absorbed from the air or by creating a protective barrier that acts as a shield against pollutants. But just how effective are anti-pollution skincare products?
Why anti-pollution skin care?
Living in an urban city, you’re likely exposed to many types of pollution ― free radicals, UV exposure, exhaust fumes, Caltrain/Muni emissions and even the blue light from our digital devices are all part of the issue. The concept of anti-pollution skin care becomes more popular to address modern consumers' primary skincare concern.
So do anti-pollution products work?
The term anti-pollution has been slapped on many types of skin care products ― primers, serum, face creams, facial spritzes and many more. Though skin care routines can be an excellent way to protect our skin from pollution, that doesn’t necessarily mean an anti-pollution product is essential.
For instance, skin care products can be loaded with pollution-fighting ingredients without being labeled anti-pollution. Some of those ingredients include vitamin C and E, algae, niacinamide, ceramide 3, green tea, prebiotics, zinc oxide and other mineral barriers. If your skincare products are already includes them, you’re in good shape.
Among all, antioxidant serums and sunscreens are playing key roles on skin anti-pollution where many active ingredients can be found in serum products and sunscreens provide fundamental shield to segregate our skin surface with environmental pollutants.
Valerie George, a cosmetic chemist and co-host of The Beauty Brains podcast, finds many benefits in anti-pollution ingredients overall. “These products typically work by forming a protective film over the skin, which prevents pollution particulate from attaching directly to or penetrating into the skin. They also help reduce the signs of inflammation or stress on the skin, through the use of antioxidants, or restore the skin barrier.”
Indoor pollution is also a growing issue
Air quality indoors is another issue people often neglect when it comes to skincare. Indoor pollution comes from a variety of sources, from cooking and heating to cleaning products that off-gas into the environment, all of which can damage the health of your skin. With people battling pollution at every turn, there is little wonder that the anti-pollution skincare industry has grown so much over the past years.
Tips for choosing anti-pollution skincare products
While masks can remove pollutants in the short-term, leave-on products are the best way to combat micro-particles in the atmosphere. These types of products will protect you for longer durations of time and prevent your skin from coming into contact with harmful particles in the first place.
You can also look for products that contain high levels of probiotics. These chemicals can help build up the skin’s natural defenses and form a barrier against pollution-related skin issues. That is not to say that anti-pollution masks are not beneficial, but they do leave the skin open to future attacks.