Beauty / Top 5

What’s the deal with anti-pollution skincare?

From smog hanging over built up cities to the smoke that lingers inside your home – approximately 91 per cent of the world’s population lives in situations where air quality levels exceed WHO (World Health Organisation) limits. Air quality is linked closely to the Earth’s climate, and majority of the drivers of air pollution (e.g. fossil fuels) are also the sources of high CO2 emissions that are killing our planet. So, it’s a “win-win” strategy to reduce air pollution, for both our health and health of the planet we live on. 

But exactly what pollutants are out to get our skin? Unfortunately, it’s most of them – but some of the worst offenders are found in industrial smog, which hold particulate matter (PM2.5). This causes major damage to the skin’s barrier function, leading to hyper-pigmentation, premature aging and worsening skin conditions.

Second only to the aggressor that is UV rays, air pollution is the next worst environmental hazard for your skin. And with the climate crisis in full effect, many brands have been releasing targeted anti-pollution skincare products. While governments continue to debate what to do about the climate crisis; we look into what we can do to get a head-start on protecting our complexions.

The ideal anti-pollution product aims to strengthen the skin’s barrier, moisturise, neutralise toxic heavy metals and provide strong antioxidants to protect skin cells from free radicals (unstable molecules that lead to a loss of collagen). Antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, play an important role in blocking the formation of those pesky free radicals that damage cells and lead to premature aging; while moisture-binding ingredients like hyaluronic acid locks out airborne pollutants.

If the idea of finding the right anti-pollution skincare feels a little overwhelming, fear not. We’ve rounded up the products to know.

BARBARA STURM Anti-pollution Drops
Mix a drop or two of this lightweight serum into your favourite moisturiser to protect your skin from city smog, and even the blue light from your phone too.

LIXIR SKIN Vitamin C Paste
This mask is specially designed to boost your skins vitamin C levels every morning. Leave on for five minutes then wash away for skin that’s ready to face the day.

DRUNK ELEPHANT D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops - $55.00
The name’s a mouthful but the product is simple: drop this in your morning moisturiser to keep your skin looking bronzed while keeping the pollutants away.

This is serum will give your skin a shot of vitamin C to protect against free radicals, as well as ginger root to make sure those pesky pollutants stay at bay.

NARS Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50
This over-achieving primer from Nars ticks all the boxes. It creates the perfect base for makeup application, while simultaneously protecting you with SPF50 and blocking free radicals.