Have you ever wondered what triggered your last full blown breakout? It’s possible that the culprit was the mixture of microscopic particles, toxic chemicals and reactive molecules found in common air pollution. Although concerns about air pollution have historically focused on the harm it can do to vital organs including our lungs and heart, recently scientists and skin care gurus have become equally concerned about the harm pollution does to our most exposed organ, our skin. In fact, the most visible impact of air pollution, the damage caused to skin, has been a focus of scientific research during the past two decades.
This post is the first in a three part series shedding light on the effects of pollution on human skin and how to counteract those effects. Today’s post focuses on a common component in air pollution called particulate matter (PM). Our next two posts will focus on the damage done by highly reactive particles called free radicals and ground level ozone.
Living with Particulate Matter
A mixture of microscopic particles are released into the atmosphere every second from fires, power plants, construction activities and vehicles. In the State of the Air 2017, the American Lung Association reported that 78 million tons of pollution was emitted into the atmosphere in the United States during 2016.
Surprisingly, the real threat often doesn’t come from the particles themselves. It comes from the chemicals that find a way to attach to the particles. Urban dust contains a cocktail of 224 toxic chemicals – from polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to pesticides and heavy metals. And, while some of the particles of pollution are too large to penetrate skin themselves, many of these chemicals attached to them are not.
When the countless nanoparticles land on skin, they don’t just sit on the surface. The microscopic size of the particles allows them to easily penetrate the skin’s pores causing inflammation, the body’s natural reaction to foreign objects. The particles not only clog pores, they can also lead to the same sort of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots that are the result of too much sun exposure.
This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to wash your face at the end of every day. We recommend using a gentle cleanser like Previse Purify ZeroFragrance Marine Cleanser to remove the majority tiny harmful particles along with dirt, sweat and makeup without stripping your skins’ key oils. Consider using a gentle exfoliating scrub like our Marine Granules Exfoliating Mousse to purify pores and remove grime and dead skin from your face at least once or twice a week.
Click here for more information about safe, effective skin care from Previse.