The quality of the air we breathe depends on a precarious balance between the intensity of pollutant emissions and the process of their transformation and dispersion by the environment.
THE IMPACT OF POLLUTION ON OUR HEALTH AND SKIN IS BECOMING A REAL CONCERN
An increase in emissions or specific weather conditions can upset this balance. For example, anticyclones associated with light winds contribute to the creation of a warm air “lid”, preventing pollutant dispersion and encouraging their stagnation and accumulation. In the summer, sunshine and light winds help transform precursor pollutants into low level ozone.
Air pollution is not only harmful to health but also has a direct effect on our skin, which becomes irritated, dehydrated and more sensitive. Pores clog and the complexion loses its luster. The skin ages prematurely, due to the many free radicals generated by air pollutants.
Chemical air pollutants have a direct effect on our health and skin. They are mainly released by motor vehicles, industry and power plants.
FOCUS ON THE LEADING AIR POLLUTANTS
Particles are mainly released by industry and road traffic. They are airborne materials of different sizes and types (acids and chemical components). All particles smaller than 10 µm (called PM10) are considered dangerous.
Cities such as Beijing, Mexico City and Los Angeles regularly experience peaks of PM2.5 particulate pollution. Because particulate matter is up to 20 times smaller in diameter than pores (50 µm), this type of pollution is not visible and causes skin sensitivity and irritation..
O3 (low level or tropospheric ozone)
Ozone protects us from UV rays at high altitudes.
At lower altitudes, where we live and breathe, however, ozone is a pollutant that causes irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Ozone is also a superoxide that generates a number of highly carcinogenic free radicals.
This pollutant is not directly released into the atmosphere. It is produced through chemical reactions in the presence of precursor pollutants (VOCs, NOx, etc.) and when subject to solar radiation and UV light. This is referred to as photochemical smog.
Conditions conducive to ozone formation generally include high traffic, sunny weather and poor atmospheric circulation.
PRECURSOR AIR POLLUTANTS
NOx (nitrogen oxides)
NOx consist of a group of different oxidized nitrogen compounds such as monoxide, dioxide, and trioxide.
Nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are both pollutants highly characteristic of urban and industrial areas. They are mainly emitted by road traffic, individual and collective heating and tobacco smoke. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) more specifically is a suffocating gas that irritates the airways.
Responsible for acid rain, nitrogen oxides contribute to ozone depletion and increase the greenhouse effect.
VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Volatile organic compounds are organic chemicals originating from the domestic use of solvents, use of paints in manufacturing industries, and road traffic due to fuel evaporation through exhaust gas or fill-up at the pump.
They cause irritation to the eyes, throat and skin in addition to reducing our respiratory capacity. Some of these compounds are considered carcinogenic (benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, etc.).
SO2 (sulfur dioxide)
Mainly derived from industrial activities, SO2 impairs the skin barrier inducing irritation and cutaneous sensitivity..
It also irritates mucus membranes and the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth and throat).
CO (carbon monoxide)
Carbon monoxide mainly stems from car exhaust gas.
It is known to cause tissue hypoxia, which is the lack of oxygen in tissues resulting in a dull complexion, premature skin aging and skin dryness…
THE DERMINA SOLUTION
Fill up on antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which can block free radicals causing oxidative stress. You can use them in any delivery form: lotion, serum or cream. You can even eat them as they are also found in grapefruit, kiwi, nuts, fatty fish, etc.
Strengthen the skin barrier, which offers protection from external aggressions and reduces skin sensitivity by forming an impermeable shield. To maintain your skin’s integrity, moisturize daily and provide nutrients based on its level of dryness.
Soothe your skin weakened by pollution with specific anti-inflammatory ingredients that will help restore comfort.
Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreens labeled SPF30 and up. It is best to use mineral sun protection products with chemical filters, which are better tolerated by sensitive skin, and be sure to re-apply them regularly!
Enjoy a healthy lifestyle by adopting a well-balanced diet, drinking filtered water, not smoking, staying indoors during pollution peaks, etc.