Delhi overtook Beijing to be the most polluted city last year. The skyrocketing pollution figures have raised health warnings and have prompted the Delhi government to take drastic steps such as shutting schools down and proposing the odd-even car policy.
With all the talk about how pollution can affect your health, it is also important to understand how it affects our skin and what steps can we take to deal with it.
Pollution can cause uneven skin tone, accelerated ageing and may even cause skin cancer in patients.
How does Pollution affect your Skin
Delhi’s particulate matter has been in the news recently for being the highest in the world by a fair margin and exceeding the WHO air quality guidelines by almost 20 times! This matter is made of many microscopic specks of smoke, soot, acid, dust and other pollutants that have been released in the environment. These tiny particles (Sometimes 20 times smaller than our skin pores) can penetrate our skin and literally poke holes/injure the internal collagen layers of the skin thus causing inflammation, dehydration and premature ageing.
How to Minimize the affects of pollution
Step One: Regular Cleansing
It is important to remove the film of potentially harmful pollutants along with the dirt and sweat that sticks to our skin. The aim should be to get rid of everything without too much scrubbing, drying or irritation that can exacerbate conditions like Acne. Regularly washing the face with a mild exfoliating Face wash is recommended along with the use of a mild cleanser. Follow it up with a toner before going off to sleep. This will remove the layer of impurities on the skin and balance the PH level of the Skin.
Step Two: Target Free Radicals
Pollution can cause free radicals to form when it gets inside the body. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that have unpaired electrons that leads them to steal electrons from healthy cells, causing DNA damage and cell mutation, which can lead to cancer. They rob the skin of its elasticity and are responsible for hyper-pigmentation and fine-lines. Anti-Oxidants neutralize free radicals by donating an electron when needed. Found in foods such Green Tea, leafy green vegetables, blueberries and beans, Antioxidants can play a powerful role in the ability of the skin to repair itself.
Step Three: Create Barriers
Pollution also causes the depletion of the Ozone layer that leads to more exposure to UV rays. UV rays can act as accelerants and aggravate skin damage such as hyperpigmentation and inflammation. Regular Application of a sunscreen is recommended to create a barrier between the skin and UV rays. Choose a sunscreen with Anti-Oxidants to most effectively combat Pollution.
Lets hope that Delhi overcomes this dire situation sooner than later. In the meantime, follow these tips to have healthy skin.