What does pollution do to the skin?
In Asia, it’s currently the worst enemy for the skin, as well as the eyes, the lungs and even the heart. It is microscopic, yet it can do big damage. What are we talking about? Fine dust (also known as particulate matter or micro dust). Fine dust is a result of air pollution. It is a mixture of solid particles and liquid drops. Some particles such as dust and smoke are large and can be seen with the naked eye. Other particles are very small and can only be seen under a microscope. These microscopic particles are lipophilic – meaning, they dissolve in oil and can therefore penetrate through the outer layers of the skin. Once these nasty particles are under the skin, they can alter and weaken the skin barrier. A weakened barrier in turn, makes the deeper layers of the skin vulnerable. There, the particles can cause pigmentation, wrinkling, inflammation and other unwanted damage. In short, air pollution does not do any good for your skin.
How do Asians deal with pollution?
Asians were much more aware of the link between pollution and damage to their skin. After all, pollution is a serious problem in many major Asian cities. The sight of people wearing protective masks on the streets and on public transport is quite normal there. Due to these circumstances, there are many more care products on Asian shelves with an anti-pollution claim. Especially in China, such products are widely used. Korea and Japan soon also jumped on that anti-pollution skincare trend. How do such anti-pollution products look like? Many of them are facial cleansers that promise to effectively remove pollutants from the skin. There are also many primers, BB creams and moisturizers in Korea that claim to protect against harm from pollution. Often, the products are combined with a high SPF (sun protection factor) to additionally protect the skin from the sun.
How does it look in Europe/America?
Europeans and Americans do not (yet) see a great need for anti-pollution products in their routine. But that can change soon. Because nowadays, a few anti-pollution products are also found on the shelves of our drugstores. You can also find anti-pollution products if you look for alternative keywords like: skin defence, city protection or urban shield. Since air pollution is not as serious as in Asia here, you don’t have to switch to an entire anti-pollution routine. However, if you’re visiting a city like Seoul or New York, one or two anti-pollution products won’t hurt. What’s your take on this skincare trend?