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5 Very Good Reasons Why We're Prioritising Anti-Pollution Skincare

And why you should care too.

It is common knowledge that when living in an urban jungle like Singapore, we are constantly exposed to hidden airborne pollutants that can affect our skin negatively. Although the effects are not immediate, it can cause our skin to deteriorate in the long run if no action is taken. Our skin will begin to lose its radiance as pollutants form a coat that envelops our complexion, causing it to darken. And when skin is blocked by a layer of harmful particles, pores will get easily clogged, leading to congestion and unwanted breakouts. Additionally, airborne toxins slow down collagen production, causing a loss of elasticity, as well as roughen skin texture and causing wrinkles.

Our solution? Incorporating anti-pollution products to your skincare regime. And if you are still unsure of what exactly anti-pollution skincare is, we’ll break it down for you.

#1: It is not just your sunscreen that has anti-pollution properties

Sunscreens no longer just protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Most of them come equipped with anti-pollution properties to protect your skin whenever you are out and about. But here’s the deal: There are also other skincare — and even makeup — products that have incorporated anti-pollution properties to protect skin.

#2: They are mostly antioxidant-rich

And why is that so? Well basically, antioxidants have the power to fend off free radical damage that come from pollution and UV rays, which may potentially worsen our skin health. Our skin cells are capable of producing antioxidants; however, as we age, the production of antioxidants deplete. And when this happens, our skin is not able to protect itself from pollution, resulting in a poor complexion. Thus, anti-pollution products are mostly packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients to allow our skin to better fight for itself.

#3: Thus, helping to strengthen our skin’s barrier

When we have a balanced diet and exercise regime, our health improves drastically. Similarly, when our skin barrier function is strengthened, our skin is better able to fight, fend and protect itself. We are less prone to damage from pollution as our skin is fortified with the right nutrients to function optimally. Therefore, the negative skin effects are reduced.

#4: Some even act as a shield

There are a bunch of products that, instead of strengthening the skin, protect the skin by forming an invisible layer to prevent harmful particles and pollutants from coming in contact with the skin. But what is really important is to properly cleanse at the end of the day to thoroughly remove the protective layer. If it remains on the skin, it may lead to congestion, clogged pores and the formation of acne.

#5: They should also come with hydrating and/or soothing properties

When skin is dehydrated, free radicals are able to enter the skin through cracks and other damage. And since pollution can cause irritation and redness, it is key to have ingredients that help soothe and calm the complexion, such as centella asiatica and panthenol.

Above, our list of effective anti-pollution products to try.

Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil, $64 for 150ml
This is saturated with a blend of two marine active ingredients — depolluting micro-algae and fortifying marine salicornia extract. The former protects cells from micro-stress caused by pollution while the latter is harnessed with the ability to self-regulate water and strengthen and hydrate skin. Lancome UV Expert Tone Up Milk, $75 for 30ml
Besides protecting your skin against daily aggressors such as UVA and UVB rays as well as urban pollution thanks to its key ingredient edelweiss, this also helps to boost skin’s radiance, even out skin tone and brighten complexion. Plus, it has a non-sticky, non-greasy and fast-absorbing texture. Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel, $56 for 30ml
Besides its weightless, gel-based formula, this is made with a Pollution-Protecting Technology that forms a protective barrier on the skin to prevent oxidative stress (which may lead to inflammation, unwanted breakouts and accelerated skin ageing) caused by environmental factors, prominent in any urban jungle. Vitamin E is also infused to neutralise skin-damaging free radicals, offer antioxidant protection and hydrate. Allies of Skin 1A All-Day Pollution Repair Mask, $145 for 30ml, Sephora
With a newly improved formula, this leave-on mask is now 50 per cent more concentrated and comes with a new key ingredient known as teprenone. This active ingredient helps to strengthen the skin’s cellular lining and aids in fading dark spots and pigmentation. Antipodes Blessing Anti-Pollution Light Face Serum, $59.45 for 30ml
Formulated with nutrient-rich avocado and jojoba oil, this protects skin from harmful environmental aggressors, brightens the overall complexion and strengthens skin weakened by cell damage. Bonus: it even comes with pure essential oil fragrance of white jasmine to therapeutically calm and soothe skin.