protect skin from the haze

The haze doesn’t only affect your breathing and health – the pollution and particles in the air is actually equally harmful to your complexion. Aside from irritating skin and causing breakouts, dirt particles also cause free radical damage that in the long run results in a loss of elasticity, fine lines, pigmentation and roughness. Here, four simple habits can keep your skin in tip-top shape despite the bad air:

  • 1. Use a sunscreen with anti-pollution properties

Thanks to beauty brands that think of tackling every single problem under the sun that our skin might face, we now have a slew of sunscreens that not only provide protection from UV rays but also from air pollutants. These act like a shield to prevent dirt and dust from harming skin.

Three we recommend: Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen Multi-Protection SPF50/PA++++, Dior One Essential City Defense SPF50/PA++++, and Shiseido’s Future Solution LX Universal Defense SPF50+/PA++++. Clarins has plant extracts to boost skin’s natural defense system; Dior comes with moringa seed extract, known for its purifying properties; and Shiseido has an anti-pollution powder that blocks dust and dirt from coming into direct contact with your face.

2. Keep your body and face hydrated

Our skin has its own “wall” to protect itself. The stratum corneum is the top most layer of skin and acts as a barrier to keep hydration in and harmful particles out. However, when skin is dehydrated or dry, our stratum corneum weakens and is less able to defend against harmful pollutants. This is further exacerbated by the haze, which also erodes our protective barrier. So to keep our barrier function strong, drink lots of fluids and be generous when applying moisturisers or hydrating serums.

See: 12 moisturisers that are great for humid weather

  1. 3. Stock up on antioxidants

Pimples might the least of your worries when it comes to the haze. Air pollution can also cause skin inflammation and irritation, as well as increase the production of free radicals which damage skin cells and leads to premature ageing. To protect your complexion, add an antioxidant-rich serum or oil to your daily regime. Two to try: Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (which has the anti-inflammatory ginger root and sunflower seed oils to soothe irritation, stress and redness) and La Mer’s The Renewal Oil, which is infused with the brand’s skin healing Miracle Broth to protect and repair.

  1. 4. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse

You might not be able to see or even feel it, but the haze leaves micro-particles, dust and dirt on the surface of skin and clogs pores. Wash your face as soon as you get home as the less time these harmful particles stay on your skin, the better. For the more conscientious, you can even double cleanse, exfoliate and/or apply a deep cleansing mask at least once a week.


Photo Corbis Images

Like this? Check out the 13 skincare products you’ll need to fight the haze, cleansers that remove makeup and treat skin too and 10 purifying clay masks for smooth, clear skin.