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Cosmetics: The Last Line Of Defense Against Pollution

May 10th 2017
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A gray or red complexion, eczema, blemishes or blackheads are some of the signs of skin affected by pollution. FAB gives you key information on how to prevent and repair damage caused by pollution and oxidation of the skin.

The Environmental Factors Affecting Skin Aging

Unless you live at the top of Mount Fuji or in the North American Great Plains, pollution is a virtually unavoidable plague. While fine particulate alerts and spikes in pollution are increasing all over the planet, some brands are sounding the alarm and stepping up their effectiveness by developing cosmetics that act as shields for the skin. With Prevage City Smart, its line of anti-pollution treatments, Elizabeth Arden has released its latest innovation against environmental attacks. Decléor has followed suit with its Hydra Floral line. “80 per cent of the signs of aging in the skin are caused by environmental factors such as UV rays, pollution and smoke,” claim representatives from Elizabeth Arden.

Chico Shiget anti pollution skincare
Chico Shigeta

Pollution Signs

Between UV rays from the sun, which have negative effects on the skin, and pollution (which, of course, is worse in urban settings), all women should be protecting their skin from external attacks. “Pollution oxidizes the skin, creating toxins, and the skin is left more vulnerable. The complexion becomes duller. The skin becomes dehydrated due to a lack of protection, and all this leads to premature aging,” says Anaïs Laroche, a coach at Decléor.

During pollution spikes, some advice should be applied to the letter: “First, you should properly protect yourself in the morning,” says Anaïs. “On healthy skin, apply a pre-serum, which will prepare the skin. This practice is more common with Asian women when they do layering [Editor’s note: or the art of saho, which consists of applying several different cosmetics]. Then, a serum that promotes moisturization. At Decléor, our Aromessence is a concentrate of essential oils with detoxifying and anti-aging properties. Finish off with a cream, preferably a CC cream with a UV protection index. Finally, in the evening, you should not only remove your make-up, but also cleanse your skin properly.”

decleor paris skincare anti pollution
Decléor Paris (Source: Instagram)

Paris, Beijing, New York…

In Beijing, which is notorious for its (sadly) high levels of pollution, and more broadly in Asia in general, women have long understood the importance of protecting their skin by wearing hats, veils, sunglasses and T-shirts, an ideal arsenal to protect against UV rays and external attacks. “In the United States, women are aware of these attacks and they wear a day cream with an SPF. American women prefer a rich texture, while Asian women tend to choose more lightweight fluids. In France, we have educational work and formation to do with women,” says Rénaldo Payet, marketing and communications manager for Elizabeth Arden France.

Two Anti-pollution Shields

Although researchers have discovered the benefits of broccoli and kiwi against pollution attacks, others have worked hand-in-hand with scientists, chemists and dermatologists to develop high-tech solutions that are supposed to neutralise the impact of environmental stress that oxidizes the skin. Decléor has taken from one of the strongest natural sources that can be found to enrich its Hydra Floral line. Besides essential oils of neroli (for moisture), sweet orange (for brightness) and camomile (for its anti-inflammatory properties), researchers have looked towards Africa to get moringa extract. Also called the “tree of life”, this tree is now grown all over the world because of its numerous virtues. “In Africa, they use the seeds to make water drinkable. In our creams, they work as a shield to block particles from the surface of the skin,” explains Anaïs from Decléor. “With its surface action combined with essential oils, which act within the skin itself, the Hydra Floral line should help us to shift our frenzied, urban lives into a halo of skin purity.”

Decléor Paris  skincare anti pollution
Decléor Paris (Source: Instagram)

At Elizabeth Arden, they have a different philosophy: “More is stronger,” says Rénaldo, speaking of idebenone, a patent-pending drug, which acts as an excellent anti-pollution agent in the Prevage City Smart line. “It’s an orange powder that used to be used with organ transplants, which kept them fresh just before implanting. It’s one of the world’s strongest anti-oxidants!”

Although cosmetic solutions do exist to effectively fight against pollution, other rather more fun ways also exist to protect yourself against pollution. The Plume Labs app gives the average rate of pollution in the city you happen to be in and gives beauty tips depending on these levels. Try it out!