Air Clean Up
Introducing 'Anti-Pollution' Makeup
Apr 23 2019 Read 530 Times
100 years ago, no one had ever heard of sunscreen and although skin cancer had been on the radar of the medical community since the early 1800s, protecting against the harmful rays of the sun was not something most people gave too much thought to. Nowadays, of course, sunscreen is a staple item in any holiday suitcase and is used by health-conscious sun worshippers all over the world.
A similar pattern may be emerging with regard to air pollution. Scientists and the wider community have known about the dangers of prolonged exposure to airborne contaminants for many years, and with the increasing sophistication of air quality networks, our knowledge of just how damaging pollution can be is only increasing. Aware of the demand to protect against this unseen but lethal danger, the skincare industry has latterly been introducing anti-pollution makeup into their catalogue.
The largest organ under attack
The damaging effect of air pollution on our bodies is well-documented; particles of dirt, dust and smoke can combine in the air with the fumes emitted by vehicles and power plants to create harmful contaminants. These particles are then inhaled into our lungs and ingested into our bloodstream, causing untold damage on the body’s internal organs.
However, the deleterious effects of pollution on the body’s largest organ - skin - is comparatively under-publicised. As well as exacerbating existing skin conditions like acne and eczema, pollution can compromise the natural immune system of the skin and lead to unsightly blemishes or premature signs of aging.
It’s the free radical element of air pollution which is most responsible for these negative consequences. By upsetting the skin’s defences and drying it out, they can cause redness, inflammation, swelling and rashes, as well as more serious and long-lasting effects in the form of wrinkles, crow’s feet and other signs of becoming old before our time.
The cosmetic solution
To cater for a market that is becoming increasingly savvy about the effect that air pollution has on skin, the cosmetics industry has launched a range of products designed to tackle the problem. The items on offer generally fall into two main camps: pollution protection makeup, which acts as a shield against air pollution (in much the same way that sunscreen does for the sun), and pollution cleansers, which remove the damaging nanoparticles from the skin’s surface after the fact.
“People are only just starting to understand that pollution is everywhere: not just in the toxic broth of the city but in your home, in the air, in the water. The beauty industry has been talking about it for a while, and now customers are catching up,” explains Alexia Inge, co-founder of online makeup store Cult Beauty. However, Inge is quick to point out that consumers should not be simply be persuaded by propaganda containing the words “anti-pollution”, but should do their due diligence to ensure they receive a product that will actually help protect their skin.
“Marketeers love a fear-based marketing theme. But in order to actually protect skin against pollution you really need a leave-on product to create a physical shield, or ingredients like probiotics to reinforce skin’s natural barrier.”
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