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Pollution, Stress & Your Skin

As one of the largest organs of your body, your skin technically has a lot of work to do. It needs to keep itself intact in addition to its standard duties. Eating right goes a long way towards helping your skin take proper care of itself over the long term. Good skincare goes even further by ensuring your skin gets the boosts it needs to be healthy any age. Most of us learn to be good about these habits eventually and to provide our skin with what it needs. Providing for our skin isn’t enough for long-term skin health, though. You also need to be aware of the different things that can harm your skin. These issues can be invisible if no one brings them to your attention. Things like pollution and stress are issues, yes, but they always seem bigger than simple skincare. They do have an impact on your skin though and require consideration for just that reason.

This problem has long since earned its place as a generic trouble of the modern world. It is a problem even in otherwise green cities simply because of the demands of the infrastructure on the environment. Things add up and begin to cause trouble. Fortunately, we can offset them and work to make things better. This has lead to modern improvements in urban planning and culture that have helped reduce the potential cities that require regular smog or pollution warnings for their residents. Manageable problems may still be problems, but they are better than one that gets away from you. Pollution is a problem for your skin in several ways. Particulate matter gets stuck in the air or flung about by the passing of vehicles. It impacts on your skin regularly and causes microscopic cuts or contributes to a buildup of grime on the skin. These each have their own particular issues associated with them. Air pollution adds on another problem in the form of ground level ozone oxidizing skin on contact and causing more issues with free radicals in the skin. Stress doesn’t help matters either.

We all swear we’re going to take better care of ourselves this year and find a better work/life balance to reduce how much we’re running around, but it seldom ever happens. Each of us gets caught up in life. It makes it easy to lose track of all the things that we should be doing in favor of all the things we ostensibly need to be doing. Countless obligations and little issues pop up each day that demand our attention. Some things necessarily get crowded off of our schedules. Unfortunately, sometimes what gets crowded off is taking time for ourselves or getting enough sleep. Your mental health is important to your body’s health and, necessarily, your skin’s health. Stress tends to disrupt sleep schedules at the same time that it reduces particular hormones in the body that actually lead to increased oil production as well as other issues. How do you manage all the potential problems of your skin in a modern world of consistent pollution and constant stress though?

woman relaxing
Taking Care of Your Skin
Let’s start with how to minimize stress as that makes helping your skin resist pollution easier in the long run. Plan for and make time for yourself in your schedule. Yes, you may need to dismiss it sometimes, but it shouldn’t be too often. You need to have the time to enjoy yourself so that you can decompress. Set aside time to engage in a hobby or to spend time with your family and friends. It will help you manage your life better and reduce the potential for a disrupted sleep schedule. That will ensure your skin gets the time it needs to repair itself and help bolster its natural defenses to external issues like pollution. We can’t wave our hands and makes the pollution vanish, but we can guard against the effects. A good skincare routine combined with proper sunscreen usage can do a lot to help protect your skin against pollution. This is especially true if you regularly use antioxidant-rich products. Remember to moisturize and nourish your skin while avoiding spending too much time outside in heavily polluted air to protect your skin the most.

Pollution and stress both have profound effects on your skin. You may not be able to solve pollution on your own, but you can work against the effects it has on your skin with a good skincare routine. Stress, happily, is something that you can help by ensuring you make time to do something other than focus on the things you need to do. Effective stress management is one of the best long-term things you can do for your skin and the rest of your body. So try to take good care of your skin, but don’t stress out too much about it as what will be will be.

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Does Pollution Irritate Skin

Modern life is complicated in a lot of ways. We have to factor in our work schedules alongside our family life alongside our social life and then there are still other things we need to worry about. We are used to devoting a share of their limited time to pampering our skin to ensure its health as well. Our skin care routines vary in length, but they all share the same goal of fortifying, healing, and rejuvenating our skin daily. It helps us guard against the things we can’t really do much about like sun damage and damage from dry air due to climate. We also have to worry about potential problems from another source: pollution. It is a common enough issue in urban environments, but many of us neglect its potential impact on our skin. Depending on your city, you may also have to be working against the impact of pollution.

A Quick Clarification
Stop right there if you’re worried that living in a city necessarily means that you skin is becoming irritated or harmed by pollution. We’re going to be discussing pollution in broader terms, but concentration matters. Cities vary in how well they handle their pollution problems. A good rule of thumb is that if your city doesn’t issue smog warnings, then you’re probably not going to need to be overly concerned about the impact of pollution on your skin. Only environments where pollution is a clear and present problem in day-to-day life generally have the concentration necessary to become a problem for your skin. There are exceptions to every rule, but this guideline should at least allow some people to feel a bit more relaxed when considering pollution’s impact on their skin.

The Gritty Details
Pollution actually varies in type. Some of it is purely gaseous, but others are actually suspended matter in the air and on surfaces. Ozone is the most common air pollution and is a dangerous gas that gets formed from various sources on contact with sunlight. Some skin care treatments use tiny bursts of the gas, but in large concentrations it is capable of causing inflammation in the skin and other parts of the body. The more physical components of pollution are often composed of particles so small that it is impossible to detect them with the naked eye. The issues they cause are actually fairly similar to the ones that any buildup of grime will cause on your skin. You’ll likely find yourself breaking out more often due to these pollutants mixing with your skin’s natural oils and clogging pores. Particularly aggravating sources of these particles or ozone can actually sensitize the skin over long term exposure. It is for this reason that you need to take steps to protect your skin from pollution.

Cleanse Thoroughly
The biggest thing you can do is be thorough when it comes to rinsing, cleansing, and exfoliating. These three steps in most skin care routines are what help your skin shed the grit and grime that becomes stuck to it over the course of a day. Rinsing should be done with clean, lukewarm to warm water to ensure the water is warm enough to help break up grime and oils, but not so warm that it accidentally contributes to drying out your skin. Your cleanser should be a dedicated cleansing product meant to effectively clean up various sources of grime. You’ll get the most out of gentle, chemically exfoliating cleansers that utilize alpha hydroxy acids and dissolve grime and oils away from your skin. Utilizing a gentle facial scrub or other full exfoliation technique now and again will further help clear your skin. Build on this by utilizing good products to help replenish and protect your skin. In the end, this will help you protect your skin from pollution effectively.

Pollution is a problem in many urban areas. It presents one of the ills of modern life that it is the hardest to escape given the varied forms of pollution and its often invisible nature. Your skin can and will be impacted when you’re traveling through an area with extensive pollution. As a result, you should account for that if you live in major cities with heavy pollution, or if you intend to be visiting one in the near future like Los Angeles or New York. Remembering to effectively clean and protect your skin is the best solution for long-term skin health.

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