Environmental Pollution, Problems and Solutions
Dr. Perricone Discusses: Environmental Pollution & Your Skin
Have you ever closely examined your skin and noticed a wrinkle that you’re sure wasn’t there the day before? Relax. Time is not your skin’s greatest enemy. The natural aging process gets a big push from:
- Cigarette smoke (inhaled or second hand)
- A nutrient-poor diet (especially diets lacking in vitamins A, C, E and folic acid)
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Harsh scrubs/over exfoliation
- Sleep deprivation
- Sun exposure
- Environmental toxins
In fact, one of the most constant aging factors is our environment. Every day, various forms of environmental pollution assault our skin. Some of this pollution is avoidable, but unfortunately not all.
Environmental Pollution & Your Skin
Air pollution can wreak havoc on our skin and it can be especially hard to avoid if we live in urban areas. Dirt and dust particles, smog and other forms of air pollution can clog our pores and leave a film of impurities on the skin. Even worse, this debris can interact with the sun’s UV rays, accelerating aging and skin damage.
Tips: Preventing Environmental Damage
- A thorough cleansing of skin each morning and evening to remove damaging particulates from exposure to pollution is critical.
- Topical antioxidants can help prevent and repair damage caused by oxidative stress, which is associated with exposure to pollution and sun.
- Keep skin gently exfoliated with a glycolic bar and/or a gentle peel such as Blue Plasma. This serum is designed to protect, release and remove impurities within the skin that strongly contribute to magnifying the visible signs of aging skin. The combination of DMAE and salmon roe extract work synergistically to clarify and refine the skin.
- An air filtration system can dramatically cut down on environmental toxins. Many of these are portable and ideal for the home and office.
- Apply a pore minimizing toner after cleansing. This will help to gently exfoliate the skin and purge surface impurities from oil and dirt build up. As an added bonus, using a toner can help to firm the appearance of sagging pore walls and control the oil production that leads to shine and the appearance of blemishes.
- The right moisturizer will hydrate and create a physical barrier between your skin and other damaging pollutants and free radicals.
- Help protect your body avoid damage from pollution by choosing the right foods and nutritional supplements. Chose non-GMO organic fruits and vegetables as these foods will protect the body and keep the skin healthy and radiant as they work from the inside out.
- Invest in high-quality vitamins and supplements. These can provide therapeutic levels of nutrients and antioxidants that will work overtime to deliver multiple health and beauty benefits.
The Sunshine Vitamin
We now know that Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is produced by sunlight on the skin. It is then absorbed and circulated in the bloodstream and known to enhance all vital organs and reduce the risk of all forms of cancer throughout the body. Scientists now recognize that low vitamin D levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, mental depression as well as osteoporosis.
Tip: For sun bathing to have a therapeutic effect, our skin must contain adequate natural oils. I recommend not showering or bathing before taking a therapeutic sunbath. After sun exposure, these oils need to be absorbed into the skin and enter the tiny blood vessels called the dermal vasculature. By skipping the shower after sun exposure (for 4-8 hours), we can produce thousands of units of vitamin D that the body can utilize.
Too Much of a Good Thing
I advise my patients to get moderate amounts of sun exposure, without protective clothing or sunscreen on a regular basis. This does not mean baking or burning the skin. Aim for 15 minutes a day before noon, when the sun’s rays aren’t as harsh.
However, overexposure to sun accelerates the aging process and triggers a series of long and short-term changes to the skin. It causes the skin to wrinkle, thicken, dry out, freckle, blemish, and develop a rough texture. It also helps decrease collagen levels, and, as we know, it can also lead to deadly skin cancers.
Tip: Invest in a broad spectrum UVA/UVB physical sunscreen and ensure diligent daily application and seek shade when possible.
As always, I welcome your feedback and questions.Please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.