This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of Good Health and Wellbeing.
Many factors including the quality of the air we breathe, the food we eat and even the water we drink can affect our skin.
While it's not possible to completely avoid pollution (you would have to live in a bubble to achieve that), the beauty industry has responded with a slew of products that have been designed to combat this issue and protect us from the daily contaminants we are exposed to such as carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes, chemical pollution and industrial smoke which can all take a toll on our complexions.
It's almost easier to flip this question on its head and ask how it doesn't affect the skin, as there are so many problems that can be blamed on exposure to pollution.
The most common concerns are clogged pores, congestion, dehydration, and irritation not to mention redness, rosacea and eczema can all be exacerbated.
While both have an ageing affect on skin, they act in different ways.
When it comes to the sun, the UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) rays can penetrate the skin and reach the cells at a deep level, causing damage that leads to pigmentation and premature ageing.
Pollution, by contrast, strikes the surface of the skin, essentially causing the natural skin barrier to break down. Added to this, it can also cause the release of free radicals – something known to fast-track ageing.
WATCH BELOW: Lisa Wilkinson shares her skincare tips. Post continues...
In a nutshell, these products form a barrier for your skin – almost like a shield that protects you from the pollutants penetrating the surface of the skin.
This in turn helps prevent the premature ageing caused by these external factors. Thanks to modern science and the astute beauty industry, there are now many products that offer these benefits.
You should seek out products packed full of antioxidants that will help rid your skin of free radicals and will more than likely come in the form of a serum or moisturiser.
Adding even one of these products to your skincare regime will keep you in good stead to help battle those external aggressors.
Here are our picks of some of the best in the business...
A mask is another great way to reduce the appearance of external aggressors and this one is an excellent example of how it doesn't have to cost the earth to protect your skin.
Designed to exfoliate and deeply cleanse your skin, this easy-to-use detoxifying mask is ideal after a long day at work.
Adding an affordable mask like this to your weekly or fortnightly skincare regime is perfect for easing into anti-pollution products.
Light and versatile, this BB cream not only protects the skin from environmental pollution, free radical damage and UVA and UVB rays, but it also offers the skin a hint of tint helping to create the perfect base to wear alone for a light look, or to team with your favourite makeup.
Designed with anti-pollution in mind, this targeted range will help banish the effects of environmental stress on the skin.
The serum will also lift, firm and define the contours of the face and, thanks to the addition of meadow seed oil and wild indigo extract, counteracts cortisol-related signs of stress that can occur on the skin.
This fluid complex, designed with hydration in mind, sinks into the skin seamlessly without any stickiness and provides the perfect treatment solution for skin affected by the elements, including UV radiation.
Expect your skin to feel smooth, moisturised and calmed after application.
This exfoliant contains ingredients that activate on making contact with water. It is a great example of a single product achieving multiple results.
Designed to smooth as well as purify the skin by absorbing toxins, this fine powder contains activated binchotan charcoal to cleanse, with red algae and tara fruit extract to guard against pollution. Keep it in the shower to use morning or night.
City Smart has a complex that combines pollution and UV protection along with their DNA enzyme complex, which protects and strengthens the skin.
Boasting a SPF50 sunscreen, this also contains optical diffusers to blur out skin imperfections as well.
Murad has now added an anti-pollution sunscreen to their range.
This 100 percent mineral broad spectrum has been designed using environmental protection technology and will help shield the skin from not only UVA and UVB but also pollution, infrared radiation, and blue light from devices. Apply a teaspoon-sized amount after moisturising.
Expect to find a host of antioxidants in this formula including chaparral, silymarin, provitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid. All of these assist in decreasing the visible signs of premature ageing by reducing the amount of free radical damage on the skin.
Teamed with your daily moisturiser, this serum protects and repairs at the same time.
The delicate area of skin around the eyes is susceptible to environmental damage, so arm yourself with an eye complex.
This one has been formulated with 10x concentrated repair technology, which helps combat lack of sleep, UV pollution and blue light.