Purge Your Skin of Pollutants
Last week, I discussed how living in a smog-shrouded metropolitan area such as the DMV can quickly age one’s skin. It’s disturbing but true; airborne pollution, which includes ozone gases, exhaust fumes, soot and various toxins, weakens the squalene-rich moisture barrier of the skin and gradually degrades the underlying collagen structure in the dermis. However, a new crop of antipollution and skin detox products have been developed to address the daily assault of airborne toxins.
Soot and diesel exhaust particles are coated in polyaromatic hydrocarbons. These chemicals actually bind to skin-cell receptors, resulting in oxidation and the activation of genes linked to aging. Once these genes are activated, increased inflammation leads to rapid wrinkle formation and the appearance of uneven pigmentation, such as age spots. To prevent these unpleasant developments, it’s critical that you deep cleanse, treat and protect your skin every day.
Deep cleansing is the first step in removing deeply embedded toxins. I highly recommend double cleansing by using an oil cleanser followed by a gentle foaming cleanser that’s enriched with antioxidants and pollution-busting ingredients. Great ones to try include Clarins Extra Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream and Pacifica Beauty Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash.
With a vacuum-like effect, charcoal works wonders on drawing detritus out of clogged pores. Charcoal masks are most effective, but using a charcoal-based cleanser is also helpful. To really purge those pores, try the Yes to Tomatoes Charcoal Detoxifying set, which includes both a cleanser and a mask.
Soft clay masques are also superb detoxifiers. The new detox masques typically include bentonite or kaolin clay blended with botanical oils and antioxidants to ward off the ravages of environmental toxins. Caudalie Instant Detox Mask contains clay with papaya enzymes and antioxidant-rich grape vine extract to purify and fortify the skin.
For a special treatment, sea salt, minerals and algae extracts can detoxify and moisturize the skin. Himalayan sea salt is renowned for its skin healing properties — try Evolution Salt Co.’s Himalayan Salt Scrub for thoroughly exfoliated and moisturized skin all over. Dead Sea minerals are also deeply purifying and have been known to improve stubborn skin conditions such as eczema and chronic dryness. Detox Skin Intervention Moisture Lotion with Dead Sea Salt Minerals soothes and moisturizes the skin with a blend of Dead Sea minerals and natural emollient oils, and nothing else. This lotion can be used on the face, hands and body.
Properly moisturized skin, with its strengthened natural protective barrier, is better able to ward off the detrimental effects of environmental pollutants. Algae and seaweed extracts protect the skin with antioxidants and stimulate circulation to improve elasticity and overall glow. For an intensive dose of pure Icelandic sea minerals and kelp extracts, try Hannesdottir Elixir of Minerals, a serum that energizes and fully hydrates the complexion.
Finish up your evening skin care routine with an application of Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil. Infused with antioxidant-rich grape seed extract, regenerating rose hip and detoxifying carrot oil, this formula counters the damage wreaked by pollution by promoting cellular renewal and toxin elimination—all while you sleep.