Pollution assaults our skin on a daily basis, causing essential collagen and elastin to degrade. It can also increase hyperpigmentation – dark patches on your skin.
In fact, a study published last year in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that high levels of nitrogen dioxide (one of the main pollutants from traffic fumes) in the air were linked to an increase in hyperpigmented lesions on the face.
So how do we tackle this problem?
The most proven researched method is to fight it with topical application of antioxidants and adaptogens.
You may have already heard a lot about antioxidants, but you need to apply a cocktail of them topically for them to work or combine them with adaptogens for their effectiveness and results. One antioxidant alone will not be sufficient to protect your skin.
Why do antioxidants matter?
Your skin is your first defence against all the toxins you are exposed to every day. When free radicals – molecules or atoms found in the atmosphere – break down the collagen in your skin, you get wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
When they damage your melanocytes – cells which produce melanin – you get age spots. These free radicals damage your skin cells. Antioxidants are there to protect and repair our skin from free radicals. New research shows that antioxidants in skincare help reduce the signs of ageing.
What are adaptogens?
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants but maybe not adaptogens. This is a unique category of plants that facilitate our body’s adaptation to stress, helping to restore balance. The adaptogens help adjust the body’s response to various stresses on the cellular level. They are employed in skincare formulations to help to strengthen and normalise essential collagens in the skin. As a result skin thickness, elasticity and firmness is increased.
The big question… is there an anti-pollution skincare?
Yes! Given the increasing awareness about pollution’s destructive effects on the skin, I get asked lots of questions by my customers whether it requires specific antioxidants or an ingredient or blend of ingredients to help and whether a skincare regimen plays an important role.
So it’s time to set up your skincare regime.
Rule 1: Never go to sleep with your make-up on. I cannot stress enough how important is it to remove your make-up. What happens if you don’t? Pollutants get glued to your foundation and cause oxidative damage to your skin. You will age prematurely or you will deepen the existing wrinkles and fine lines and cause dryness and age spots.
Rule 2: Cleanse your face morning and evening. Yes mornings and evenings! You might be wondering why mornings if I clean in the evening? This is because your skin gets rid of toxins whilst your sleep so if you do not cleanse in the morning and you just apply your moisturiser followed by your make-up you are getting these toxins back into your skin again.
If you are in your 40s I would only recommend detergent-free cleansers. If you are using soap please ditch it immediately as it will strip all good oils from your skin and mess with your skin balance so you will risk getting more spots, inflammation etc. The best form of cleansers are those in a cream form that do not strip out your skin’s natural oils but also provide hydration so your skin feel cleansed and moisturised at the same time.
The FOM London Hydrating Anti-Pollution Creamy Cleanser, £29, does just that. It also removes all your make-up, including mascara, just by dissolving it while you massage your face with your clean fingers. No need for face cloths, just clean fingers.
The next logical step would be to ensure that your skin acid mantle is brought back to a balance and any further traces of grime have been removed.
This is easily accomplished by applying FOM London Anti-Pollution Skin Supplement Essence, £32. This is a watery but highly hydrating essence which complements all skin types as it prepares your skin for all subsequent serums and creams.
All your subsequent serums and creams will work better on a balanced and cleansed skin.
Rule 3: You need to hydrate your skin before moisturising. Let me first explain the difference between hydrating versus moisturising.
Hydration makes your skin plumped and supple and obviously hydrated. Hydrating products are normally very liquid, almost water consistency but highly hydrating. They are designed to increase the water retention within your skin. Hydration is very important as pollutants are drying your skin out. It is like giving your body water to stay hydrated.
So think about how to give your skin triple, long lasting hydration. My recommendation would be FOM London Hydra Plump Serum, £46.
Don’t forget the watery products work best if applied by pressing onto the skin or using a cotton pad for maximum penetration and absorption. Moisturising makes skin soft and smooth and it aims to form a barrier film on the skin’s surface to prevent moisture loss thus protecting the skin from environmental stressors.
Rule 4: Moisturise and treat with antioxidants. Look out for skincare that contains loads of antioxidants.
Here at FOM London we combine botanical antioxidants with adaptogens to protect the skin and balance it at the same time.
For skin moisturising with protection and firming benefits we would recommend using FOM London Antioxidant Hydra Plump and Firm Cream, £49, daily in the morning and evening topped up by Antioxidant Repair Oil Complex, £43, for extra protection with antioxidants blended in omega 3,6 and 9.
Pollution isn’t just on the outside…
There is also something called an indoor pollution so you may be wondering if you need antioxidants at night and my answer is absolutely yes. You need antioxidants during the day and at night. Pollution has no boundaries, no time zones.
Finally, why do I obsess with antioxidants to the point that I caress them and wrap them up in liquid silk in all my formulations?
BECAUSE THEY ARE KINGS OF ALL SKINCARE INGREDIENTS and combined with silk they work wonders. I have been formulating serums, moisturisers and creams for years using the sustainable antioxidants available today. Our wholesome collection is a powerful synergy of pure liquid silk and unique botanicals with potent anti-oxidising and balancing properties. A luxury in a bottle designed specifically to boost skin’s natural repair mechanisms and enhance collagen resulting in a brighter, healthier complexion for all skin colours. The final result is healthy, glowing skin with increased resistance to everyday stressors and pollution.