Pollution-Fighting Beauty Buys — As Seen On “Great Day Houston”
Here’s a sobering figure: 92% of people in the world live in cities that don’t meet the World Health Organization’s air quality standards. Breathing in polluted air puts us all at risk of developing asthma and a host of other respiratory problems, and toxic substances like sulfur dioxide, nitrous dioxide, and suspended particle matter can lead to cardiovascular problems, eye and mucous membrane irritation, liver and spleen damage, headaches, fatigue, and more. Needless to say, since the skin is the body’s largest organ, it’s also directly affected by pollution.
In fact, pollution ranks second in the list of external aggressors that can lead to premature aging, with the sun’s UV rays being the number one culprit. Common sense dictates that dirty air will led to dirty skin, but the problems extend way beyond this: exposure to air and light pollution can result in hyperpigmentation, along with clogged pores and breakouts. Oh, and those nasty nano-particles in the air? They can actually penetrate the skin and create free radicals that destroy collagen, leading to wrinkles.
For the sake of future generations, we all need to make substantial efforts to improve air quality all over the globe, clean up our oceans, reduce waste, and lessen our carbon footprint. And, in addition to developing and sustaining greener lifestyle habits, we need to learn how to protect ourselves from environmental aggressors. The beauty industry is cognizant of this reality, which is why it’s been developing new haircare and skincare products that aim to help rid the body of toxins and to shield it from pollutants.
Read on for some info on the latest generation of pollution-fighting beauty buys, all of which I featured on KHOU’s “Great Day Houston.”
GLO SKIN BEAUTY DAILY POWER C
To defend our skin from pollutants, we need to rely on skincare products containing powerful antioxidants like vitamin C. Know how your mom always told you to drink vitamin C-rich orange juice to fend off colds? Well, it turns out vitamin C doesn’t just bolster the immune system when consumed via fruits and juices. When applied topically, vitamin C can strengthen the skin’s immune system because it can neutralize free radicals like those that result from pollution, thereby protecting the skin from oxidative stress.
What’s a free radical and what does it do? Well, think of free radicals as bloodthirsty vampires eager to “turn” every molecule in sight. In purely scientific terms, a free radical is a molecule, atom, or ion that’s highly unstable due to it having an unpaired valance electron. When a free radical is formed, it goes on the hunt for an electron and so it will bind to another atom or molecule and try to steal the electron it needs to achieve stability. The problem? Once the free radical steals that coveted electron, it typically leaves its prey in a similarly unstable predicament, turning that second molecule into a free radical. A chain reaction can then occur, leading to a build-up of free radicals that can ultimately damage DNA and other parts of our skin cells.
Antioxidants, then, work to balance these free radicals and prevent this dreadful chain reaction. How? Well, an effective antioxidant manages to donate an electron to that free radical without compromising its own stability. Vitamin C, then, can donate electrons to free radicals and stop these troublemakers before they wreak havoc.
You can give your skin its daily dose of vitamin C by applying the GLO Skin Beauty Daily Power C ($96 at GloSkinBeauty.com), a powerful antioxidant serum that provides protection against pollution while also helping to brighten and rejuvenate the skin. Since Vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen production, then, this serum goes beyond protecting the skin, helping it to become bouncier and more supple.
The serum contains a 15% concentration of Vitamin C delivered from the combination of Et-VC, L-Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Glucoside. This combination is key since it keeps the vitamin C in this serum from oxidizing (and yes, vitamin C in its original form is notorious for oxidizing when exposed to air, heat, and light, thereby losing its potency). The Daily Power C, however, will not oxidize, making it a notch above other vitamin C-packed serum.
GOOD SCIENCE BEAUTY PURIFYING FACE MASK & PURIFYING FACE CREAM
Breakouts are caused by a number of factors – one of which is pollution. City living means being exposed to vehicle exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, dirt, and dust — to name only a few — and all those contaminants can collect on your face and block your pores, leading to blemishes, redness, and irritation. That’s why Good Science Beauty developed its Purifying collection, featuring products designed for blemish-prone skin aggravated by urban living.
First, to detoxify the skin, there’s the Good Science Beauty Purifying Face Mask ($55 at GoodScienceBeauty.com). This mask contains willow bark extract to help clear congested pores and exfoliate those dead surface skin cells that can prevent pores from breathing properly (and also reduce your skin’s ability to absorb any serums and lotions you apply). The mask also contains oligopeptide-10, an antimicrobial peptide that helps to neutralize harmful toxins. And since it contains amino acids and moisturizing ingredients like sunflower seed oil, shea butter, and grape seed oil this mask also hydrates and nourishes the skin hydrate while purifying it. This combination of ingredients, then, means that breakouts will be banished and oiliness will be reduced without your face ever feeling tight, dry, or itchy.
In addition to using the Purifying Face Mask two to three times a week, , you’ll want to apply the Purifying Face Cream ($48 at GoodScienceBeauty.com) on a daily basis. It again contains willow bark and amino acids, which are delivered deep within the skin thanks to the brand’s Good Silicon+ carrier technology. The moisturizer is really lightweight and it manages to nourish and hydrate skin while unblocking pores and reducing pore size. Another plus: it doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances that could irritate already inflamed skin.
NURIA DEFEND GENTLE EXFOLIATOR & DEFEND SKIN SHIELDING ESSENCE
Nuria is a new, woman-founded, clean skincare brand that specializes in plant-based, non-toxic, vegan products inspired by the beauty rituals women have developed in different parts of the world. Each collection is inspired by a specific country or region and features ingredients that hail from that part of the globe — whether it’s Australia, Japan, Korea, or Denmark.
Nuria’s Defend collection was informed by the wisdom of women in Asia and their understanding of how internal and external aggressors affect skin.
One of the standouts in the collection is the Defend Gentle Exfoliator ( $18 at NuriaBeauty.com). The main ingredient here is ginkgo, which is native to China. Here’s what’s fascinating: the gingko tree can absorb up to 2800 kilos of Co2, and it can actually help to improve air quality in urban areas. Gingko leaf extract, meanwhile, is known for its antibacterial properties and it’s loaded with antioxidants that strengthen the skin and protect it against pollution. In addition to gingko, the cleanser contains plant-derived lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells and give skin a healthy glow.
Another great buy is the Defend Skin Shielding Essence ($48 at NuriaBeauty.com). It contains ginseng and carob, both found in Asia. Carob seed extract accelerates the recovery of stressed skin, mitigating the damage caused by internal and external aggressors. Ginseng root, meanwhile, helps to brighten skin and to fade dark spots, which is key since environmental pollutants can lead to discoloration and dullness. It also features pink pearls that contain seaweed-derived agar and carrageenan to restore the skin’s resilience and brightness.
STRIVECTIN HYALURONIC TRIPEPTIDE GEL-CREAM FOR EYES
There’s another form of pollution that’s affecting our skin, and it’s the blue light being emitted by our phones, computers and tablets. Blue light can actually cause photoaging damage such as wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of elasticity. But it’s not like we’re going to ditch our devices and go back to the days of phoning everyone on landlines and looking up info at the library, browsing through shelves of books organized using the Dewey Decimal system! Instead, we can protect our skin with products like the StriVectin Hyaluronic Tripeptide Gel-Cream For Eyes ($65 at StriVectin.com).
This dual-phase, swirled gel-cream features hyaluronic acid, which is known for its ability to hold up to 1,00 times its weight in moisture and bind it to skin, thereby soothing dehydrated skin and instantly smoothing out fine lines (like those caused from squinting at your screen!). Other ingredients include peptides, which can encourage collagen formation and thereby lead to more supple skin; blue daisy extract, which is known to brighten the skin and fade dark spots while also boasting antiseptic properties; and biomarine extracts like plankton, which has moisture-binding abilities.
This refreshing gel-cream, then, can neutralize the effects of blue light exposure, hydrate the eye area, and reduce the look of puffiness, fine lines and dark circles.
RAPIDSHIELD DAILY EYELASH CONDITIONER
No one wants brittle lashes, right? To protect your fringe, you should apply the RapidShield Eyelash Daily Conditioner ($37.95 at Walgreens.com and Ulta.com). The clear serum contains nourishing ingredients like apple stem cell extract, pumpkin seed extract, and silk amino acids, so lashes will be conditioned and strengthened.
Not only does it condition lashes, but it protects them from daily elements, gives them greater volume and definition, and even helps to prime them for mascara!