New products offering pollution protection for skin

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Living in the Sunshine state has made most of Floridians aware of the dangers of too much sun on our skin. But what about the dangers of air pollution? New products promising protection from pollution are hitting the shelves.

Actress Aicha Reid has had a strict skincare regimen since high school.

“I’m always looking for, like, the latest tips, the latest tricks for my skin. You know, what more can I do really?” she said.

And Reid is not alone. A Mintel report found that in the U.S. 34 percent of women are concerned about the effects of pollution, the environment, and radiation on their skin and cosmetic companies are taking notice.

“There’s been an explosion of products that are either being developed or re-marketed for the purpose of decreasing damage from air pollution,” said Dr. Amy Derick a board-certified dermatologist and American Academy of Dermatology member.

Products are now being promoted to remove particulates from the skin, or neutralize free radicals, which are molecules experts say injure the skin’s cells and cause inflammation.  But is pollution really a concern when it comes to skin care?

“Pollution can accelerate normal aging by breaking down collagen and increasing free radicals in the skin,” explained Dr. Derick.

Experts say over time can lead to dullness, wrinkles and dark spots. Dr. Derick recommends using a cleansing brush to decrease the amount of pollution left on your skin overnight and also a topical antioxidant.

“If air pollution does get through into your skin and starts to create damage, these antioxidants are able to kind of scavenge the free radicals that are created and may decrease the damage that’s done,” she explained.

So how do you decide which products are right for you?  Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a board-certified dermatologist and American Academy of Dermatology member says, “Buyer beware.”

“Do your homework. Find out what products have been shown to be scientifically helpful. Find out which ones are not just jumping on the pollution bandwagon, and those that have really gone and put in some research behind it,” she also suggested.

While Dr. Tanzi says there is science behind protecting the skin from air pollution, she says we’re only beginning to understand the effects of pollution on the skin.

“Much more research is needed to find out exactly what is happening with not only ozone pollution but particulate pollution on the skin over time, how can we combat it? We’re really only seeing the beginning of this process,” explained Dr. Tanzi.

Cosmetic industry studies are underway to further investigate the effects of pollution on the skin. Industry experts also say we can expect even more anti-pollution skin care products on the market in the near future.

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