Pollution like car fumes, soot, and chemical particles in the air don’t just sit on your face. Microscopic specks can actually penetrate the skin, creating free radicals that cause inflammation, break down collagen, and damage skin cells and the skin barrier.
One study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that compared women living in urban and rural environments over 24 years found that city-dwellers had more lines, wrinkles and dryness at an earlier age.
To fight the effects of pollution, look for skincare that is rich in antioxidants, which bind with free radicals and neutralize them. Plant extracts are particularly effective “detox” ingredients. They are rich in antioxidants and can also nourish the skin barrier and reduce inflammation. Here are three ingredients that have been backed with solid scientific research.
Korean tsubaki flower extract
This ingredient is rich in omega-6 linoleic fatty acids (LA) and polyphenols. LA plays a critical role in skin appearance and function. Studies as early as 1929 have found that it can reverse damage to the skin barrier and improves your ability to retain moisture. It can also lead to potent signaling molecules called eicosanoids which affect inflammation. (Source: Paulus Lining Institute, Oregon University: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health)
Tsubaki flower extracts are also absorbed really quickly into the skin’s deepest layers, where it can improve cell growth and help skin become more flexible and supple.
Studies by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine found that this extract stimulates the skin’s protective mechanisms to give long-lasting sun protection. It contains sulforaphane, which activates cell protective proteins that shield you from the damage of toxins and carcinogens. Its effects also last for several days after it is applied. Study participants who were exposed to UV 48 hours after applying broccoli extract on their skin still showed stronger resistance to sun damage. (Source: Cosmetic Design Europe: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Formulation-Science/Broccoli-extract-provides-long-lasting-sun-protection)
Wolfberry, also called goji berry or the “immortality berry” was first recorded in China’s First Herbal Encyclopedia “Shen Nong’s Materia Medica,” in 1 BC. It was said to promote long life and good health.
Since then, scientific studies have confirmed that it does contain several minerals and nutrients that can firm, tighten and improve your skin. It is a rich source of amino acid which improve skin tone and color, Vitamin C to brighten and reduce the appearance of age spots, caretonoids that maintain a healthy glow, and polysaccharides that have antioxidant properties.
Strawberries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that prevents collagen loss and stifles the production of destructive enzymes called MMP. Studies by a Korean university found that mice that were given ellagic acid treatments formed less wrinkles even when exposed to UV rays.
The high vitamin content in strawberries can also help brighten the complexion and reduce dark spots.
These ingredients can be found in The Skin Pharmacy’s Serum No. 7 (The Detox Serum). Aside from using antioxidant-rich skincare, wash your face twice a day with a gentle but effective cleanser, wear sun screen, and support your body’s ability to create healthy skin cells through proper diet and sleep.