Blaming your bad skin on work stress? Chances are, it's the trip into the office that's doing the most damage
If all you need is one final push to pack up your life and relocate to Byron Bay, keep reading: it turns out it isn't simply stress that can lead to such fun skin concerns as pimples and wrinkles, but THE AIR WE BREATHE. We don't mean to be alarmist (who, us?), but that hour-long commute in city traffic isn't doing your skin any favours. Sigh.
Numerous studies have measured the degree of pollutants in the air we breathe - take this 2014 report from the University of Athens' dermatology department, which found that "the increase of air pollution over the years has major effects on the human skin." According to their findings, "The skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation and environmental air pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, oxides, particulate matter, ozone and cigarette smoke [and] exposure of the skin to air pollutants has been associated with skin ageing and inflammatory or allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or acne, while skin cancer is among the most serious effects." You're leaving for Byron tonight? Take us with you.
On the bright side, the air quality in Australia is significantly better than in cities like London, Paris and New York, so at least we're doing better than our big city friends (until you factor in sun damage, but that's a whole other story). The even better news is this: skincare companies are doing their utmost to find ways to counter the environmental damage we have no choice but to subject our skin to.
Take Dior as an example: thanks to over 20 years of research by three Nobel Prize winning chemists, they've recently launched a ground-breaking product that purifies the skin daily. The One Essential Mist-Lotion, $94, contains proteasome, based on a naturally occurring enzyme that recycles cell toxins, within an oil-in-water formula. Why the oil-in-water? We're about to get very science-y on you: there are three types of pollutants that settle on the skin's surface - hydrophilic (i.e. ozone and heavy metals), which dissolve in water; lipophilic (i.e. exhaust gases), which dissolve in oil; and particles like cigarette smoke, which need both water and oil to be effectively removed. Dior's One Essentist Mist-Lotion gently eliminates all three, while hydrating and restoring the skin's pH. We're saved.
What else can you do to help your skin survive city life? The easiest way to counter environmental pollution, apart from cleansing all the grit and grime off nightly, is to apply an antioxidant serum (Skinceuticals C.E Ferulic is the ultimate) and SPF each morning and eat a diet rich in antioxidants too. And maybe consider a weekend away to the country every now and then.
We've rounded up six of the best, brand new anti-pollution skincare products in the gallery above.