Free radicals, antioxidants, oxidative stress... These are key terms in the skincare industry (and rightly so) but they’re also a little jargon-ish, and can be hard for even the most enthusiastic beauty lover to wrap their head around. Time to strip it all back and simplify. Here’s our solution to pollution, and in a climate where it’s getting worse before better - this one’s a must read.
What’s pollution, anyway?
UV light, cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes and waste byproducts generate airborne ‘free radicals’ which can land on the surface of the skin. They’re basically unstable atoms which scavenge your skin to pair with other molecules, destroying them in the process. Without getting yawn-inducingly technical, they have the ability to damage the skin’s protective barrier function, protein makeup and DNA in their quest. Yes, our skin cells have their own defence thanks to endogenous enzymes, but when the increasing amount of pollution exceeds our own defence mechanisms - problems arise. Your skin surface is covered in pollution, your skin cells find it harder to breathe, becoming intoxicated (in the not-fun way) leading to loss of radiance, a grey-ish complexion and down the line, premature ageing and wrinkles.
Write it down: inflammaging.
Yep, it's becoming a word. Oxidative stress can stimulate inflammation, on top of the skin’s usual daily inflammatory response. Over time the skin barrier can lose its strength, becoming more susceptible to pollution and sun damage. Furthermore, visible inflammation signs such as discomfort, redness, dryness and tingling can appear. And with a rise in pollution, there’s a rise in sensitive skin, especially among city-living urbanites, and dryness and sensitivity can lead to premature ageing, too. And you thought your commute was a pain?
We started off kinda gloomy but all’s not lost. Antioxidants are a group of ingredients that work to reduce oxidative damage and prevent some of the degenerative effects caused by sun exposure. Vitamin C, found in our latest Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream moisturiser helps minimise free radical damage, while the Orange Stem Cell Extract in V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream actively helps repair pollution damage. To fix the inflammaging issue, Beta-Glucans found in Overnight Recovery Balm help soothe inflammation, reducing the feeling of stinging, discomfort and redness that comes from exposure to pollutants.
All in self defence.
So antioxidants help neutralise free radicals on your skin. But prevention is better than the cure. Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist creates an instant second-skin like breathable mesh over the skin, trapping all known pollution particles, which you can then wash off more easily later. Incorporate it into any routine as the last step while, with it’s fine mist, it also helps set your makeup, which is a win-win. And for skin that’s already looking a little grey around the gills, Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial contains a Vitamin C and Magnesium cocktail to power through pollution, intensely brighten and banish urban grey. They’re the perfect partners to combat the perils of pollution, and you can check out the rest our Pollution Solutions for the ultimate defence for city-living skin.