Science confirms how pollution damages skin

Air pollutants cause more harm than was thought – with studies showing increased chronic skin inflammation, more age spots and accelerated skin ageing. This is according to a report, When Skin’s Defence Against Pollution Fails, recently published in Nature, the renowned international journal of science.

The authors say that, while our skin is porous enough to soak up moisture, absorb medications from adhesive patches and release protective oils, this also makes it vulnerable to assault by chemicals in the environment. It’s well-known that ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause premature skin ageing and skin cancer. But research is now showing the serious harm that can be inflicted on skin by air pollutants, such as smoke and traffic fumes, pesticides and other common chemicals. These substances can be absorbed right into the bloodstream.

Dermatologist Jean Krutmann, director of the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, Germany, says the skin’s absorption of environmental pollutants is a complex problem. But the solution, he thinks, might be as simple as bolstering the protective barrier that the skin already provides.

He recommends limiting skin exposure to pollutants by using high SPF sunscreens and wearing protective clothing. Another way to protect skin, particularly from free radicals, he says, is to use creams that are rich in antioxidant compounds. Such creams neutralise free radicals at the skin’s surface, helping to halt the “cell-destroying cascade”. Many – especially those containing vitamin C or vitamin E –work well to limit damage in cells.

This new research emphasises the importance of gentle but thorough daily cleansing to remove all traces of these harmful chemicals from your skin. Our Bio-Active Rooibos extract, combined with Vitamins C and E, also  in African Extract also provides high levels of antioxidants to help the skin neutralise free radicals and reinforce the surface layers.

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