How Does Pollution Affect Our Skin?

by Agnieszka Miel

When we think of pollution, we often immediately think of the impact on our planet – with images of plastic-filled oceans immediately filling our minds. But pollution and UV rays can impact our skin too. So, whilst we do everything we can to ensure we play our part in reducing the pollution of our earth experiences (like opting for products working with our planet, not against it!), we can also protect our skin from the impact of pollution and environmental aggressors to keep us looking and feeling our very best. 

Air pollution – what is it?  

Quite simply, air pollution refers to the presence of chemicals and compounds in the air, which at high levels can pose a risk to our health and the environment. More often than not, air pollutants are not visible, nor do they have a smell and they can be caused by many different things such as, smoke, industrial smog and gases. Although we might not be able to see the pollutants, we can definitely see the impact they have on our skin. Many of these pollutants can unfortunately cause oxidative stress – meaning there is an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals on our skin, which can lead to some rather unwanted effects. 

The impact on our skin (It’s not pretty!)  

The gradual affect of pollution on our skin can wreak a lot more havoc than we’d expect. One of the known causes is premature skin ageing. As air pollutants cause oxidative stress to our skin, it can lead to our skin losing its elasticity – so it’s goodbye plump youthful skin and hello fine lines and wrinkles! Acne/blemishes can also occur as a result of pollutants invading the skin so our all-important skin barrier is compromised. The weakening of the barrier combined with grime and oil accumulating on the skin can lead to the clogging of pores – meaning we might have some unwanted friends festering on our face. On top of all this, the free radicals on our skin caused by air pollutants can oxidize squalene (a fatty molecule found in our skin) which can impact the skins' ability to hold moisture, therefore increasing dryness and sensitivity. So overall, things aren’t looking great so far. 

Shining a light on UV rays   

When talking about all things UV rays and blue light related, we don’t often realise the genuine impact they have (good and bad!). Firstly, blue light (part of the visible light spectrum) mostly comes from the sun, which is beneficial for the body in so many ways, like giving our mood the boost we’re looking for (notice yourself perking up when the sun comes out?).

But blue light also comes from our electronical devices – meaning you’re being exposed to it whilst reading this very article! Unfortunately, the results aren’t quite so positive on this end. The radiation from blue light can lead to a reduction of antioxidants on the skin – causing the skin to lose its moisture and firm youthful looking appearance, leading to premature ageing, increased sensitivity and dryness. Yikes! 

How we can take matters into our own hands 

Having said all this, we can most definitely fight back against the damage caused by pollution and blue light by simply arming our skin with the tools it needs. Of course, it goes without saying using sunscreen on a daily basis is our most important barrier of defense against all things sun related. Alongside this, carefully selecting ingredients for the skin tailored to these specific issues can also help keep us protected. For instance, micro and macro algae is an antioxidant rich algae which absorbs large amounts of UVA/UVB (including blue light!) - meaning it works to protect your skin and reverse the signs of photoaging.

Another beneficial ingredient to arm the skin is Plum Kernel Oil – filled with antioxidants to help calm free radical damage and build back our skin barrier to its healthiest and happiest form. Or, we could opt for the Vemel Advanced Protective Serum, which combines the anti-inflammatory power of micro and macro algae as well as Plum Kernel Oil, Amaranth CO2 Extract and even Blueberry and Cherry Seed Oils – making it a powerhouse of ingredients designed to protect the skin from blue light damage and give us back our youthful glow – all in a single bottle. So whilst we might not be able to avoid the sun, or blue light – we can protect ourselves from any potential damage caused by it, whilst reaping all the rewards instead. 


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