Air pollution can cause skin damage. Some examples of the effects of pollution on the skin are premature aging and skin irritation to skin cancer. The level of exposure and how long you have been exposed to pollution has a different effect on your skin.
The skin is the body’s largest organ that has the main function as a body protector from foreign objects, such as ultraviolet radiation, chemicals, and germs. You might think that the skin is only exposed to foreign objects and dangerous substances when outside the room or in the work environment. Even so, exposure to hazardous substances can also occur when you are at home when doing daily activities.
Pollution from the Outside Environment
The amount of smoke from motor vehicles, cigarettes, or factories, makes the air contain a variety of pollutants that cause air pollution. Typically, air pollution contains at least six types of pollutants, namely carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate pollution or particulates, and sulfur oxides.
Air pollution has been shown to cause symptoms of respiratory disease and impaired lung function, causing stroke, asthma, and also premature death.
Besides having an impact on your body’s health, pollution also has an impact on your skin. Pollution can trigger skin cancer, because the skin can absorb various pollutants in the air.
Not only that, polluted air can at least cause premature aging of the skin; worsening skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne; can damage DNA in skin cells; interfere with the skin’s ability to produce collagen; can activate certain molecules that cause black spots or skin pigmentation; and cause skin to become dry. The environment around you also often affects the health and appearance of your skin.
Pollution originating from home
If you think air pollution only exists outdoors, it looks like you are mistaken. Because air pollution can be present in your home. Indoor air pollution can be just as bad, or worse than outside.
The pollution in your home comes from at least fungi, pollen from plants, household products, pesticides, gases such as radon and carbon monoxide, and materials used in buildings such as asbestos and lead.
The following are some other dangerous things that might be in your house, including:
- The smell of furniture or building items which we usually refer to as “the smell of new goods”. It usually does disappear within a few weeks, but the emissions it causes can be pollution at home for years.
- Volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, which come from cleaning products and products made from wood and plastic.
- Ozone substances from printer and photocopying machines.
- Asbestos in buildings or old buildings.
- Small fibers from furniture that fly into the air every time you sweep.
- Exhaust fumes from the streets that enter the house.
- Poor ventilation that results in insufficient fresh air in the house, or poor air filtering.
- Cigarette smoke (if someone in your family smokes).
How to treat skin from pollution
Simple, but important, ways we can do to reduce the impact of skin damage from pollution.
Diligent Skin Cleaning
Avoiding pollution can be said to be very impossible, therefore, you should always try to minimize the impact of pollution on your skin. Help the skin by always cleaning it. Wash your face every day with mild soap on the skin. Remove dead skin cells so the skin can form new layers by scrubbing (make sure you don’t use products that make the skin drier), and always apply a moisturizer.
Do not smoke
Smoking causes wrinkled skin, wrinkles on the face, eyelids become sagging, skin coloring becomes uneven, skin becomes rough and dry. Avoid cigarette smoke as much as possible because cigarette smoke can damage the structure of your skin.
The combination of air pollution and ultraviolet (UV) light can multiply the adverse effects of UV radiation on the skin. Therefore, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or more. Your skin needs UV protection to help reduce the risk of skin cancer and signs of premature aging. You can choose sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium dioxide which can block the absorption of ultraviolet light on the skin.
To prevent premature aging due to pollution, you are also advised to consume foods that contain antioxidants. Because antioxidants are believed to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. Some sources of antioxidants include red wine, tea, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, mangoes, oranges, carrots, beans, spinach, asparagus, blueberries, and green vegetables.
Pollution is indeed difficult to avoid, both in open and closed spaces. You will never be fully protected from pollution. Your skin is the first organ that is exposed to all these harmful substances. Therefore, try to always maintain the cleanliness of the environment where you live and work, do skin care, and do not forget to eat healthy foods that are rich in antioxidants. If air pollution is bad for your health and skin, consult your doctor immediately to get the right treatment.