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Anti-pollution skincare: Does it work?

These days, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid exposure to environmental factors like UV rays, free radicals, exhaust, and fumes. Every day, cars, public transportation, computers, and cell phones expose us to pollutants and UV rays that contribute to skin aging, dullness, inflammation, and premature aging. To address this, one of the latest skincare trends is anti-pollution skincare, but what does that actually mean?

What makes a product anti-pollution?

Like many skincare trends, the term anti-pollution is not a regulated claim by the FDA. In general, though, anti-pollution skincare products contain ingredients that protect your skin from damage due to environmental factors. Most of these products contain ingredients like antioxidants, mineral-based SPFs, and components to strengthen the skin barrier. There’s a good chance you might even have a few of these products already incorporated into your skincare routine!


Dust, dirt, and debris from the environment settle on your face throughout the day. Before using any products to help against pollutants, it’s necessary to use a gentle cleanser on your skin every morning and night. If you spend a lot of time outside and live the city life, double cleansing with an oil-based cleanser can remove extra pollutants while still being gentle on your skin.


Serums, toners, or moisturizers that contain antioxidants protect against environmental stressors by neutralizing free radicals. Look for products that contain high concentrations of antioxidants like vitamins C, E, ferulic acid, niacinamide, or green tea extract. 

Pre- and probiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics support your skin’s natural defense – a.k.a. your skin flora. These beneficial bacteria on your skin maintain a healthy pH, prevent pathogens from growing, and support your skin barrier to ward off pollutants, lock in moisture, and protect your skin from external stressors.


UV-rays are pretty much impossible to avoid and are a large contributor to skin aging and damage. Cell phones and computers also emit blue light that can contribute to skin damage over time. Daily application of sunscreen will not only protect your skin from harmful rays but using a mineral-based formula that contains zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide can also create a physical barrier between your skin and environmental pollutants.

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