The human body is like a complex machine that interacts with the environment in many ways. Just like a car’s engine, the body has many internal parts that work together to keep us healthy and functioning. However, just as a car’s engine is affected by the quality of the fuel, oil, and other substances it uses, so too is the human body affected by the environment in which it operates.
In recent years, scientists have begun to pay more attention to the exposome, which is the collection of environmental factors that a person’s body is exposed to over their lifetime. These factors include things like UV radiation from sunlight, air pollution, chemicals present in various consumer products, diet, and stress that can negatively impact the health and appearance of our skin. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the exposome, how it damages the skin, and provide some tips on ways to treat and protect your skin.
What is the exposome?
The exposome refers to the totality of environmental exposures that an individual experiences throughout their lifetime, including lifestyle factors, social and economic conditions, physical and chemical pollutants, and other external stressors.
Exposures from the exposome can affect the skin through various mechanisms, such as inducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage, which can lead to premature aging, skin disease, and even skin cancer. For example, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major contributor to the exposome and can cause DNA damage and oxidative stress in skin cells, leading to the development of skin cancer and premature skin aging. Other factors such as pollution, tobacco smoke, and dietary factors can also have negative impacts on skin health. Understanding and mitigating the effects of the exposome on the skin is an important area of research for improving skin health and preventing skin disease. 
How does the exposome damage a person’s skin?
The exposome can damage the skin in various ways, and here are a few analogies to help explain some of the mechanisms:
- Think of your skin as a piece of paper. If you expose the paper to the sun, it will gradually become discolored, brittle, and fragile. Similarly, exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause the skin to lose its elasticity, develop wrinkles, and become prone to damage and injury.
- The skin is like a suit of armor that protects the body from external threats. However, if you continuously scratch, poke, and wear down the armor, it will eventually become weaker and more susceptible to damage. In the same way, exposure to environmental pollutants, toxins, and irritants can weaken the skin’s barrier function and make it more vulnerable to inflammation, infection, and other skin diseases.
- Imagine that the skin is like a garden, and the cells within it are delicate flowers that need water, nutrients, and sunlight to thrive. However, if you overexpose the garden to harsh elements like heat, wind, and pollution, the flowers will wither and die. Similarly, exposure to environmental stressors like UV radiation, pollution, and tobacco smoke can cause skin cells to become damaged, leading to premature aging, discoloration, and even skin cancer.
Overall, the exposome can damage the skin in many ways which is why it’s so important to treat exposome-damaged skin, protect the skin from these harmful environmental factors, and maintain healthy skin habits. 
Can I treat exposome-damaged skin and avoid further damage?
Here are some tips on how to treat exposome-damaged skin:
- Protect your skin from further damage. The first step to treating exposome-damaged skin is to protect it from further damage. This means limiting your exposure to harmful environmental factors such as pollution, UV radiation, and tobacco smoke. Wear protective clothing, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Hydrate and nourish your skin. Hydrating and nourishing your skin is essential to repairing and restoring its natural barrier function. Use a gentle, microbiome-friendly moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid that hydrates your skin and locks in the moisture like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER MOISTURIZER which not only moisturizes your skin, but also protects it against 92% of air pollutants! You may also want to consider using an exceptionally decadent, deeply nourishing moisturizer prior to bed for accelerated night time recovery like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER NIGHT CREAM to turbo-charge the repair and restoration of your skin barrier.
- Use antioxidants. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can help to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation caused by UV exposure and pollution while protecting your skin from further damage. Look for microbiome-friendly serums like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SERUM with its patented ANTUCOMPLEX® based on a combination of potent Matico, Maqui, and Murtilla (M3™)
- Exfoliate regularly. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover which can improve the appearance and texture of your skin. However, be gentle with your skin and avoid over-exfoliating, as this can damage the skin’s natural barrier function. Use a mild, microbiome-friendly exfoliant once or twice a week that contains alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids like ANTU® TONING RADIANCE MIST or SHAANT® BALANCING REFINING TONER.
- Manage stress. Practice stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to reduce inflammation and protect your skin. You may also want to introduce stress-relieving supplements into your daily skincare regimen like SHAANT® SKIN DE-STRESS DIETARY SUPPLEMENT with its anti-inflammatory, stress-, metabolism-, and hormone-supporting dietary ingredients.
Overall, treating exposome-damaged skin requires a comprehensive approach that includes: protecting skin from further damage; hydrating and nourishing the skin; using antioxidants; exfoliating regularly; and possibly even considering professional treatment. 
The exposome is an essential concept to understand when it comes to skin health. By taking steps to protect your skin from the damaging effects of environmental factors, especially sunlight and pollution, you can maintain a healthy and youthful complexion. Remember to wear sunscreen, avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, use gentle products, stay hydrated, and manage stress to protect your skin from the exposome.