As we step outside and engage in our daily lives, we are often unaware of the silent threat that looms over our skin – air pollution. The haze of exhaust fumes, industrial emissions, and fine particulate matter may seem harmless, but in reality, pack a powerful punch when it comes to our skin’s health and appearance. In this blog post, we will explore the intricate relationship between air pollution and our skin, the mechanisms at play, and provide actionable insights and tips on how to protect and restore your skin.
How does air pollution affect skin?
Picture this: your skin is a fortress, guarding against environmental invaders. However, like any stronghold, it can be breached. Air pollution introduces an invisible intruder known as oxidative stress, a process that tips the balance between harmful free radicals which are formed on the skin by air pollution and the body’s naturally produced antioxidants’ ability to neutralize them. These free radicals wage a war against healthy skin cells, causing damage at a cellular level.
In response to this assault, our body’s defense mechanisms kick into high gear triggering an inflammatory cascade. The resultant inflammation is like a red flag signaling the existence of a problem. Although it is a natural response, chronic inflammation triggered by air pollutants can lead to a host of skin issues from acne formation, premature aging (fine lines and wrinkles), and an overall dullness in appearance. 
What, if any, impact does air pollution have on the skin barrier?
The short answer is LOTS! Imagine your skin barrier as a sturdy, protective shield made up of a complex matrix of lipids and proteins that keeps moisture in and harmful substances out. Air pollutants, unfortunately, have a knack for breaking down this defensive shield. Fine particulate matter (PM), i.e., tiny particles suspended in the air, can infiltrate the skin’s outermost layer, disrupting the barrier’s integrity.
Once compromised, the skin becomes susceptible to moisture loss and the penetration of more pollutants. This can lead to a vicious cycle of chronic dryness, irritation, and sensitivity, making your skin prone to redness and discomfort. 
What exactly is particulate matter?
Glad you asked! Think of particulate matter as microscopic troublemakers on a mission to wreak havoc on your skin. These tiny particles are classified by size with PM 2.5 being the most notorious in terms of negative impact on the skin. To put it in perspective, the size of PM 2.5 particles is equivalent to about 3% of the diameter of a strand of human hair. Their miniscule size enables them to penetrate deep into the skin, causing cellular damage and triggering skin barrier-damaging inflammation. 
Is there a way of fighting off these invisible skin-wrecking barbarians?
We will now introduce a hero into our narrative – antioxidants. Imagine antioxidants as being knights that protect your body’s castle walls (skin barrier). These knights seek out and neutralize free radicals to prevent them from causing damage. Vitamins like C and E, along with other varieties of antioxidants, play a pivotal role in scavenging free radicals and preventing skin barrier-damaging oxidative stress. Incorporating antioxidant-rich skincare products into one’s daily regimen can bolster skin’s defense against air pollution-induced damage. 
So, air pollution is not only bad for my respiratory system?
Air pollution does not discriminate by only damaging your lungs. It impacts various skin concerns also. For acne-prone individuals, pollution-induced inflammation can exacerbate breakouts in terms of frequency and severity. Premature aging is also a concern since oxidative stress breaks down collagen and elastin, leading to fine line, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Dullness also enters into the equation as pollutants rob your skin of its natural radiance.
Can a person both treat and protect their skin from air pollution?
Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can be used to treat and protect skin from air pollution. These include:
- Double Cleansing: Start and end your daily skincare routine by cleansing your skin with a gentle oil-based cleanser like BIA® GENTLE CLEANSING OIL and water-based cleanser like ANTU® REFRESHING GEL CLEANSER. This ensures the thorough removal of pollutants from the surface of the skin without stripping it of essential moisture.
- Antioxidant Serums: Integrate serums rich in potent antioxidants into your skincare regimen to bolster your skin’s natural antioxidant defenses like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SERUM. The antioxidants in these serums scavenge and neutralize oxidative stress-causing free radicals, counteracting the effects of oxidative stress and restoring radiance.
- Barrier Repair Creams: Look for moisturizers packed with ceramides, fatty acids, and hyaluronic acid to fortify your skin barrier and prevent moisture loss. The ANTU® SKIN BARRIER MOISTURIZER intended for daytime use, and ANTU® SKIN BARRIER NIGHT CREAM will help to protect and repair your skin barrier both day and night.
- SPF is Non-Negotiable: Sunscreen use is no longer meant only for sunny days. UV rays compound the damage caused by air pollution as they too trigger free radical formation and resultant oxidative stress. Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects from both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30.
- Exfoliate Regularly: Gentle exfoliation helps to remove the layer of pollutants and dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin’s surface and clog up your pores. Be sure to use a gentle exfoliator to reduce the likelihood of irritation, especially for those with inherently sensitive skin.
- Antioxidant-Rich Diet: Just as antioxidants benefit your skin when applied topically, they also perform wonders for your skin from within when included in your diet. Berries, leafy greens, and nuts are excellent sources of antioxidants.
- Antioxidant-Rich Supplements: If regular consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is not always an option, you may want to consider supplements with potent antioxidant ingredients such as Vitamins C, E and resveratrol. If the supplements also happen to have auxiliary ingredients that help to restore and fortify the skin barrier, then by all means opt for those like our ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SUPPORT SUPPLEMENT.
- Hydration is Key: Drinking enough water on a daily basis keeps your skin hydrated from the inside out, thereby helping your skin in its natural detoxification process.
- Create a Pollution Barrier: Consider skincare products containing technology capable of forming a protective shield against pollution such as our patented AntuComplex® described in greater detail below.
Does Codex have a solution for dealing with air pollution?
Not only do we have one, but our solution was specifically developed by our research scientists to address the issue of oxidative stress caused by skin’s daily exposure to both air pollution and the sun’s harmful UV rays. Our ANTU® COLLECTION was specifically designed to combat oxidative stress in order to help repair and protect the skin barrier. Our scientists’ solution, which we call AntuComplex®, for combating oxidative stress caused by, among other things, air pollution was deemed to be so unique and innovative that it merited the granting of a patent by the United States Patent Office!
Not only does our patented AntuComplex® contain our powerfully potent M3® antioxidants derived from exotic plants indigenous to the Patagonian region of Chile, but the technology was also specifically designed to provide a protective physical barrier against air borne pollutants by virtue of its film forming properties. Clinical studies have established the film’s ability to prevent air pollutants from contacting your skin. How do we know? Because, as you can see below, we have the clinical data to prove it.
The fact that the film is also infused with potent M3® antioxidants capable of neutralizing air pollutants trapped within the film, further enhances the technology’s pollution protecting properties.
The film also has the ability to promote the penetration of our pollution-neutralizing active ingredients (M3® antioxidants) into the skin. In short, the ability of this technology to achieve the holy grail of: (a) trapping pollutants to prevent them from touching the skin, (b) neutralizing air pollutants trapped in the film, and (c) promoting penetration of actives into the skin to neutralize any pollutants that may have avoided the protective shield (no technology is perfect), makes our patented AntuComplex® the go-to technology when it comes to protecting skin from the damaging effects of air pollution.
If your serious about wanting to protect your skin from oxidative stress-inducing damage, you should really make it a point to give our ANTU® COLLECTION a try. You won’t be disappointed. How do we know? Because, as always, we have the clinical data to prove it!
In our modern world, air pollution is an omnipresent challenge that demands attention. Armed with the knowledge of how pollutants disrupt our skin’s harmony, we can take proactive steps to mitigate their effects. By embracing a skincare routine rich in powerful antioxidants, nurturing our skin barrier, and following protective measures, we can navigate our outdoor landscape while maintaining the health and radiance of our skin. Remember, although we can’t eliminate air pollution from our daily lives, we can certainly empower ourselves to safeguard our skin’s vitality and beauty.