If you thought sleeping in your make-up and sunning it up in St Tropez was the worst of your complexion worries, think again. According to the latest studies, air pollution is the biggest threat to our skin since Christina Aguilera brought back the Brooke Shields sunbed tan. Thanks for that one btw.
And with London's air pollution levels at their worst EVER (seriously, marathon runners are being warned not to train outside) and new research from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showing that pollution accounts for up to 50% of skin's ageing, it's time to take action beauty style.
So what's the science?
Particles from air pollution aka free radicals penetrate the skin's epidermis. This leads to the breakdown of the collagen matrix resulting in less plump looking skin. Not good.
What can we do?
Use products containing high levels of strong antioxidants such as spirulina algae and green tea extract to neutralise free radicals before they cause damage.
So arm yourself with these urban beauty warriors to give your complexion a fighting chance (and learn some fun facts about air pollution along the way).
Murad Environmental Shield Intensive-C Radiance Peel, £49.50
This intensive face peel dramatically reverses environmental ageing cause by sun, smog and stress using vitamin C and Indian fig to protect against free radical damage, giving you a youthful glow.
Wondering which pollution-busting moisturiser is best for your skin type? This quiz will tell you...
Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen, £32
The perfect way to protect your skin and have a flawless base, Clarins' UV powerhouse now comes in three skin-perfecting tints. With a 100% mineral filter and a snazzy patented anti-pollution complex, this foundation replacer fights free radicals (the horrible things responsible for DNA damage) with organic Cantaloupe (that's melon to you and me).
FUN FACT: It’s not just a skin thing. Pollution is one of the biggest global killers affecting over 100 million people worldwide.
Orico Streetwise Oxygenating Day Cream, £28
This organic day cream does what it says on the tin aka it stays street wise so your skin doesn't have to. Fighting off urban pollution with a clinical bioactive and all-natural antioxidants like Macadamia nut and Argan oil, your skin will feel smoother, less wrinkly and more radiant. Win.
FUN FACT: Now back to chemistry class; “Air pollution” is made up of everything from ‘urban dust’, diesel exhaust, coal extract and PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter to you and me.) Some of these particles have over 150 chemicals attached to them and it’s these chemicals that scientists see as the main threat to the skin.
Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF30, £31
An oil free daily protecting cream that protects against three major causes of skin cell damage: UV Rays, oxidation and over production of sebum. In short, a shine-free cream that fights for your skin instead of against it.
FUN FACT: Only 12% of urbanites worldwide live in cities that comply with World Health Organisiation air quality standards with 9 cities in the UK (including London, Leeds and Birmingham), breaching safety levels.
Intensely moisturising, this anti-ageing cream will help heal the daily wear and tear the environment takes on your skin.
FUN FACT: A clinical study conducted by Olay and leading derms found that not only does air pollution affect skin barrier function and hydration it dramatically increases the rate of wrinkling.
Proven to remove 30 times more pollution than normal cleansing, Clarisonic's state-of-the-art electric cleanser is the ultimate in grime-busting.