Your Expert Guide To Anti-Pollution Skincare

By generating free radicals, city pollution can speed up signs of aging and cause general havoc. Here’s how to take care of your skin to do damage control.

You probably learned the basic rules of how to take care of your skin many moons ago: Use moisturizer, wear sunscreen and never go to sleep without washing off your makeup. But chances are you haven’t given much thought to the harmful effects of the stuff that’s floating around in the air. The truth is, the environmental pollutants we face all the time—from cigarette smoke to smog to car fumes—are a serious beauty bummer. Luckily, you can call on skincare heroes, like the best vitamin C serum we know, for protection. Read on for our top beauty tips. (Psst! Pass them on.)

  1. TOP UP YOUR ANTIOXIDANTS.

Environmental factors, including both sun exposure and pollution, can cause a spike in free radicals. What are free radicals? They’re a type of unstable and highly reactive molecule that’s missing an electron—so they’ll try to steal an electron from a neighbouring cell, causing damage.

Enter: antioxidants, which you can think of as your personal peacekeepers. They’re stable molecules that can safely donate an electron, basically telling free radicals “You need to calm down.” They are many different types of antioxidants, but vitamin C is an especially potent one. Beyond its ability to neutralize rampaging free radicals, vitamin C benefits for skin include major collagen-boosting and brightening power, too. So over time, you can expect a more youthful looking, more glowy, more even-toned complexion. You can score a high dose of vitamin C benefits for skin in L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR Vitamin C Serum, which features a 10% pure concentrate.

  1. PURIFY WITH CHARCOAL.

If you don’t know how to take care of your skin and cleanse well, you could have more than a little dirt on the surface of your face: Some air pollution particles are so tiny, they’ll easily sneak right down into your pores, where they can cause inflammation, age spots and wrinkles. So, in addition to washing thoroughly, especially at night, you’ll want to do a deeper clean with the right kind of mask three times a week. L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Cleansing Mask for Dull Skin is a smart choice since it stars purifying charcoal, an increasingly popular ingredient that’s capable of drawing out all kinds of gunk—pollutants, grime and excess oil—from your pores.

  1. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY SKIN BARRIER.

Your skin’s biggest job is to act as a physical barrier against unwanted matter—pollution included—and it can’t ace that job unless it’s healthy and well hydrated. That’s because dryness can wear down your skin’s barrier function. (Just think of the flakiness you face in the dead of winter.) So finding a moisturizer you love is an essential part of how to take care of your skin and keep it in tip-top condition.

For daytime, go for a moisturizer that comes with a built-in SPF, which is also crucial for the long-term health of your skin. After all, the best anti-aging moisturizer is actually (surprise!) sunscreen. With its multi-duty benefits, L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Day Cream SPF 25 will cover all your bases.

For nighttime, look for a great hyaluronic acid moisturizer, such as L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR Intensive Anti-Aging Moisturizer. If you’re not yet acquainted with this expert-approved ingredient, hyaluronic acid benefits include keeping your skin dewy and plump-looking. As a type of naturally occurring sugar (your skin produces it but makes less and less as you age), hyaluronic acid is famously able to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. This means it’ll give you tons of hydration, even in a formula that feels deceptively lightweight.

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