City girls, listen up. Rising levels of pollution are now the second biggest cause of premature skin ageing after sun damage. That puts you at a risk of looking up to five times older than your rural counterparts. People who live in cities are exposed to tiny particles of pollution from industrial and vehicular exhaust, cigarettes, power plants, construction sites and ozone pollution on a daily basis.
These particles come in different sizes, but it is particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that is cause for concern. Smaller than a strand of hair (which is 70 micrometers) PM2.5 pollutants easily enter pores creating free radicals, causing inflammation, dehydration, breaking down collagen and damaging the skin’s lipid barrier. All this leads to dark spots, loss of elasticity and firmness, and an uneven skin tone – all known indicators of ageing skin.
But it’s not just pollution that’s causing havoc with your skin. Blue light (also known as High Energy Visible Light or HEV) emitted from our phones, tablets, computers and laptops also harms the skin and contributes to ageing by accelerating the oxidation process thus creating free radicals causing hyperpigmentation and compromising the skin barrier.
It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to move to the hills or put down your phone and stop using your laptop any time soon. So how do you keep your skin healthy in the face of external aggressors?
1. Cleanse thoroughly
With everything that your skin is exposed to during the day, it is extremely important to cleanse your face before bed. Make sure to remove all your makeup and sunscreen with a makeup remover and then use a milk or foam cleanser for a gentle second cleanse to ensure every bit of dirt and makeup has been removed. Two to three times a week, detox and exfoliate the skin with a treatment like the Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel. Packed with 10 per cent glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), it gently exfoliates surface skin cells that are exposed to pollution and accelerates skin cell turn over for brighter, more even toned skin. Vitamin C and licorice root extract give skin a glow while fighting free radicals and soothing skin irritation respectively.
It is probably my favourite product in the range. Instead of swiping the towelette all over my face, neck and chest as instructed, I prefer to dab it all over my face, finishing with the neck and chest. If you haven’t used any acids, or glycolic acid before this, you need to start slow – maybe just once a week – till your skin adjusts to it. I’ve used to glycolic acid before, but I find my skin is always brighter, smoother and softer after I’ve used the Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel. It’s essential to always, always use a sunscreen if you’re using any acids at night.
2. Minimise damage
While there is no escaping pollution during the day and all the damage it causes, there is a way to minimise the harmful effects it has on your skin. Since particulate matter enters the pores and causes the formation of free radicals, the best way to combat this is with antioxidants. Free radicals are rogue, unstable molecules that attach themselves to healthy cells in order to stabilise themselves, creating another unstable molecule in the process. It’s this domino effect that leads to degradation of collagen and elastin, which shows up as loss of elasticity, dull skin and fine lines. Antioxidants are able to donate electrons to stabilise free radicals while remaining stable themselves, thus stopping the damage.
The Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturiser is full of nourishing ingredients and antioxidants to curb the damage caused by pollution and blue light. Antioxidants from Marrubium Plant Stem-Cells neutralise toxins while strengthening the skin’s natural defences. Concentrated vitamin C, another potent antioxidant, not only tackles free radicals, it also minimises sun damage, brightens and evens skin tone. And a botanical blend of sunflower, cucumber, and barley, restore hydration plumping lines, giving skin a youthful look.
I absolutely love the packaging of this cream! The push-down dispenser keeps things really hygienic and pumps out just the right amount of cream. Incredibly lightweight, the Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturiser immediately sinks into the skin. I would have preferred a slightly richer texture, but that’s just me. I always find my skin calm and smooth in the mornings after I’ve used this. Any fine lines that are exacerbated due to external stressors are softer and my skin hydrated.
3. Protect, protect, protect
Whether you’re stepping out or working from home, it’s extremely important to protect your skin from external aggressors. The Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum Protection SPF 50 has lutein, an antioxidant carotenoid to protect the skin from blue light; a unique polymer matrix that prevents particulate matter from sticking to and penetrating the skin; iron oxides, zinc oxide and titanium oxide that protect the skin from infrared radiation, UVA and UVB rays. Not only is it literally a shield against all the skincare villains, it is light, doesn’t leave a white cast, and makeup sits well over it. Which is why I am so sad I cannot use it as my skin reacts to mineral sunscreens. However, if your skin behaves will with mineral sunscreens, I would urge you to go get this one.
In an ideal world, I’d wear a face mask invented to keep pollution and UV rays from damaging my skin, just like there’s one for my lungs. But till then the best way to minimise the damage is with the right skincare routine and the Murad City Skin range has you protected.
Murad’s City Skin range is available at MuradSpace at Robinsons the Heeren, BHG Jurong at Jurong Point Shopping Center, all Sephora stores, all Body Contour Premier Spa Centers and Passage New York Spa in Singapore.
These products were sent to me to review. I take my anti-pollution skincare regimen seriously, which is why I am recommending these to you.