Skin is the largest organ of the body. It’s the single organ which takes the major brunt of pollution.
Pollution in all forms effects the well being of our health. The most damaging of them all on the skin is air pollution. Rapid industrialization and increased fuel and energy consumption and decreased damage correction add to the damage.
Even though there are various sources of pollutants the most important ones are ultraviolet radiation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, oxides, particulate matter,ozone and cigarette smoke.
Air pollutants get absorbed directly through the skin or through hair follicles and or oil glands.
The major effect of pollutants on the skin is increased oxidative stress. There is a depletion of antioxidants like glutathione peroxidase,reductase, superoxide dismutase, VitC,E, and glutathione. The increase in free radicals causes cell damage which in turn increases oxidative stress thereby creating a vicious cycle. This, inturn, results in a cascade of reactions whose ultimate effect is on collagen and elastin damage.
How does sunlight damage?
We all know UV light is harmful to skin especially the shorter wavelength light. Because of depletion of ozone layer the penetration of shorter wavelength light has increased which is damaging the structure and function of skin cells. Aging as theprocess is caused by UVA majorly and with acombination of pollutants like particulate matter and PAHC,nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide,co2 etc not only increase oxidative damage but also cause reflection of light which causes an additive effect of sun damage on theskin.
Smoking and skin:
Cigarette smoke is a complex of aerosols which have thousands of chemical substances which not only causes oxidative damage from outside but also when inhaled causes numbing of all antioxidant pathways and thereby increases damage and reduces repair process.
Smokers skin have specific features few of which are
- Dryness which doesn’t get corrected by drinking water or applying moisturizers.
- Early onset of fine and coarse wrinkles especially around eyes and mouth.
- The skin has an orange-purple tinge or grey color.
- Bony prominences become more evident.
- Smokers comedones: comedones or black and whiteheads seen specifically around eyes.
Many more specific changes can be seen in the mouth and tongue.
This implies that both active and passive smoking causes premature aging.
Smoke from fuel,wood,automobile exhaust, plastics, dyes etchave polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which cause aging, pigmentation problems, acneiform eruptions etc..
Ozone after interacting with sunlight, hydrocarbons and other chemicals form the photochemical smog which reduces 70% of VitE in the skin. It also reduces Vit c and normal bacterial flora in theskin which disrupts barrier function of theskin and makes it more prone to damage and pigmentation.
How to SafeGuard
The first step is, of course, make a conscious effort on apersonal level to reduce pollution.
- Use a barrier repair cleanser which restores the ph balance of skin thereby maintain the barrier function and also helps prevent damage.
- Use of physical sunscreens is the key, they work on the basis of reflection of sunlight and also act as a protective layer so as to prevent the pollutants from entering the skin. Off late physical sunscreens have become cosmetically acceptable and less greasy. Hence one can consult their physician for help.
- Replenishing skin barrier during the night with Vit C and E, retinol creams and moisturizers help to recover from day to day damage.
Medical help:/ Our help for such issues:
- At Skinclan we access your skin and run few blood test to determine your micro nutrition levels and determine the oxidative stress.
- Oral antioxidants may be prescribed after considering the test reports and lifestyle.
- skin care routine with sunscreen and repair creams are advised.
At SkinClan, we have a range of chemical peels which help
- Exfoliate dead skinwhich inturn restores skin cycle.
- Reduce water loss thus restores hydration
- Increases collagen production thereby reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
A cocktail of nutrients and peptides are infused into the skin, either by using theradiofrequency or microneedling technique. This helpsrestore the lost VitE and VitC in theskin so as to help the skin to combat damage. This can be done on weekly or monthly basis depending on the grade of photodamage and age of the patient.
Lasers are the safest and most effective way of rejuvenating once skin in terms of color, fine lines and also texture.
At SkinClan, we use LumenisResurFx which helps restore all aspects of skin damage in one session. It has the least downtime and acts on correcting all levels of damage from oxidative stress by new collagen formation.
Take home message
If your skin feels dry, dull, rough, aged… donot pass it as stress, lack of food habits, sleep or water intake. Do remember that external environment is as important and act before its too late.
Aging can only be prevented and not fully corrected…. Book an appointment to know more