There’s an ever-increasing awareness that pollution—be it from light, air, or water—can have a direct impact on your complexion. So, it’s important to start guarding against those outdoor toxins the same way you would indoor ones—as in: right now, thank you very much. According to a 2013 study published in Clinical Cosmetology Investigative Dermatology, the sun’s UV rays are responsible for approximately 80 percent of visible facial aging signs, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loss of skin elasticity.
The good news, though, is that there are more products than ever aimed at helping you ward off effects of particulate matter, second-hand smoke, and even HEV blue light. They’re spiked with antioxidant warriors, which help to bind the unpaired electrons (known as free radicals) caused by your surroundings to help them from causing damage. But, different antioxidants have different super powers.
“Green tea helps to diminish damage particularly from UVA rays, while ferulic acid works to scavenge free radicals caused by ambient particulate mater,” says Dendy Engelman, a New York City dermatologist. Other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E also mitigate free radical damage: vitamin C helps to brighten, while vitamin E focuses on smoothing and hydrating.
The most important product in your routine, however, is still sunscreen: Not only does it provide broad spectrum protection from the sun, but a recent study also shows that wearing it on the reg may help reverse skin damage as well. So whether you employ one of these products—or scoop them all up—know that you’re not just spending cash at Sephora, you’re also preventing the environment from hurting your bod’s largest organ, your skin.
Shop 8 star anti-pollution products below.
This jelly face wash contains marula oil, an antioxidant powerhouse that guards against free radicals and also helps to break apart grime on your complexion. And thanks to its pH balance—just 5.9—it won’t strip skin of natural oils.
There aren’t many products you want to apply to an un-washed face, but this is one of them. It’s a pre-cleanser that’s packed with impurity-removing ingredients that aid in getting gunk out of your pores. More importantly, it also contains antioxidants such as chamomile, calendula, and echinacea root that help soothe inflammation.
Like a double cleanse in one sleek bottle, this formula removes makeup both on the surface and impurities beneath the surface. It’s also packed with vitamin E, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and it leaves skin hydrated thanks to organic vegetable glycerin.
Featuring a cool mud-gel hybrid ingredient mix, this face mask uses suspension technology to separate the two main components, which enables the mud to really get the grit out of pores while the hydrating gel leaves skin soft and smooth. This happens thanks to a slew of organic ingredients like quinoa, jojoba oil, and antioxidant squalane. Plus, those two boomerang sponges included for application work great with any face mask or scrub, TBH.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your own beauty is to get some serious beauty sleep. But you can work double duty during that time with this overnight product, which uses the lotus flower’s hydrating properties and a mix of microgreens—think kale and spirulina—to help ward off damage as you snooze.
Many organic, mineral-based SPFs tend to leave a dry, white film behind, but this broad-spectrum protectant goes on silky. It acts almost like a makeup primer, thanks to soothing marigold extract as well as echinacea root, and it has a potent level of brightening vitamin C.
Lips need some love too, so make sure you hydrate and care for your lips the way you would the rest of your complexion. This luxurious balm is loaded with vitamins C and E and it has ultra-hydrating shea butter, which leaves your lips supple and ready for some SPF—and yeah, maybe some red lipstick, too.
A spritz of this mist creates a physical barrier due to a natural saccharide. Zinc and manganese defend from any additional free radicals. Pollution, you’ve just been proofed.