We all hear repeatedly how environmental conditions such as sun, smoking, and smog accelerate the skin aging process, but we do not really know how this happens. Here is something to think about: if environmental pollution can damage the ozone layer, several kilometers over our heads, imagine what it does to the skin layer protecting the human body.
"Environmental pollution", two words appearing almost on every moisturizing cream, covers different types of hazards surrounding us together with the oxygen that is vital for life on earth. It is environmental pollution that causes us to look older and modifies DNA in a way that can affect future generations.
Life in an urban environment
The soot that is discharged in the air from vehicles, together with the dust particles and dirt in the air, settles on our skin and accumulates on our pores. When this mixes with the natural oil that the skin secretes, it creates on the skin a microscopic film of polluted substances. Alongside the soot, every day a large number of acids, and gases, and toxic substances, that are produced because we are an industrial society, are discharged into the air. These substances are imprisoned in the atmosphere, namely, they remain in the air that surrounds us and harm our skin in a process called "oxidization", precisely in the same way that corrosion harms metal and pollution harms buildings' envelopes. After a short period of environmental pollution damage, the face looks like dry poppy seed cake, with black specks (blackheads), faded, flaccid, old and lifeless.
Today modern cosmetic products must contain ingredients that will protect the face from environmental pollution. The skin requires special treatment because it is under combined attack from air pollution, and radiation from various sources such as computers, neon lighting, sun etc. Add to this the noise elements that create disquiet and a high stress level and you will receive a serious attack on the health of the largest body organ -the skin
The reason to fear urban influences does not have to be only because of "where we live" but also "how we live". The urban way of life dictates the three "S" hazards - sun, stress, smoking which also come into the environmental pollution category. Solar radiation- in an urban environment is more dangerous because of the refraction of the UV rays on the glass buildings. Smoking-Smokers live everywhere in the city or in the countryside. However, the population density and stagnant air increase the danger of "secondhand" smoke. Stress- Above all it is known that life in the big city is characterized by a high level of stress that includes personal pressures alongside the noise that the big city creates from the noise of traffic, sirens of emergency vehicles, and car alarms that go off without control. Noise that starts early in the morning and continues until the small hours of the night.
An Unending Battle
The world of cosmetics has not yet discovered the one and only product that can deal with so many harmful factors. Today it is clear to all that the way to help the skin maintain its health and prevent damage is to use several personally tailored products on a parallel. One of the immediate ways to deal with environmental pollution is to wash the face twice a day with soap and water. Initial skin cleaning from the layer of pollution covering it is considered "first aid".
The various cosmetic products arrive in the second stage and must be selected according to the following parameters:
Where you live
- crowded cities with high degrees of smog or a rural environment.
- according to the temperature, a hot humid area, or a cold dry environment, and the degrees of solar radiation according to the distance from the Earth's poles.
The way of life
- creates different stress levels in the working environment, in the home, and in the emotional state.
The body's response to environmental pollution.
When exposed over time to environmental pollution the skin itself creates harmful substances. It is true that these substances would have been formed in any case as people grow older, but environmental pollution causes their creation in ever earlier stages of life, and therefore, the accelerated rate of natural aging of the skin and the body is attributed to it.
- at every stage of life the body creates free radicals (that are neutralized by antioxidant substances in the body), but knows how to cope with them. Solar radiation and environmental pollution create an enormous quantity of free radicals; this massive aggression destroys skin balance.
Major exposure to radicals also damages the cell nucleus (DNA). Today it is known that damaged cells are responsible for the creation of pre-cancerous cells and skin cancer. Further damage by radicals occurs in the outside envelope (membrane) of the cells responsible for maintaining the skin's firmness and in the intercellular relationship in the various skin layers. The damage to the cells causes weakening of the regular skin functions such as the damage repair system that works during the night. This system, which in normal conditions can neutralize the influence of the radicals on the skin, cannot withstand the damage loads, does not bring nutrient substances and energy to the damaged cell, and has difficulty in removing the accumulated waste in the skin's water ingredients.
Inflammations and sensitivity
- environmental pollution creates in the skin reactions similar to the penetration of germs through the body's protective layer; the skin must deal with them through increased production of antibodies - as for disease. An inflammatory condition of the skin is expressed by redness and sensitivity, increased dryness, inability to nourish the cells with vital substances and principally with slowing of the activity connected to cell renewal. The number of antibodies that the body can create cannot keep up with the pace of modern life and therefore an increasing number of people suffer from a constant state of inflammation mistakenly called "sensitivity"; its external signs are coarse, red, dry skin that is sensitive to the touch and lifeless.
- the number one factor of skin aging, responsible for changes in the cell nucleus and changing of the genetic characteristics in the DNA, causes change in cells making them cancerous. The results of solar radiation reflected on the face immediately are fragile skin, deep wrinkles, redness (deriving from burning of skin), uneven color (pigmentation stains) and dryness. When the skin cannot maintain a level of moistness, the texture becomes coarse, thick and hard.
In addition, the sun's rays arouse in the skin layers production of the enzyme that harms the firmness and flexibility of Collagen, Elastinthe and fibers by breaking down the protein links of the elastic fibers. Without the support of the elastic net the skin becomes flabby, and sunken, the wrinkles become deeper and the aging process becomes perceptible and visible.
The first front in combating environmental pollution. The cosmetic products spread on the skin give it the almost immediate ability to prevent and neutralize a large part of the dangers. Here is a partial list of effective care components:
Create an external protective envelope on the skin. They absorb the rays that damage the skin or break them, refracting the radiation back into the air.
Nutrient substances for cell renewal. They neutralize free radicals, are vital for the proper functioning of the skin at every single stage.
Create an external protective envelope on the skin. They nourish the skin with the moisture vital for maintaining proper functioning, damage repair and skin layer renewal processes.
Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids
Protect the cell envelope.
A wide variety of extracts produced from fruit and vegetables with a high antioxidant and beta-carotene content prevent oxidation processes.
Plant extracts that soothe inflammation, strengthen the skin's protective system.
Create a protective envelope and cover the skin.