In the UAE, we can all agree; it’s hard to maintain good skin. No matter how much skincare products or lifestyle practices we consider to protect it, the air quality surrounding us during most parts of the day still gets under our skin, literally and metaphorically.

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Whether ‘you’re outdoors or indoors, the pollution in the air makes it no easy task to maintain our skin, healthwise, and aesthetically. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we have to accept that pollution is damaging our skin. There are ways and things we can do to stop or minimize their effects.

About Air Pollution

Air Pollution and skin

Air pollution refers to the gases or particles released into the air by activities that contribute to auto exhaust, manufacturing processes, chemical and petroleum refineries, cigarette smoke, and many others.

These are all things the UAE has an abundance of and in 2019, multiple reports have stated that the level of pollution in the air quality of UAE is a cause for significant concern. The dirt, toxins, and gas emissions in our air, is not only unhealthy to breathe but can damage your skin in several ways.

The fact that its extremely hot, especially during this time of the year can only make matters worse. 

The Effects of Air Pollution on The Skin

Air Pollution and skin

Gaseous airborne pollutants firstly damage the surface of the skin, before penetrating deeper and entering into your body. Pollutants are so small that they can get deep into your pores, causing damage in the form of acne breakouts, inflammation, redness, dry skin, as well as wrinkling.

Air pollution, along with sun damage, can make you age much faster than you should. Your skin will become darker in colour, wrinkles will form very easily, and is almost impossible to reverse.

When air pollutants are constantly attacking your skin, not only does your skin quality deteriorates, but it can also cause you health problems in the long term.

Air pollution also poses the risk of aggravating persisting health issues such as asthma, eczema, sun damage, and other health complications. Overexposure and a lack of treatment to counteract the effects of air pollution on the skin can cause:

  • Uneven and dull skin tone
  • Loss of the skins supporting elements that prevent wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Sensitive and red skin
  • Dry and flakey skin

How to Protect Skin from the Effects of Air Pollution

Air Pollution and skin
  • Cleanse and moisturise – You ‘Shouldn’t be showering more than twice a day. So when you do, make sure ‘you’ve got a cleanser that can clean out your pores and restore natural balance to your skin. Cleansing products with antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, are great in replenishing and repairing damaged skin cells from air pollution damage. Make sure you moisturize as well if you tend to have dry skin.
  • Stay indoors when the air gets bad – Some days are worse than others. It can be due to heavy congestion on the streets, or maybe because of extremely hot weather. No matter what the problem is, plan and try your best to stay indoors. If you notice the air quality ‘isn’t the best on a certain day, its best to avoid it altogether and stay indoors.
  • Cover up – When going outside, make sure you cover up your body with sufficient clothing, especially if you have sensitive skin. Clothing can be thin and loose to keep you cool, but just enough to cover the first layer of your skin from coming in contact with polluted air.
  • Use an air purifier – more hardware and convenience stores are now selling air purifiers for people to install in their homes or workspaces. This is a great item to have as it filters the bacteria and germs in the air so you can breathe clean, and fresh air at all times. 

The Bigger Picture

Air Pollution and skin

It is an integral part of our health to make sure we are taking precautions and every measure we can see in terms of protecting and treating our skin from the damages of air pollution. But at the same time, we need to see the bigger picture.

Looking after your health in regards to air pollution is one thing, but we should be thinking of ways on how society as a whole can slow down and minimize the level of pollution in our air.

Industrial production, wastage, and auto-exhaust are all things that can be minimized should we put in a bigger effort. We need to explore and give cleaner and more efficient energy a chance should we want to improve our air quality for future generations. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.