What's Invisible, But Has a Huge Impact on Your Skin?

What's Invisible, But Has a Huge Impact on Your Skin?

We can all see that the world around us is constantly changing - from flash floods to heat waves and more, every year seems to bring with it a whole new slew of unexpected events. However, there’s one more thing that’s ever-changing that isn’t as visible (and easy to forget about) - I’m talking about pollution, and the toxic elements in our environments that haven’t fully evolved yet.

It’s easy to brush off something that isn’t obviously penetrating our senses in Nashville, but here’s how pollution can impact your health:  

  • Six and-a-half million — that’s the combined number of deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution. That number has more than doubled since 2012.

  • In Europe, 1 year of life expectancy is lost for every person due to exposure to particulate matter (PM) from air pollution. This is mostly due to the increased risk of heart and lung diseases.

And, let’s not forget about your skin’s health. The effects of pollution on our skin are also profound and seen as responsible for an increased risk of skin cancer, skin sensitivity, premature skin aging, discoloration, dryness, dullness, and roughness. While there isn’t a lot of in-depth research looking at the relationship between air pollution and skin health, the evidence does show us that skin hydration and skin barrier function are the most significant threats.

Here are some anti-pollution measures you can take in Nashville to protect and restore your skin:

  • Cleansing: We recommend a 2-step process for cleansing. The first is using a cleansing wipe or makeup remover pad and a second pass or wash with a cleanser to remove any remaining makeup, dirt, grime or pollution left on the skin. Cleansing brushes work better than just using your hands to wash your face.

  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Orally in doses of 500 to 750 mg twice daily is one of the hardest working ingredients and is at the top of the list in being able to successfully reduce the negative effects of urban dust, cigarette smoke, diesel dust and benzo-a-pyrene. It also strengthens the skin barrier and actively repairs UV damage – giving your skin all-round protection against environmental stresses

  • Hydration: By drinking water and using excellent skin products, you’ll ensure the skin functions at its best in protecting and strengthening the natural skin barrier.

  • UV Protection: It is still one of the biggest environmental stressors. An SPF product should always be part of the daily skin care routine. Shop our favorite sunscreens here.

  • Antioxidants: You can take this in both topical and oral forms. These include Vitamin A, C, D, B-complex and B3.

Unfortunately, pollution only looks to be gradually worsening (even in Nashville) - and by cleansing your skin well, using products that have tested against common toxins in pollution and consuming a diet high in oxidants, you can actively take steps to protect your skin’s health in the long run.

Need help with figuring out how to protect your skin from pollution? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD