This New Skin Care Trend Wants to Protect You From Yet Another Thing You Need to Live

Rachel Krause
This New Skin Care Trend Wants to Protect You From Yet Another Thing You Need to Live

Breathe easy: There’s a new trend in skin care, and its purpose is to protect you from yet another thing you need to sustain life. First it was sun, then it was water, and now, they’re coming for your air. Oh, what a time to be alive! Air pollution as a good-skin saboteur isn’t a new concept, and neither is the idea that you need something to defend your face against so-called “environmental stressors.”

But new research has shown that it’s way worse than originally believed—big-city commuters, for starters, inhale on average 300 times more free radicals from airborne pollution than they would by smoking a cigarette. It’s no coincidence that New York, with its long commute times, countless cars and buses, and constant exposure to low-quality air, was named the most wrinkle-prone state. The development of dark spots, too, has been tied to traffic-related air pollution.

With the skin being the body’s largest organ and all, it’s constantly absorbing whatever terrible, terrible things are floating around in the air, too, and no amount of micellar water is going to coax them out from deep within your pores. (Nope, not even this one.) Not to be dramatic, but free radicals are your skin’s worst enemy: They are very good for encouraging dryness, premature signs of aging, sensitivity, dullness, inflammation, and a few other things you’d never, ever want for your skin.

So that’s where the need for protection comes in. Mind you, the skin comes naturally equipped with antioxidants, which are the key to fighting free radicals, but when they’re filtering out those molecules all day, every day, it’s inevitable that they become weakened over time. Things have changed. They’re trying their best, but their best isn’t good enough, especially when air pollution is worse than ever. (Seriously, sooooo bad.)

The upside is that a growing demand for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory products that safeguard skin from environmental damage has resulted in a growing market for those very formulations. Anti-pollution skin care is popping up everywhere, with more brands joining the slew each day. Yes, the unprecedented need for this kind of protection says a sad, sad thing about the state of the planet, but if you can’t singlehandedly save the world, it’s OK to concentrate on saving your skin for now instead. Baaaaaby steps.