Invisible Stressors That Can Harm Your Skin

Constant exposure to air pollution, ultra-violet rays and even LCD “screen pollution” can take a toll on our skin’s health and compromise our skin’s protective barrier. Here are some handy ways to defend and repair the damage from these invisible stressors.

Nasties in the air

Every day our skin is bombarded by pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from industrial emissions and paint, cigarette smoke, general gunk found in particulate matter and, most common of all, something called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from car exhaust fumes. Scientists tell us that even though our skin acts as a good first defense against air pollutants, prolonged exposure can have profound negative effects on our skin, including advanced signs of aging, deep wrinkles, eczema, acne and even skin cancer.

The Fix: Look for skin care that fortifies the skin barrier and protects us from damaging free radicals that speed up the signs of aging. Botanicals like algae absorb damaging UV rays and detoxify skin, and hemp seed oil works to reduce skin inflammation and irritation from pollutants. To amp up the protection from your daily sunscreen, apply Paula’s Choice Defense Triple Algae Pollution Shield, which combines the power of red, green and brown algae with antioxidant-rich cucumber, grape and bearberry leaf extracts in a creamy gel that acts as a protective barrier against airborne particles.

At night, repair and hydrate your skin with Andalou Naturals CannaCell Dreamy Night Cream, with nourishing hemp seed oil that’s packed with antioxidants like vitamins E, C and B3 that repair environmentally stressed, sun-damaged and dry skin.

A few times a week, detoxify your skin with Pacifica Sea Algae Anti-Pollution Gel Mask, rich in sea kelp, that gently deep cleans skin and battles skin-damaging free radicals with high concentrations of mineral selenium and vitamins B1, B2, C, D and E. Blended with spirulina, a blue green algae, this mask helps bring about faster cell turnover and hydrates to leave skin with a healthy glow.

UVA, UVB, Blue? Troublesome light rays.

We’ve heard the news about damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun, with UVA rays causing skin aging and UVB rays causing burning—so we know to slather on daily sunscreen.

But there’s another type of light that can cause skin damage. Blue light (high energy visible light) is on the light spectrum close to ultraviolet light (UV). It’s emitted from the sun but also from smartphones, laptops, flat screen TVs and LED light fixtures. While the sun’s blue rays are the most prevalent, blue light from our devices is cause for concern because exposure is much closer to our skin than that from the sun. “Digital screen pollution” from concentrated blue light can cause skin damage like inflammation, dark spots and accelerated aging, according to scientific studies.

The Fix: If you work on a computer or are on a smartphone a lot (like most of us!), look for “blue-blocking” skin care that intercepts and shields us from UV light, blue light and pollution. Skin Authority SkinSuit Face protects us with broad-spectrum SPF 50 that blocks UVA and UVB rays and blue light while smoothing and toning skin with vitamin B3, comfrey and chamomile. This lightweight all-in-one lotion comes in a natural tint that blends with your skin tone for sheer coverage and sun protection.

Sonage C Shield Smart Serum delivers powerful skin-saving ingredients deep into the skin with a unique liposomal delivery system that shields us from digital pollution and helps skin look more radiant. This lightweight, water-based serum uses botanical anti-microbials, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, and mandarin and valencia orange-derived vitamin C to fade dark spots.