The effects of severe pollution on your health has been pretty well documented in the past. Alarmingly air pollution is responsible for more deaths than HIV or Malaria. 3 million people die each year from it, and it has been linked to heart, and mental health problems. But the effect of even small amounts of air pollution on your skin has been a tricky task to study. The newest science is in, and it doesn’t look good. Those who dwell in cites and more densely polluted areas have been shown to age faster than their brethren living in the country, or in areas with less air pollution. Less developed countries with significantly less stringent air pollution regulations are especially prone to this. Countries in Asia being the most problematic.

Ageing isn’t the only thing air pollution seems to affect. Skin conditions such as hives and eczema can also be caused by pollutants in the air. Living in the sunshine and scooter world of Bali can prove to hazardous to the skin. The fumes from traffic are extremely toxic for your skin. Chemicals in the air such as nitrogen dioxide(NO2) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon(PAHs) are believed to be the primary aggressors. Even relatively small increases in levels of these particles is associated with a 25% increase in ageing. Age spots previously associated with sun exposure, and liver damage has also been shown to significantly increase with exposure to pollution.

When exposed to NO2 chemicals it causes inflammation, bronchoconstriction, reduced immune response, and may cause heart problems. PAHs in the air cause can help the production of free radicals. This can be especially problematic if you ride scooters through the humid streets of Bali. The black smoke from trucks, and buses are a toxic mess. The roads on the islands can create a double conundrum of not being able to overtake these monstrous vehicles, leaving you stuck and inhaling dangerous fumes for what can seem like an eternity. As well as vehicles air pollution can also arise from sources such as factories, cooking, smoking, coal, and even burning bio fuels for cooking.

Taking protecting and cleaning your skin from the effects of air pollution requires 2 steps. Making sure you skin is well cleaned after you step out of the pollution riddled streets is crucial. You don’t want to wear that pollution with you. Once clean If you leave your skin as is it can be even worse, as cleaning rids your skin of it’s naturally protective layer of oil. After washing, hydrating, and moisturizing you skin is crucial. Otherwise you will leave your skin bare, and potentially more prone to damage. Being vigilant of stepping in and out of pollution is important. Just a quick face wash after stepping out the fume laced streets could prove an invaluable tool in preventing premature ageing, along with sun protection. If you follow these steps your skin will be thanking you for the years to come.


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