The hectic pace of the city isn't the only culprit behind skin problems: You’re also smothering yourself daily in an aging face mask. New York is currently one of nine cities whose pollution levels exceed the World Health Organization’s
safe levels of air quality.
Dr. Tom Mammone, executive director of Clinique’s
research and development, is currently working on groundbreaking research that focuses on one of the major damaging pollutants: particles known as PM 2.5
, which are so small (less than 2.5 micrometers in size, hence the name) that thousands could fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen. Here in New York City, the levels of PM 2.5
have recently been moderate.
"PM 2.5 are the bad boys of the month in skin care," he explains. "They can penetrate
into our cells and trigger inflammation, destroy keratin proteins that protect the skin, and cause premature aging."
These alarming air particles have been found
responsible for everything from hyperpigmentation
and age spots
, breakouts, and fine lines; pollutants cause free radicals
to exist in the air, and have been found to
break down skin barriers and hinder their functionality. In a recent Wall Street Journal
article, Marc Toulemonde, global general manager of SkinCeuticals
, even went so far as to say, "Pollution is the next UV," citing the relationship between ultraviolet rays and skin damage. So, how do we avoid the seemingly unavoidable?
“Simple changes to your beauty routine, such as proper cleansing and using antioxidants every day, can have a big impact on the skin,” says celeb facialist Cecilia Wong
. Try using an electronic cleansing brush
to remove sticky impurities from your pores and improve circulation, and follow up with a cotton pad soaked in an alcohol-free toner, such as Cecilia’s Rose Serum Spray
, to lift off any remaining debris.
“We need to look after our skin like never before,” she continues. “Finish off your morning routine by moisturizing with water-based products, which absorb to the base of the surface layers of the skin. This helps build up the moisture reserves in the skin to prevent the absorption of pollutants.”
Look to face creams with powerful antioxidant serums that block free-radical damage: A favorite is SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
, which remains effective for 72 hours, as well as Radical Skincare's Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum
. End with a mandatory swipe of sunscreen (we’re mad about COOLA's organic line
, which contains no harsh chemicals and is jam-packed with even more skin-smoothing antioxidants to add to the proverbial mix) to seal the barrier.