City Living May Be Wrecking Your Skin — Here's How to Fix the Damage
City living can be great — tons of activities to do, late-night food spots, and total convenience — but it could also be taking a toll on you and your body. Polluted air, contaminated water, bacteria-filled commutes, late nights, and stress can all negatively impact your skin in more ways than you may know.
Researchers have found that chronic psychological stress causes cells to age faster. That same study also reported that nanoparticles, generated from components such as internal combustion engines, cigarette smoke, and industrial processes, can all contribute to signs of premature aging.
"Pollution levels are higher indoors than outside, so it's important to apply pollution-protection skin care twice a day — even if you are indoors."
"Pollutants are up to 30 times smaller than our pores," Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr Loretta, explains. "They penetrate into skin and damage its DNA, causing aging changes. What does this look like? People who live in more polluted Northern cities, like New York and Philadelphia, have more wrinkles than people in Southern, sunnier cities like Miami and Tampa. And when we compare age-matched peers in urban vs. rural settings, we find that city dwellers have more age spots, deeper skin creases, and more wrinkles. And the surprising reality: pollution levels are higher indoors than outside, so it's important to apply pollution-protection skin care twice a day — even if you are indoors."
However, environmental pollution and stress are not the only aspects of a fast-paced city life that have negative impacts — contaminated water can also have adverse effects to the skin.
"Contaminated water with high concentrations of minerals and even heavy metals is commonplace in America," Dr Loretta adds. "Hard water, with high levels of calcium and magnesium, is said to affect 85 percent of American homes. Washing our skin with hard water makes it drier, aggravates eczema, and can clog pores to worsen breakouts."
Thankfully, there are a number of different solutions that can help. Skincare products that contain ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, and retinol can both treat and prevent skin damage caused by environmental and lifestyle stressors.
"My favorite vitamin C ingredient is argan oil — it's rich-feeling and is highly concentrated in vitamin C," shares Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Skincare and Salon and celebrity facialist. "It has the power to protect the skin against the sun and pollution we face daily and will repair existing damage in the skin. Traditionally, it is considered to be medicinal, and I have to say it is truly powerful!"
To help reverse and fend off the damages city living may have on your skin, we rounded up 12 products that will do just that.