Protecting Your Skin From Environmental Damage
Being the first line of defense against the environment, the skin is in direct contact with air and water contaminants. These substances cause damaging effects, including irritation or premature aging. But you can reduce this negative impact with skin care products.
Contaminants in the environment
Affecting most regions of the world, environmental pollution is an important and widespread concern and has detrimental effects on the air, water and land. It is well known that atmospheric pollution affects the outdoor air of many cities and is mainly due to fuel combustion. But people tend to forget that unfortunately it is also very present indoors, where it results from biomass burning during cooking or heating and tobacco smoking. Water pollution frequently results from agricultural and industrial work. However, by-products of water purification procedures, such as chlorine or ozone, are sometimes found in drinking water.
Pollution consists of a complex mixture of chemicals.
Among the most prominent pollutants is particulate matter (PM), formed by harmful micro-particles and liquid droplets that are classified according to their size (e.g. PM10 and PM2.5). Toxic metals, such as cadmium, mercury, lead and nickel, can persist and accumulate in the environment. Volatile organic compounds and gaseous pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, pollute our air as well.
How pollution damages the skin
Being the first line of defense against the environment, the skin is in direct contact with air and water contaminants. These substances cause damaging effects, including irritation or premature aging. In cutaneous tissues, pollutants cause free radical production and oxidative stress. Free radicals are damaged molecules that react with healthy cells leading to loss of function (e.g. lipid peroxidation).
In addition, in the presence of toxic substances or when oxidative stress occurs, the skin responds in a certain way such as synthesizing metallothioneins, which are low molecular weight proteins with metal-binding properties that play a role in detoxifying heavy metal and free radicals.
Another response is the reduced density of epidermal Langerhans cells. These cells absorb pollutants and then migrate away from the epidermis, presenting these substances to the immune system and subsequently initiating its defensive response as antigens are created. High pollution results in a lower number of Langerhans cells in the epidermis, which causes skin immunity decline.
Reducing the negative impact with skin care products
The skin has a certain ability to defend itself from pollutants and their effects. Its physical barrier properties help minimize penetration of pollutants. Also, the skin has endogenous antioxidative defenses consisting of vitamins and enzymes. However, when exposed to high levels of contaminants; the protecting capacity of the skin is surpassed, leading to visible consequences of damage and accelerated aging.
As it is so difficult to avoid pollution, shielding strategies should be adopted. By topically applying protective films or molecules such as powerful antioxidants, it is possible to reduce the direct interaction of pollution particles with the skin by complementing the loss of endogenous antioxidants due to overexposure to harmful substances or the aging process.
Antioxidants can act within the skin to block the effects of free radicals regardless of the type of pollutant that producing them.
The Age Defense Bioflavonoid product line from ilike organic skin care is composed of fruits and herbs with extremely high antioxidant content that limits accumulation of environmental pollutants within the skin. The products contain Blackcurrant, Elderberry, Cantaloupe and Algae that are all very rich in vitamins and minerals, too. They bind free radicals, increase the throughput of the capillaries, and improve the blood circulation, which increases the amount of nutrients, vitamins and oxygen reaching the skin. They stimulate the collagen production and improve the immunity of the skin.