Bright Lights, Big Cities: The Truth about the Environment and Your Skin

When considering moving to the city, we often wonder whether we will fit the world of bustling crowds and bright lights. What we don’t often think about though, is how city living may affect our health; specifically our skin. The environment you live in can greatly influence your skin health, and it is not just the degree of sun exposure that can play a role. Polluted air and contaminated water can also be nasty villains interfering with your skin in more ways than one.

Given the constant traffic, noisy construction, and crowded populations present in the city, I don’t think any of us are surprised that pollution levels are significantly higher in urban centers. Pollution particles are ten to twenty times smaller than the average person’s pore size, so in areas with high amounts of pollution, more pollution particles are able to infiltrate deep layers of your skin. These particles can easily irritate your skin and subsequently trigger inflammation, acne, and rosacea. Don’t worry though, you do not have to give up on your city-living dreams just yet. This damage can be minimized by adopting a thorough nighttime routine that removes these pollution particles before bed. Be sure to engage in double cleansing by using a cleansing oil to break down make-up and sebum on the surface of your skin first, and then apply a water-based cleanser for a deeper clean.

It is also important to be aware of the water you are splashing on your face. Hard water has high levels of calcium and magnesium, and is said to be present in 85% of American homes. The alkaline materials in this water can cause dryness and irritation, and can consequently flare up eczema and clog pores. Similar to pollution particles, the effects of hard water can be countered by engaging in double cleansing skincare routines. It would also be useful to invest in hydrating and soothing products that can restore moisture in dry skin.

It would be unrealistic to let your skin dictate where to live. You do not have to abandon your bright light city dreams, but surely be aware of the way your environment impacts your skin, and take steps to minimize the damage.


Written by: Prishni Seyone

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