Side effects from pollution, from the quilted gray air hanging over L.A. to the alarming rise in asthma, can be seriously unpleasant. Now the latest research shows that pollution is also aging our skin. The culprit: an increase in minuscule particles and liquid droplets of pollution in the air so tiny that they lodge in pores. "These environmental impurities destroy skin's natural oils, which act as a protective barrier," says New York dermatologist Dennis Gross. "That leaves skin exposed to free radicals and leads to collagen breakdown, aging, cell damage, redness, and irritation." These toxins also create a physical barrier that prevents treatment products from penetrating. And no one, from the Hamptons to Hampstead, is immune. According to one recent study, more than 80 percent of the world's population now breathes polluted air that exceeds the World Health Organization's air-quality guidelines.
"Pollution speeds up the development of lines, wrinkles, and dark spots," says New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, "and it may also contribute to the development of skin cancers. That's why it's so important to cleanse in a way that removes the particulate matter from your pores." Those on beauty's front lines agree. "If you don't wash your face properly before bed, you are not allowing skin's natural repair process to take place," says Joanna Vargas, a facialist to radiant A-listers like Michelle Williams. "I guarantee you will wake up to puffier eyes, darker circles, breakouts, and less elasticity."
by Emily Dudding