As fun as it can be, living in big cities like London, New York, Hongkong, Shanghai or Singapore isn't without challenges. High living cost, fierce competition and fast pace of life. In addition to that, the level of air pollution is increasingly becoming a major concern too.
We are all aware that inhaling the CO2 emission from vehicles carries a serious health risk. Daily Mail (UK) reported that breathing in the air in New Delhi can be as bad as smoking 50 cigarettes a day!
Air Pollution, Free Radicals, Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Stress
Many studies showed the increase in the number of mortality due to environmental air pollution. Polluted Air contains a complex mixtures of dangerous, toxic particles and gases including sulfates, nitrates, ammonium, chloride, heavy metals, nitric oxides, carbon monoxide, bacterias and pollens. Many of these particles and gases are free radicals.
Inhaling and in contact with highly polluted air increases the number of free radicals in the body and skin. These free radicals trigger the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species in the body. Reactive Oxygen Species can cause Oxidative Stress, which damages cell structures in the body including skin.
Oxidative Stress Causes Damage Cells and DNA
Oxidative Stress causes damage to cell components including proteins, lipids and DNA. Oxidative Stress also triggers inflammation in the body, which can increase the risk for diseases including several cancers, heart diseases, premature ageing and many others.
Air Pollution, Environmental Skin Damage and Premature Signs of Ageing
Air pollution is one of the major causes of environmental skin damage. Your skin is your outermost barrier which is in direct contact with toxic particles and gases in the polluted air. Scientific studies highlighted the risk of environmental skin damage due to air pollution such as wrinkles, age spots and other signs of ageing.
How to Prevent Premature Ageing Caused By Air Pollution
1. Eat Foods that are rich in Antioxidants
To help your body fight off free radicals, make sure that you eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables contain phyto-antioxidants. Antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables help neutralise free radicals in the body and skin. They help prevent Oxidative Stress, hence, they help prevent damage to cells and DNA in the body and skin.
2. Use Skincare Products that contain Natural Antioxidants
To help protect your skin from free radicals and environmental skin damage, use skincare products that contain antioxidants, preferably from botanical sources. Plants often contains a complex mixtures of antioxidants and other phytochemicals that work in synergy to protect and strengthen skin's defense against environmental damage and premature ageing.
One of my favourite antioxidants is Rose extract. Studies showed that Rose extract contains powerful antioxidant compounds like polyphenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These antioxidants help neutralise free radicals and protect your skin from premature ageing.
As I live and work in London, I protect my skin with multi-award-winning Henry Tianus Antioxidant Youthful Essence. This anti-pollution hydrating mist has been formulated with Turmeric, Ginkgo, Allantoin, Blue Chamomile and pro-vitamin B5 to protect skin from free radicals, oxidative stress and daily pollutants. Instantly soothing and refreshing, this all-skin-type formulas can be used few times a day or as often as necessary. It comes in a 50ml bottle with spritzer, the perfect size for any handbag.
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Sources: Oxidative Stress and Air Pollution Exposure, Journal of Toxicology, 2011, 2011: 487074; Air pollution and health risks due to vehicle traffic, Science of the Total Environment, 2013 Apr 15: 0: 307-316; Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging, Dermatology Research and Practise, 2012: 135206; Antioxidant Activities of Methanolic Extracts from Four Different Rose Cultivars, Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 2014, 2(2), 69-73; Environmental influences on skin aging and ethnic-specific manifestations, Dermato Endocrinology, 2012 Jul 1: 4(3): 227–231; Diwali festivities left you breathless? That's because taking in lungfuls of Delhi's toxic air is like smoking FIFTY cigarettes a day, warn doctors, Daily Mail (UK), 22 October 2017.