8 best anti-pollution skincare products
Protect your skin against the elements in the city and beyond with one of these hard-working moisturisers, masks and serums
The typical skincare routine might seem to target every ailment possible, but even the strictest of us fail to tackle the biggest irritant we face daily: pollution.
Not only does stepping out on your commute taint your skin faster than you can cleanse it, pollution particles can speed up the ageing of your skin. Measuring less than two and a half microns, they penetrate down to the epidermis, speeding up cellular deterioration and causing hyperpigmentation.
In fact, a 2014 study by Olay found that living in a highly polluted area ages people 10 per cent faster than those in the countryside.
While regularly cleansing your skin can help prevent some damage, the effects often go deep enough that even skincare affeciendos should consider incorporating an extra step into their regimes. Here are our top picks to start building your barrier against pollution.
Ultrasun Daily Face Fluid SPF50+ Brightening and Anti-Pollution: £28, Selfridges
If you haven’t incorporated SPF into your skincare routine yet, this product doubles up as protection from UV rays and environmental aggressors.
Containing Pollustop − a chemical creating a protective film over the skin − the Face Fluid prevents the development of age spots and premature wrinkles.
It may seem pricey for something that equates to a suncream, but while a lot of SPF products can clog your pores, the more watery texture of this cream makes it weightless and fast-absorbing.
Ultrasun’s product was soothing on the skin, reducing sensitivity as well as creating the perfect canvas for makeup.
Our tester applied the Face Fluid just after cleansing, allowing it to sit for a minute or two to form a barrier before she applied moisturiser.
Allies of Skin 1A All Day Pollution Repair Mask: £87, Cult Beauty
Taking the concept of a face mask and making the effects last all day, the All Day Pollution Repair Mask leaves skin velvety, soothed and hydrated.
It applies like an ordinary moisturiser out of a handy, hygienic pump. As a multi-purpose product, it can replace a moisturiser and serum in your skincare routine, and provides more long term effects than your typical face mask. It serves as a protective barrier from pollution, without clogging your pores.
While it may boast a hefty price tag, a small amount of this product goes a long way. Our tester found that even when she reduced her usage to alternate days, her skin continued to look healthier and with an improved glow.
Orveda Cleansing Bamboo & Enzymatic Water: £80, Holly Nichols
By this point, every makeup addict is aware of the benefits of micellar water. Orveda, however, have gone a step further and formulated a combination of bamboo and Kombucha black tea to deep clean your skin.
It might work like your average makeup remover − our tester used it by soaking the cotton pads that came with it − but it feels much more powerful. The bamboo portion lifts dead cells and pollution, while the layer of enzymatic water nourishes your skin rather than stripping away moisture.
Those with sensitive skin will appreciate how gentle this product is, however if you have an oily complexion you may want to use an alternative cleanser in the morning to avoid over-hydrating your skin.
Sanoflore Anti-Pollution Micellar Water and Makeup Remover: £17, Feel Unique
While micellar water is generally accepted as the kinder alternative to makeup wipes, some products can still be harsh on your skin. Sanoflore’s product aims to be as gentle as possible, simultaneously melting away makeup and exfoliating deep into your pores to strip away pollution particles.
The water has a light floral scent and it only takes a small amount to remove heavy duty makeup. It’s also vegan-friendly, using all organic ingredients such as cornflower floral water and sunflower oil.
Atmosphériques Pure Calm Cleansing Dew: £50, Cult Beauty
The Atmosphériques cleanser does exactly what the name suggests. It contains cypress and blue tansy aromas to reduce anxiety while its oil formula sweeps away makeup and pollution particles.
When applied twice daily, our tester found that this product left her skin feeling like it had been deep-cleaned and her complexion looked much healthier. We particularly liked the scent, which was a calming way to start your makeup routine.
By Terry Detoxilyn City Essence: £62, Space NK
As always with skincare, By Terry delivers a luxurious and innovative product. Using Alpine Rose Native Cells, City Essence detoxifies and moisturises, leaving you with brighter skin.
The strong rose scent might not be for everyone, but our tester found that it helped her skin feel more refreshed after a day of pollution-filled commutes. It sits comfortably beneath makeup and had the most illuminating properties of all the products on this list.
However, it takes a while to begin seeing the effects. We found that it took nearly three weeks of consistent use to notice a difference in our complexion which, considering the price, might be a deal breaker for some.
Verso Anti Pollution Mist: £45, Panache Cosmetics
Verso is a relatively new brand, but its secret formula, Retinol 8 − which promises to help skin cells mimic how young cells behave − has already made waves in the skincare world.
While our tester doesn’t have mature skin, she was surprised by the effectiveness of this formula. After several weeks of spraying the mist over her completed skincare routine, she found that she had significantly less breakouts and that skin still felt moisturised and fresh after an hour on the London Underground.
This product again requires users to be patient as there are no immediate effects. Luckily it is unscented and feels so lightweight that it’s easy to build-up your barrier against pollution without feeling like you’re weighing down your skin with unnecessary products.
Dr Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops: £105, Harrods
If anyone remembers the brief skincare trend of Vampire Facials, Dr Barbara Sturm was the voice behind the Kardashian-endorsed procedure.
This product is much less extreme, containing an active ingredient obtained from cocoa seeds to protect your skin from harmful environmental aggressors. An added bonus is that it also prevents "digital ageing", caused by computers and mobile devices.
Our tester used a few drops each morning combined with her usual serum. Even after the first application, she found that her skin looked glowier than usual, with someone asking why she was wearing makeup to bed.
While it is definitely pricey − especially for only 30ml of product − a little of this goes a long way. We reduced our usage to one drop per day after two weeks of use and found the results to be just as drastic.
The Verdict: Best Anti-Pollution Skincare Products
For fast results at a decent price, Ultrasun’s Daily Face Fluid will not only protect you from pollution but UV damage too. However, if you’re looking to invest in a product that will provide your skin with long-term, deep cleansing, we recommend Orveda Cleansing Bamboo & Enzymatic Water.
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