How To City Proof Your Skin.

Yasmeen Ghauri.

London: ‘the big smoke’, is just that. Pollution levels are at an all time high, not even lockdown and the supposed reduction in travel has done much to bring the number of air pollutants down. When I first moved to the city, I can’t say pollution was high on my list of priorities, but it probably should be. The impact of air pollution on your skin is extensive, contributing to premature skin ageing – wrinkling and pigmentation spots – dullness, and worsening of inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

Part of the problem is that pollution is not an exclusively outdoor issue, in fact indoor pollution can be just as damaging to our skin – comprised of dust and dirt in the air as well as that infamous blue light. So, with our skin under constant attack day and night, inside and outside, what can be done?

Maintaining an effective skincare routine is essential. Using products that are suited to your skin helps to maintain an intact and functional skin barrier. It is not necessary to buy specific ‘anti-pollution’ skincare – like ‘organic’ skincare, this is slightly murky territory that is not very well regulated. Instead focus on boosting your existing routine with pollution-fighting ingredients. 

Below ways to boost your routine to give you that London-proof look. All the products listed are vegan and cruelty free. 

Cleanse and then cleanse again

Double cleansing is nothing new to those of us with a well-established skin care routine: it is the best way to remove impurities and all matter of nasties. 

Step 1: Use a cleansing oil, balm or micellar water to break down makeup, sebum, and SPF. Super Facialist’s Vitamin C + Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil gets top marks for its antioxidant rich, lightweight formula. Apply to dry skin and add warm water to transform the oil into a milky texture to gently dissolve daily makeup and impurities. Nourishing olive, grapeseed and rosehip oils, infused with Vitamin C form this renewing cleanser. Dermatologically tested, its suitable for all skin type and contains a soothing combination of rosemary oil, vitamin E, and cucumber oil. 

Step 2: Go deeper with a water-based cleanser to remove sweat, bacteria and old skin cells. Milk Makeup’s Vegan Milk Moisturizing Cleanser uses fig, oat, argan, and desert milks (a rich blend of kalahari melon, baobab, and aloe vera) to gently eliminate grime while replenishing your skins natural moisture by boosting water-retaining cells. Grapeseed and olive-derived oils help to regulate sebum and boost your complexion’s defences keeping skin radiant. 


Using either a physical or a chemical exfoliant to clear congested pores and allow for other products to be absorbed more effectively. 

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is not for the faint-hearted or super sensitive-skinned. Carefully following the guidelines, apply a thin-layer (2-3 drops) to the skin and leave for no more than 10 minutes. A light tingle will let you know the Alpha Hydroxy Acids are exfoliating the topmost layer of your skin, while the Beta Hydroxy Acids are getting to work more deeply to clear any blocked pores. Infused with Tasmanian pepperberry and hyaluronic acid to sooth inflammation and vitamin B5 to assist with healing. It also contains black carrot which works as an antioxidant to battle blemishes and boost your skin’s radiance. 

Take Your Vitamins 

Antioxidants, as well as peptides and vitamins, are your best friends when it comes to combating the damage caused by free radicals* which trigger premature skin-ageing and inflammation. A potent Vitamin C serum will bolster your skins defences and keep it looking beautifully radiant. That’s why Super Facialist’s Vitamin C + Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil is a great product to include in your routine: not only is it a cleanser but also it has all the benefits of Vitamin C.

For an intense hit of Vitamin C, use LIXIRSKIN Vitamin C Paste. Apply the super focused treatment to damp skin after cleansing and rinse off after a few minutes. The antioxidant agent is skin brightening and collagen boosting. The ascorbic acid also helps to regulate melanin production which causes dark spots and hyper pigmentation.

Always moisturise with SPF

UV rays are still a top contributor to signs of skin ageing so always wear a SPF30 or higher daily. Use ALPHA H’s Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+ which is sweat and water resistant to keep skin protected all day long. Vitamin E and aloe vera provide lasting hydration to help ward off premature signs of ageing. This broad-spectrum sunscreen also acts as a primer, so you are ready to face the day, and the city, head on. 

*For anyone as clueless as I am when it comes to science, free radicals are unstable atoms which steal electrons from other atoms. They cause damage to your skin because they steal electrons from your skin cells, which prevents the cells from being able to regenerate, causing premature ageing. 

The content we provide is only for information purposes, it does not substitute for professional advice, and consultation. Opinions are only of the contributor, interviewer or interviewee.

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