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Pollution is the worst enemy of your skin. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. It steals the lustre from your skin by adding toxins and free radicals to it.

The toxic particles, carbon and nitrogen monoxide emissions from vehicles and lead from factories are the primary causes of pollution. Another major reason is ozone created when pollutants from industries and transportation react with ultraviolet rays of the sun. According to dermatologists in Delhi, with the rise in pollution, the number of patients with skin problems has increased.

What are the consequences for your skin?

  1. Dull complexion: Pollution goes beyond just dirtying your face. The dust, smog and dirt clog pores, cause blackheads, acne and make the skin look dull and greyish.
  2. Premature ageing: The pollutants accumulate on your skin, and the free radicals can decrease collagen production, reduce oxygenation in skin cells, causing wrinkles and rough, dry patches and premature ageing of the skin.
  3. Skin allergies: Long term exposure to pollution can lead to skin allergies and eczema.
  4. Destroys lipids: The outer layer of our skin contains fats known as lipids that bind skin cells together, acting as a protective barrier. The continuous exposure to pollution wears down this natural barrier of the skin or hydrolipidic film, robbing it of protection, making it vulnerable to damage.
  5. Hyperpigmentation: Pollution and free radicals cause oxidative damage to the skin. In response, the skin tries to protect and defend itself from these external aggressors, and the cells known as melanocytes may then produce excess melanin. The skin gets its pigmentation that is colour from melanin, causing hyperpigmentation.

How can you protect your skin?

  1. Remove your makeup thoroughly: To remove dirt and pollutants from clogged pores of the skin, make it a point to remove your makeup every night. Start by removing the makeup from your eyes first and then ending with the face. Use as many cotton pads as necessary to remove the makeup with a makeup remover.
  2. Cleanser: Cleanse with cleansing milk or cleanser with micellar water or a jelly based cleanser until the cotton pads are clean. Use cleansers that will not strip critical oils from the skin while washing off all the harmful molecules.
  3. Exfoliate: Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, unclogs the pores preventing the building up of bacteria in the skin and the development of acne, whiteheads and blackheads. Exfoliate your face once or twice a week. If you have sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist in Delhi for advice on the right way to exfoliate.
  4.   Diet:Eat healthy fats and foods rich in vitamin c and antioxidants. Ensure your diet includes whole grains, oily fish, garlic, almonds, broccoli, oranges, lemons, grapes, avocado and eggs to restore the skin’s hydrolipidic film and develop its immunity. Drink enough water to keep the skin hydrated.
  5.   Supplement:If you can’t get enough vitamins through your diet, use a good quality multivitamin supplement with no fillers or preservatives in consultation with your doctor.
  6.   Health card:If you need to consult a dermatologist and are worried about doctor’s fees, use a bajaj finserv health EMI card to pay in easy instalments.
  7.   Moisturizer: Pollution oxidizes the lipid barrier in the skin, making it dry. Moisturize your skin twice a day. After cleansing your face, apply a moisturizer (lotion, gel or cream) suitable for your skin type.
  8.   Natural oils: If you don’t want to go in for store-bought moisturizers, you can moisturize the skin with any oil available at home like coconut oil, mineral oil, sesame seed oil or olive oil. Apply a little oil all over the body. Massage for a minute or two so that the oil will quickly get absorbed in the skin. Apply overnight and take a bath early the next morning or use it after your bath. As these oils are rich in vitamins and fatty acids, they trap the moisture and supply the skin with nutrients, leading to healthy skin.
  9.   Application of vitamin c and e:Sunscreens are effective against UV damage, but aren’t useful for pollution. The best thing you can do for your skin is to apply a cream or lotion containing antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Vitamin C makes your skin glow and boosts collagen production. Vitamin E is rich in antioxidants, relieves dryness, and offers a protective layer to help fight free radicals, preventing the onset of ageing.
  10. Steaming:Facial steaming opens up your pores, loosens blackheads and releases bacteria, dead cells and impurities that clog the skin and cause acne. It increases blood flow and promotes collagen. However, people with rosacea, extremely dry skin and eczema should avoid steaming.

Protect, nourish and cherish your skin by following all these tips to protect it from pollution.

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