For the past couple of months, air pollution has been all-time crazy in Korea. Not only here but it seems like in many parts of the world, air pollution is becoming a big problem. Pollution has been proven to be very damaging for our overall health but its negative effects don’t stop there. It effects our SKIN! When our skin is exposed to pollution on a daily basis, it not only has negative short term effects but also in the long run.
I have been getting a lot of questions about this subject, numerous people reaching out for help since they are struggling to maintain the health of their skin while being exposed to all this pollution. THis is why today I decided to share how I helped my skin heal and survive the terrible pollution.
Effects of pollution onto the skin
Through pollution, different types of chemicals are absorbed into our body, and one of the first organs that come in contact with all this mess is our skin. Our skin is directly exposed to all the dust, chemicals and waste in the air.
Being directly exposed to all this pollution, our skin experiences different symptoms, some of which might be very noticeable and visible and some of which might come with time. That is why it is important to give this recurrent health issue the attention it deserves.
Effect of the pollution it has on our skin:
– Skin sensitivity
– Premature aging
– Blockage of pore conducts
– Recurrent blemishes and impurities
– Skin inflammation
And in some serious cases, we can even develop further skin issues like eczema, dermatitis or rosacea…
Yeah, the effects on our skin, are just as strong as the effects on our body, for that please make sure to take care of your health and follow some basic guidelines on days of high pollution.
– Wear a mask
– Try to minimize time outside
– Use air filtering machines or plants at home
– Drink loads of water
– Add detox foods and teas to your diet
– Increase the overall consumption of vitamins and minerals that will help you fight pollution
And last but not least make sure to level up your skincare routine.
My skin’s reaction
During the past couple of months (with the bad air quality and fine dust) my skin became sensitive and irritated very often. Nothing that I was doing seemed to work and it kept getting worse to the point that my skin went back to the time when I had severe acne during my teenage years. My skin felt almost raw, irritated all the time, blemishes, bumps and dermatitis spreading. My skin felt very dry, and also I was able to feel that my skin barrier turned weak. But I also realized that it wasn’t just me going through this hardship with my skin but many of my peers were going through a very similar phase.
None of my regular products that I used on a daily basis didn’t seem to make any improvement on my skin, so I got back to doing my research and talked to Wishtrend to see if I could try out some of their gentle yet effective products that I had carefully handpicked.
This was back in February and with the improvement of my skin, I can finally share you a set of routine that will hopefully help your suffering skin when the air is bad and polluted!
1. Face Wash
Since one of the main problems when dealing with pollution is that it adheres to the skin and penetrates deeply into the pores, one of the most important steps to detox and combat all this waste accumulation lays on cleansing. A regular cleanser was not doing it for me anymore, so after much research, I decided to incorporate the Acid Duo Mild Gel Cleanser.
Because I knew I needed something that was mild yet quite deep cleansing, and the acid duo having two types of acid exfoliants into the formula, was going to help me softly exfoliate the skin and help resurface all those impurities with minimal irritation during a time in which I was not able to use any type of exfoliant due to my current pollution-caused skin condition.
How did I use it?
I completely eliminated morning cleansing from my routine, even night cleansing on those days when I had stayed at home all day with my air purifier on full blast. The reason why is that my skin and most importantly my skin barrier were really weak and suffering due to all the external stress of the heavy pollution, masks, and humidity. I needed to give my body time to heal but at the same time, I needed to deep cleanse my skin on those days when I had been out and about.
Tip: I also used the cleanser in all the pollution exposed areas like neck ears and upper chest since they were other areas deeply suffering from blemishes and flare-ups due to the pollution.
I completely dropped any sheet masks, exfoliating toners or heavy products and went back to the basics. I chose one of the most simple toners that I could, the Supple Preparation Unscented Toner and made that product my holy grail. It substituted my face wash in the mornings, it substituted any sheet masks when my skin needed to calm down, and it served as a base to add hydration and soothe my face in between products.
I used it with organic extra soft cotton pads for cleansing and masks and by itself and applied with the hands for the regular toner step making layering toner a major part of my daily routine especially on the first days of my “shock routine” and on those days in which my skin was extremely dry.
As I said my skin barrier was very damaged during this period, which was starting to result into fungal acne flare-ups, which is why I had to drop all my regular products and hydrators and search for alternative products that will help me clear and cure my skin without further feeding the Malassezia. For those who don’t know, Malassezia is a type of fungi that is naturally present in our skin, but that when it is pulled out of balance is the main reason behind fungal acne.
Having to deal with pollution was enough to not want to add more fuel to the fire, so I decided to go with the Mugwort Essence to add hydration and also as a source of treatment for my skin.
The only ingredient on the mugwort essence is 100% Artemisia Princeps Extract, which means that it is not only safe to use with fungal acne, but also due to the main qualities of mugwort, it is a great ingredient to help detox and clear the skin, while also helping it heal and add hydration.
Since I had dropped all the sheet masks and hydrators but my skin was still extremely dry and dehydrated I decided to add the Propolis Ampoule to help me not only deeply hydrate the skin, but also help heal the skin and fight bacteria through the properties of the key ingredient of this product.
Propolis and other ingredients in this serum are potent antibacterials, and this product is great for moisturizing, soothing, hydrating and adding brightness to the skin, a couple of things that my skin was in serious need of. I was applying 2 layers of this serum until the fungal acne was under control and before starting to incorporate other hydrants, but for the first couple of weeks, this was my main source of hydration along with the unscented toner.
During the first couple of weeks, I kept my routine as simple as possible, to help regenerate my skin and more precisely its barrier and that way cure this whole pesky situation. Once my skin was much more stable (about 2 to 3 weeks into the treatment) I started to slowly add some extra products that I had here and there:
On week 3 I added a moisturizer to my skin and I started to slowly use masking, for masking I used two main things:
The I’m from Mugwort Mask and the Jungle Botanics Ecru Clay Soap, these are two products that I have been using and loving for a couple of months and that I had had to drop due to my skin state, but I started to mask with them once a week to help my skin detox faster.
Why this combo?
Because mugwort has a high content in vitamins and minerals, like vitamin E that are great to nourish the skin, while also helping boost blood circulation and cleanse impurities. While the charcoal soap is super effective at removing impurities and deep cleansing being much softer than regular clay masks.
To “mask” the clay soap I just lathered the product on my hands and applied a thick layer, let it dry, and then with slightly damp fingers work the product with circular motions into the skin, then let it dry again, repeating this process 2 to 3 times for best results.
Last but not least for those huge pimples I was using patches, personally, I was using the ones from by Wishtrend since I wanted to give them a try and I was loving them. You can use any patches of your choice and preference, but I do recommend that instead of touching any blemishes you consider adding patches into your routine, to help take care of the blemish with minimal damage.