Afraid so. But yes actually it is.

Poisonous air is already known to cause millions of early deaths from lung and heart diseases but perhaps its most visible impact, the damage caused to skin, is just beginning to be understood.

Oxides have been associated with increased prevalence of atopic dermatitis as well as exacerbations of the disease in children. Exposure to polluted air has been associated with urticaria, eczema, contact dermatitis, and other nonspecific eruptions. Exposure to PM contributes to extrinsic skin aging by accelerating wrinkles and age spots. Cigarette smoking has been associated with skin aging (wrinkles, skin dryness, skin dyschromias), and the combination of smoking and sun exposure may have a synergistic effect on skin aging. Furthermore, it has been associated with skin cancer , psoriasis and acne vulgaris.

Some pollutants ignite the melanocytes, which create far too much pigment and end up giving you unwanted sun spots. Other pollutants ignite messengers that make blood vessels grow, that’s what results in increased redness and potentially rosacea. Also, if you damage skin, it goes into repair mode and excites enzymes which re-adsorb damaged collagen. When you have too much chronic inflammation, these enzymes remove more collagen than your skin can create. This produces skin laxity and that’s where fine lines and wrinkles come in.

While there's no way to completely avoid pollutants in the air and water, there are ways to minimize the effects of pollution on your skin. To maintain healthy, radiant skin, try the following:

  • Moisturizer: In addition to smog & pollution, chlorine in tap water dries out the skin, which can lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. A good moisturizer hydrates the skin and creates a barrier between your skin and free radicals and other pollutants.

  • Sunscreen: Pollution causes damage to the ozone layer, which increases the effects of free radicals and UV radiation on the skin. UV and air toxins work as a kind of skin supervillain tag team, which means a combination of sun exposure and a polluted environment causes more damage than the two things individually. In short, wear SPF all year round-even on cloudy days.

  • Supplements: Vitamin C and antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, working to prevent and reverse damage to your skin. If you don't get enough vitamin C in your diet, take a daily multivitamin or a vitamin C supplement.

  • Cleansers and Exfoliants: To remove air pollutants from your skin, wash your face daily and exfoliate twice a week. You can even use mineral water to avoid the potentially damaging effects of chlorine in tap water. Don’t overexfoliate, it can backfire.

  • Water: Drinking plenty of water each day helps keep your skin hydrated and your body healthy by generating cell growth and improving circulation.

  • Medicines:  At the moment, there are not many products for prevention [of air pollution damage], however it may be a trend in the coming years as it becomes a much bigger issue. It was found that niacinamide - vitamin B3 - to be particularly effective.

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