Skin v The City: pollution
Air pollutants are also back at work. Not only smog, dirt and dust can impact the look of your skin by leading to clogged pores, acne and dull-looking complexions but pollution is actually one of the main sources of damage to the skin; indeed, it creates free radicals that attack cells and damage DNA by stripping skin of moisture and oxygen as well as decreasing collagen production, which causes sensitivity and premature ageing. So here is our way to fight free radicals!
1. How to protect the skin against pollution and increase the oxygen levels in the skin?
Kamilla Schaffner’s Method:
Skin is our beautiful shield against our external environment, but we must not forget that our skin is also an organ with its systems of respiration, nourishment and reconstruction; hence, we must take a much greater care of it than we normally do. Not only is it exposed to the usual elements like sun, wind and bacteria, unfortunately these days it also combats on a daily basis an array of detrimental factors like exposure to toxic fumes and endocrine disruptors like parabens, pesticides, xeno-oestrogens, carcinogens, sulphites that not only affect the skin, but also pose a serious threat to the overall health. Skin is a porous organ, hence, an extended exposure to the external irritants and aggressors will ultimately lead to a systemic absorption and penetration of environmental factors through layers of the skin.
Being a city dweller a lot can be done to naturally shield your skin from the ever-present pollution, and nutrition is of paramount importance here. Firstly, one must maintain an overall high standard of health to keep effects of external irritants to a minimum. Your body’s natural antioxidant production can decline as you age. Antioxidants can help to prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue by slowing or preventing the effect of free radicals, which start oxidation. As antioxidants block the effects of free radicals, they end up being oxidised. This is why it’s important to constantly replenish your supply of foods that are rich in antioxidants as well as consumption of specific foods that will maintain a body’s inflammatory response (a natural response to aggravating bacteria, viruses or damaging external factors) to a bare minimum. Drinking green juice in the morning is a good idea, but in order to maintain a robust skin resilience, appropriate nutrition must be maintained continuously.
Foods high in antioxidants are all highly pigmented fruits and vegetables, so your mum was right: eating the rainbow does make you and your skin healthier. However, if you want to be serious about your skin then you need to be extra discerning in terms of fruits and vegetables ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values – the higher the value the better it is for you and your skin. My suggestion to all city dwellers is to include high ORAC foods that are high in green pigment chlorophyll that has a unique capacity to maintain high levels of antioxidants within a body, and in some cases it can go as far as recycling already used antioxidants for a secondary use, which is a win-win formula!
The good news is that the high ORAC antioxidant rich foods are readily available in supermarkets and do not require complicated recipes:
– All citrus fruits (lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges)
– All fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, coriander, dill)
– Simple greens (watercress, spinach, broccoli, peas)
– Red and orange pigmented fruits and vegetables (aubergines, berries, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes)
– All seaweeds (arame, wakame, nori, dulse)
– Smart spices and herbal teas (green tea, white tea, sumac, saffron, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger)
Biologique Recherche’s Method:
Aside from acting in favour of the environment, there are other ways to limit the damage air pollution causes to your skin. One of the easiest and most effective daily treatments is to:
- wash your face with a gentle cleansing milk to wash away the dirt and pollution your skin has come across during the day
- exfoliate to get rid of all oxidised dead skin cells and let the oxygen in again
- increase hydration levels and replenish the skin’s natural barrier function with serums
- use a moisturiser to hydrate and create a barrier to protect the skin against pollutants as well as the drying effects of air conditioning and heating
At Biologique Recherche, we are proud to have developed an oxygenating range. The VIP O2 line includes: a cleansing milk, a mask, a cream, an eye cream, a finishing serum and a body emulsion.
Lait VIP O2 is a cleansing milk that will note only remove all impurities and makeup but also oxygenates, brightens and unifies the skin.
Masque VIP O2 is a refreshing and oxygenating anti-pollution mask that acts on regenerating cells and revitalising the skin.
Crème Contour des Yeux VIP O2 is a great eye cream to hydrate and treat dark circles under the eyes.
Crème VIP O2 is a highly moisturising cream with revitalising properties that is advised to all city dwellers with dull skin.
Fluide VIP O2 helps to unify your complexion, it is also hydrating and very revitalising. Oxygenating, it is perfect to combat signs of tiredness.
Emulsion Corps VIP O2 provides immediate, long-lasting hydration and protection for the skin whilst boosting skin cell reparation.
Thanks to its secret Oxygenating Complex, these products are ideal anti-pollution solutions. They will avoid premature ageing and oxygenate to leave your skin immediately revitalised and healthy. In addition to city workers, the formulations are perfect for smokers and anyone with sluggish skin.
2. How to repair damaged skin and keep it hydrated?
Kamilla Schaffner’s Method:
There are stages in the process of repairing damaged skin: reconstruction, fusion, oxygenation and post-repair peeling/shedding. The complexity of the sequence requires a person’s health to be of the highest level, otherwise, the actual repair process can take a much longer time. As previously mentioned the most important aspect in dermal and epidermal healing is potential presence of systemic inflammation. If the inflammatory cascade (that generally contributes to premature ageing) is kept low or is non-existent then the skin has a perfect environment to heal without any complications. This applies from sun-burning your skin on the beach to post-surgical scars recovery: keep systemic internal inflammation down and the rest of the recovery will be very straight forward.
The most important aspect of anti-inflammatory nutrition is regular consumption of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. Foods rich in Omega-3 are:
– Oily fish (salmon, cod, trout, sardines, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, caviar/roe, bottarga)
– Chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnut oil, mustard seeds (vegan options)
In addition, keeping consumption levels of simple sugars (white bread, table sugar, commercially produced pastries and sweets) minimal is vital to suppression of inflammation. If you include Omega-3 rich foods in your nutrition on a regular basis then you will be successfully managing inflammatory responses and your skin will be thanking you for it.
The next step in skin repair nutrition is a functional support of circulation of appropriate nutrients to the tissues in question. There is no nutrient out there more important to our skin than the blood itself – the blood supply to the damaged skin must be appropriate and constant. Moreover, the blood itself should be rich in oxygen, since, it is the healing aspect of the oxygen rich blood that is important in dermal and epidermal recovery. The quality of blood and its supply massively depend on one’s nutrition: all vital minerals and vitamins must be present in a person’s diet in order for blood to be of the highest quality. What is also crucially important is to keep circulatory pathways of the blood flow strong and steady: consumption of dishes with inclusion of the following foods:
– Green tea
– Green coffee
– Cayenne pepper
will have a fantastic circulatory boost to the blood flow by slightly elevating heart and pulse rate, and will greatly assist in skin repair.
Last but not least, appropriate levels of hydration and collagen production are of paramount importance in the process of skin repair and nourishment. Drinking high pH mineral water and general gravitation towards alkaline diet are important factors, but we must not forget that skin cell membrane is a phosphoro-lipid structure which means it requires essential fats and fat soluble vitamins like tocopherols, as well as water in order to maintain its integral structure. Foods rich in water are the simplest foods that can be purchased anywhere:
– Romaine and Iceberg lettuces
– Coconut water,
– Full-fat cow’s milk (that is one of the many reasons we generally advocate toddlers drinking milk due to its high hydration factors and its richness in electrolytes)
Once the repair process is finished and the maintenance phase starts it is always a good practice to boost your skin nutritionally with targeted nutrients: the body needs to synthesise a certain amount of collagen in order to maintain the suppleness and flexibility of the skin cells surface. The best nutrition advice for this is to consume foods high in Silica, Zinc and amino acids which are building blocks of protein – most seafood falls in this beautiful category with oysters taking a leading place.
Biologique Recherche’s Method:
At Biologique Recherche, there are a number of serums and creams that would help with the production of collagen and ensure high levels of skin hydration are achieved. Serums contain a higher content of active ingredients than moisturisers, and so can be up to four times more potent!
Here again the VIP O2 facial cream could be the right choice for you, but any of our creams containing hyaluronic acid or (Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) would be recommended for the purpose of hydration. For instance, Gel ADN Silkgen and Emulsion Originelle Régénérante are packed with moisture.
Over time, pollution can irritate and weaken the skin’s natural barrier, which means it can no longer do its job properly and leaves your skin feeling more sensitive. In this case, we would advise you to opt for our Biosensible range in order to reduce any sensitivity caused by pollution. This line includes a micellar water, a mask, a serum, two emulsion creams – for normal or seborrheic Skin Instants® – and an eye cream.
Finally, never leave without your sunscreen on! Did you know that pollution causes damage to the ozone layer, which increases the effects of free radicals and UV radiation on the skin? So protect your skin with our Protection U.V. sun cream.