How to Defend Your Skin Against Pollution

August 01, 2018
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
How to Defend Your Skin Against Pollution

Did you know that 75 percent of Americans don’t realize that air quality and pollution can negatively impact skin health, or that without a proper cleansing routine (which 58 percent admitted to neglecting) that impact could be incredibly significant? That’s the information coming out of a recent survey commissioned by CeraVe among 2,000 U.S. adults. In honor of Cleanse Your Skin Week—August 1 to August 7—we’re helping CeraVe raise awareness to the importance of cleansing for healthy-looking skin—plus, we’re sharing more information about how smog and smoke can impact your skin and how CeraVe’s cleansers can help you fight the good fight against pollution!

Living in a big city—New York, L.A., San Francisco, just to name a few—has a slew of advantages, from endless entertainment options, convenient shops on every corner, and let’s not forget the incredible food selection. What most people don’t talk about, though, is that those three highly-populated cities—and others like them—are among the most polluted cities in America, which not only points to less-than-ideal conditions for our lungs, but for our skin, as well. See, the sun isn’t the only culprit for skin damage and aging. Environmental aggressors, like smoggy city air and smoke, can have both short- and long-term effects on the skin.

“On the short end, pollution can dehydrate skin, causing it to lose its glow and appear dry, itchy and even inflamed,” says board-certified dermatologist, and CeraVe ambassador, Dr. Shari Marchbein. “It can also lead to breakouts, especially for those who are already prone to breakouts. Long-term pollution can accelerate the signs of aging and cause fine lines, wrinkles and saggy skin.” What’s more, many people often don't realize that their skin is exposed to these toxins on a daily basis, either during a work commute or through time spent outdoors, as discovered through the same CeraVe survey. Assuming you’re not about to uproot your life and retreat to suburbia, you’ll need a solid game plan to keep these dangerous air particles from infiltrating the layers of your skin. Here’s what you should do.


Before heading to bed, it is also important to remove any dirt, oil and residue that’s built up over the course of the day, as well as any makeup that might clog pores while you sleep.

It sounds like a no-brainer because it kind of is. To rid your skin’s surface of pollutants, thoroughly clean it with a mild cleanser. “First and foremost, consumers should cleanse in the morning to remove dead skin cells and build up that accumulate overnight,” says Dr. Marchbein. It’s simple and makes all the difference. Use CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser to cleanse the skin without stripping moisture. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, and three essential ceramides to help hydrate the skin while restoring the protective skin barrier. “Before heading to bed, it is also important to remove any dirt, oil and residue that’s built up over the course of the day,” says Dr. Marchbein. “As well as any makeup that might clog pores while you sleep.” All of CeraVe’s cleansers are formulated with three essential ceramides to both hydrate and be gentle on the skin. Discover the full range of CeraVe cleansers, here!


While your skin is slightly damp, follow up with your favorite moisturizer to help lock in hydration even further. “I highly recommend adding a moisturizer to the skin every day,” says Dr. Marchbein. “This will help to replenish the moisture that skin loses throughout the day and the hydration that the elements strip away.”


No surprise here—sunscreen is an important step in your pollutant-fighting regimen. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher daily to protect your skin from damaging UV rays and to keep your barrier strong—rather than vulnerable—against pollutants. “Sunscreen should really be worn all year long, as UV rays can cause damage no matter the season,” says Dr. Marchbein. “Of course, this becomes more important in the summer when we’re more exposed and the sun is stronger, so now’s a good time to stock up on sunscreens and moisturizers with SPF.

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