Can skin irritation be caused by the environment, specifically pollution?

Air-borne pollutants can consist of dust and dirt, as well as ‘free radicals’ – particles which are highly reactive when they come in to contact with our living cells. As our skin is one of our first barrier defences against the outside world, these particles can come into contact with our skin throughout the day. These reactive particles may interfere with the normal function of our cells or cause oxidative damage which may be involved in:

  • Skin ageing
  • Irritation of the skin, and increased skin sensitivity
  • Inflammatory or allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne

Other problems for our skin may also be caused by pollution and our environment. For example:

  • Carbon monoxide found in factory and car emissions robs the skin of oxygen leaving it look lifeless and dull.
  • Dust and dirt particles are known to contribute to clogged pores.
  • The climate also has an impact – a very dry environment can make skin prone to dryness worse, and a very chilly cold climate may exacerbate sensitivities and dryness.

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