Skin and the City | Anti-Pollution Skincare

*so here’s my skin with nothing more than some CC cream and a bit of mascara in all it’s unfiltered, big-pored glory

So city living comes with its ups and downs, for me having lived in a pretty rural part of the UK for most of my life, adjusting to the non-stop pace of the city has been easier than I thought it would be. Something that hasn’t taken so easily to city living has been my skin, I noticed when I first moved to Birmingham that my pores were dirtier, my under eye circles were puffier and more pronounced and overall my skin just needed a lot more TLC and that’s when my love of skincare really took an upgrade. Having recently moved to London I feel like my skin has taken a complete relapse and I need to relearn how my skin works all over again.

Here’s how it all works…the extra pollutants in the air cling to your skins natural oils which are then absorbed into your skin, so bad news for us oily or combination skinned gals we’re going to see and feel the effects of city living a lot more than those with dry skin. What you’ll notice is that the texture of your skin will feel rougher than usual and your pores on your nose, chin and forehead will not only be bigger and more noticeable but you may find you get more blackheads and breakouts. Another issue with city living is the hard water, you’ll find the water in big cities have higher volumes of calcium and magnesium which can be harsh on your skin and hair. Washing with hard water makes your skin drier, aggravates eczema, and can clog pores to worsen breakouts. I’ve been looking into a shower head attachment to help filter and soften the water because my hair has gone really frizzy since moving to London and it can’t be helping my skin either.

UV damage is the biggest culprit in premature ageing and has the worst effect on our skin, even when living in a city and believe it or not even in winter, we all need to be protecting our skin with SPF, and sadly no just because your foundation/moisturiser/eye cream/toothbrush has it built in does not cut the mustard.

Not all hope is lost though because thankfully there are some great products and tips out there for protecting your skin from pollution and ensuring your skin is well defended. For those of us living in a city, the best way to protect our skin is to strengthen its barrier and help it defend against UV rays and pollution from the inside out.

Top Tips

  • One of my favourite ways to keep my skin hydrated throughout the day is to carry a face mist with me, plus it keeps my makeup looking fresh.

  • Drink. Your. Water. I will never not include this in a skincare related blog post because it’s the holy grail of good skin. Just get it done.

  • Get your makeup off and your skin cleansed as soon as you get home. Pollution can sit on top of your skin, and sleeping with pollution on your skin can cause inflammation, break down your skins natural defence barrier and lead to premature ageing. So lather up that face every night before bed and try and wash your towels/flannels as often as possible to keep things nice and clean.

  • Combat pollutants with an antioxidant, something like vitamin C is going to help premature ageing, it will exfoliate to lift all the pollutants from your skin and reveal your glowing self.

  • SPF! UV rays are felt all the way through the winter and are the biggest cause of premature ageing, it’s worth finding the time to find an SPF that works for your skin type (put the idea of those oily summer SPF out of your mind) and your skin will thank you for it long term, this is important for men as well! Those of us that wear makeup will have a little help from whatever SPF and skincare are built into our foundation but the majority of guys faces are completely bare day to day so introduce an SPF to your mans morning routine and a moisturiser at night to help them battle pollution as well.

  • Looking after yourself is actually really beneficial for your skin as well, so trying to keep stress levels to a minimum and making sure to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night is going to leave your undereyes less puffy and your complexion blemish free. Try winding down for bed with a meditation app or switching your morning playlist for a motivational podcast.

The Products

Sunday Riley Blue Moon Cleansing Balm – This balm I was a little unsure of, it’s bright blue in colour but when applied to a dry face over makeup it turns into an oil that’s almost gritty and removes makeup without any unnecessary tugging or rubbing of the face. When mixed with water it transforms into a milky texture. The perfect first cleanse and as I mentioned previously, one of the best ways to combat pollutants is to cleanse your face as soon as you get home.

BioDerma HydraBio Range – I love the BioDerma products and the HydraBio range is no exception, this range contains ingredients that teaches your skin how to hydrate itself. The HydraBio range which is designed to combat the effects of weather, stress and pollution which stop the skin from retaining water and moisture. These products are designed to rebalance the skin and kick start your skins natural hydration process. What I love about BioDerma is the no-frills attitude, I know that all the ingredients are 100% necessary and it’s designed purely with its purpose in mind, so there’s going to be nothing to irritate my skin. The serum is lovely and glides onto my skin and sinks in evenly, the moisturiser isn’t as thick as I normally reach for this time of year but with the ingredients and benefits, I’m going to keep using it as my morning moisturiser and see if the benefits ring true.

PMD Cleansing Brush – This brush takes cleansing to a new level, any cleanser will transform with this. The silicone bristles mean it’s super hygienic and gentle on the skin whilst still helping to maximise to a new level of clean. I love using this with a foaming cleanser to really get all the pollutants out of my skin and leave it feeling soft and clean.

Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Cleanser – This is a new addition to my skincare lineup, but I’m obsessed! Never before have I used an exfoliating cleanser that doesn’t any gritty bits in it, really helps brighten the skin and help things look refreshed, despite the weather. The metallic peachy colour and the delicate scent just screams fresh and it works a treat, I’ve been using it as the first step when I do a full at-home facial routine.

BioDerma Tinted Sunscreen – Just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean you’re safe from sun damage. This tinted sunscreen from BioDerma is amazing as a primer, I tend to put this on all over and then apply my foundation on top in the places I need it most. Lasts all day and allows for a bit of coverage, great for hotter climates when you want a fresh and natural look whilst still protecting your skin. Very glowy, so when I wear this alone I tend to apply powder on top to keep it in place and to get rid of some of the shine.

Pixi Mists – Some of my favourite Pixi products, the makeup fixing mist is amazing for over makeup during the day to keep your skin hydrated. It’s the sun mist that is super special though, it does have a slight milky tint to it, so is best applied to a makeup less face. For on holiday, or lazy afternoons in the garden and makeup free days this is perfect. Mist all over your face and chest for SPF 30 coverage, that’s super hydrating. I’m a big fan of Pixi skincare and this SPF mist is so easy to use it makes SPF a no brainer.

Pixi Primer – Prepping your skin for makeup is so important, and like I mentioned earlier, by using a quality primer like this one from Pixi you’re building up that barrier that’s going to protect your skin. Not only will your makeup not sink into your pores, neither will the pollution and ick in the air. This primer is full of amazing ingredients and is part skincare part makeup that makes the ideal first step to any routine.

Pixi Flash balm – The first flash balm I ever used was the Elemis one that I got for my 19th birthday, I vividly remember putting it on for the first time the morning after my 19th birthday which was as boozy as you can probably imagine and calling my mum to thank her for this wonder tube that had just singlehandedly made me look human again. Ever since then I’ve always kept a flash balm in my makeup bag for those ‘grey’ days where I need a little boost. Flashbalms like these are amazing for boosting your skin full of hydrating heroes and radiance boosting wonders, again like the primers they’re perfect for building up your skins defence layer and protecting against pollution.

Lanolips 101 ointment – Every person alive should have a tube of this stuff in their back pocket *ok slightly dramatic* BUT it is amazing, this super thick ointment is a life saver for dry patches and lips. In the summer, or just when it gets warmed up it turns into a really lovely oil, but this 101 ointment is great for forming that barrier we were talking about. I’ve also got this in the apple scented version and it’s beautiful, I love using this on any cuts or scrapes to stop them scarring or any really dry areas like elbows or knees.

So that brings us to the end of this post, I hope that was informative and you maybe learnt a little something. I’m going to try harder to post more about skin concerns rather than just about specific products because I think it makes more sense. Other concerns I’d like to cover would be radiance, blemishes, understanding active ingrediants etc. things like that. I’m always reading and learning more about skin and I love sharing here. If you’ve got a certain concern or something you’d like me to post about please send me a message on Instagram!

*disclaimer – many of the products featured in this post were pr samples either requested or gifted but all opinions are my own and I’ve been under no obligation to post.

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