What is anti-pollution skincare? A guide PLUS top 5 cruelty-free picks

As the air becomes increasingly polluted, there is a greater chance that airborne pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, exhaust fumes, smog, smoke and urban dust, will wreak havoc on our faces – especially in particularly busy cities.

On top of that, your skin has to deal with that ever-present ageing threat – the sun.

Numerous scientific studies around the world have led to similar conclusions – the more

All these issues have led to one of 2017’s top beauty trends, anti-pollution skin care, with many brands launching new products aimed at tackling the impact these irritants can have.

After all, as Marie Schmid, Head of Research Development at (non cruelty-free brand) Clarins UK says: “An accumulation of pollutant particles on the skin surface can diminish skin’s radiance making it look dull.”

In addition, what Schmid describes as ‘suspended pollution particles’, can cause skin irritation and increased sensitivity – leading to wrinkles.

Dr Gary Goldfaden, dermatologist and co-founder of Goldfaden MD, adds: “Pollution can cause uneven skin tone, dehydration, dryness, dark spots, expedited ageing, wrinkles, sagging and a deterioration of collagen.”

Not exactly the dream when it comes to your skin!

So how should we tackle these issues?

Firstly, as ever, wear a good SPF. Next, cleanse gently, but effectively, to remove pollutants. Some experts recommend an oil-based cleanser for this, In addition, look for products labeled as containing antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators.

Top five anti-pollution skincare picks:

1. Oskia London Citylife Cleansing Concentrate, £36

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Oskia is already known for it Renaissance Cleansing Gel, which has reached cult status in just a few years. Can this new vegan-friendly cleanser do the same?

It certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to the ingredients list, which boasts hydrating, calming and protecting Vitamin F and aquacacteen (a refined cactus stem cell elixir), gently exfoliating phytic Acid and detoxifying malachite – among others.

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2. Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Serum, £33

Skincare guru Paula Begoun is known for her focus on ingredients and their efficacy, so it’s no surprise to see that this reasonably-priced serum is stuffed to the rafters with goodies like Vitamin C to restore and soothe, as well as Vitamin E which defends the skin from stress caused by UV light exposure.

Coenzyme 10 tails the list. This substance (which is naturally present in the body) has antioxidant effects.

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3. AESOP Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrator, £43

Part of the popular Parsley Seed range, this is a lightweight moisturiser with a sem-matte finish. It contains ingredients chosen to shield the skin from pollutants. It also makes a great make-up primer.

Ingredients include parsley seed, which is a solid antioxidant, as well as soothing and shielding lavender, cedarwood and witch hazel.

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4. B. Protected Anti-Pollution Shielding Primer SPF30, £12.99

This Superdrug own-brand primer – which you should apply after serum and moisturiser – is excellent value. A comfortable product on the skin, it offers the additional protection of SPF 30.

Its primary function is to leave skin silky and primed for make-up application, but over time, this product makes skin more radiant and smoother. It is quite a nourishing formula – good for those with dry skin.

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5.  The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask, £16

This vegan formula mask is designed to be used once a week or so. It has a very creamy texture, and is slightly tingly and cooling upon application. After use, skin is soft and more clear.

The key ingredient is matcha green tea from Japan, which is said to ‘liberate your skin from the weekly build-up of city pollutants and everyday impurities’. It is supported by soothing aloe vera and dandelion extract. It is free from silicones, mineral oil or paraffins.

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