Posté le 14 November 2019
Environmental stress is an alteration of the cells in our body due to an excess of noxious molecules that come partially from the air we breathe. When the air becomes charged with polluting particles, the deterioration of our cells gets worse. Air pollution has a direct effect on our health and skin; it is partly responsible for its premature aging.
A recent study conducted on twins (consequently with the same genetic capital) demonstrated the importance of environmental stress on our appearance. At 65, the sisters seemed to be up to 15 years apart. The reason? Environmental stress and a different way of life. While it is now widely accepted that diet, physical activity and sleep have an impact on our skin's aging process, multiple external factors are also taken into account and their effects are considerable. Temperature variations, pollution, humidity in the air, ambient noise, ultraviolet rays, cold, heat... also have an impact on our body. In reality, 50% of our physical aging is due to environmental stress, which is equivalent to our genetic heritage.
Daily exposure to sunlight, pollution or cigarette smoke alters the youthfulness of the skin. These external aggressions cause what is called an oxidation of the epidermal cells which in reaction form excess free radicals. Free radicals are naturally present in our body, they are molecules that have important biological functions, particularly in the communication between the cells of our body. But these free radicals can also attack the cells of our body, when they are in excess. Free radicals are neutralized or supported by protective mechanisms in the body called antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules naturally present in food that neutralize free radicals. These free radicals, which are manufactured at any time by the simple act of breathing or eating, are capable of damaging our cells. Sometimes free radicals can overwhelm our body's antioxidant defenses. This is the case when you are getting older, when you live in a polluted atmosphere, when you smoke, when you consume pesticides, or when you adopt a diet that is too low in antioxidants.
The damage caused by free radicals is not immediate on the skin, nor is it immediately visible as a sunburn. It is after some time, following long and repeated exposure, that premature skin aging is observed. This results in wrinkles and fine lines that appear prematurely, a complexion that tarnishes more quickly or a loss of firmness visible as early as the thirties...
Free radicals panic and are stimulated by contact with polluting particles. Free radicals are then in excess; they promote the accumulation of toxins under our skin and prevent it from oxygenating and thus defending itself by evacuating them. This is when we say goodbye to fresh complexion and pink cheeks and the appearance of dull, grey skin, clogged and/or dilated pores and the appearance of blackheads... These small skin discomforts are the short-term effects of exposure to pollution. In the long term, we are no longer talking about small inconveniences related to pollution but about skin damage…
There are many ways in which pollution affects the skin: our skin becomes dehydrated, clogged, sensitive, irritated, loses its suppleness, tone and radiance... For example, carbon monoxide slows down the skin's metabolism, causing a dull complexion and skin dryness. Fine particles, these invisible little dusts, irritate our skin and are very allergenic. Ozone and sulphur dioxide affect the protective layer of our skin, which becomes very reactive and irritated.
It is important to prevent the effect of environmental stress by applying cosmetic products adapted to your environment and by adopting appropriate eating and beauty habits.
Our best weapon to anticipate the effects of pollution on our skin is undoubtedly antioxidants. The most famous antioxidants are provided directly by our diet, by eating foods high in vitamins E and B3 found in many fruits and vegetables, in legumes, fish and not to mention by varying edible oils (grape seed oil, canola oil, olive oil), we already protect our skin. Carotenoids are also very effective antioxidants to protect against the harmful effects of free radicals. They are found in yellow, orange and red fruits, broccoli, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, spinach.
Antioxidants are also found in specific anti-pollution cosmetic products. Applying skin care creams containing anti-radicals helps to protect our skin from the aggressions of our environment. For example, choosing vitamin E-based skin care products helps to protect our skin.
Another essential way to protect our skin from pollution is hydration. It is the first defense of the skin and also the anti-aging and anti-pollution solution. By preserving the skin's hydrolipidic film, in other words its defense barrier, through daily hydration, allows the skin to defend itself against external aggressions. To prevent pollutants from attacking our skin, active ingredients such as zinc and silicon help to tighten our pores and thus prevent toxins from penetrating our skin, such as a shield. Another tip to fight against a grey and dull complexion, vitamins B3 and C help to even out and boost the radiance of our complexion. Finally, do not forget to prepare your skin to receive the sun's rays by applying anti-UV protective products, of course, but also carotenoid-based products that regulate UV absorption and neutralize free radicals.
The beauty routine consists of two steps: the first is the cleansing and the second is the treatment.
The first step for a skin protected from environmental stress is to cleanse. In the morning and evening, you clean your face with a suitable cosmetic product (face cleansing gel, foam or milk, etc. depending on your skin type). The cleansing process traps and eliminates the polluting particles accumulated on the skin throughout the day. Cleansing our skin is a crucial step in the beauty routine to remove impurities and ensure the optimal efficiency of the other skin care products applied during the treatment stage. A little tip for this cleaning step... In the morning, you prefer to clean your skin with fresh water to tighten its pores and make it a shield for the day. In the evening, warmer water is preferred to more easily dissolve the toxins accumulated during the day.
The treatment step of our beauty routine is essential in protecting and preserving our skin. In the morning, we use a day cream that helps the skin maximize its water reserves, which are severely strained during the day. In the evening, we prefer a specific cream, richer and composed of other active ingredients, because during the night, the regeneration and repair of cells being intensified, the application of a special night cream is a considerable help to strengthen our skin. Before that, we can apply a lotion that will help the active ingredients penetrate and contribute to better skin hydration. Serum can also contribute to better hydration through its high concentration of active ingredients and its deep action. Finally, you end your morning beauty ritual with a protective step: UV rays are the skin's enemy, which is why it is recommended to protect your skin from the sun to preserve the youthfulness of your skin. A protective sunscreen is applied every morning.
Once a week, treat yourself with a relaxing step of your beauty routine : apply a face mask to give your skin all the active ingredients it needs, all week long.
Just as our skin, our hair suffer from the harmful effects of some pollutants. Prefer anti-pollution, purifying and anti-aging products. Consider buying product made with Capiguard, a red algae found in the Baltic Sea that strengthens the hair cuticle and prevent from pollutant deposits on the hair. It is an excellent anti-pollution shield. You can also choose product with pink pepper or nasturtium flowers extract to boost the skin oxygenation and inhibit the free radicals caused by pollution.