What’s the state of anti-pollution skin care? Part I

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

What’s the state of anti-pollution skin care? Part I

Related tags Skin

Anti-pollution is a key rising trend for the beauty and personal care industry: in this three part mini-series, Cosmetics Design sits down with formulation expert Gabrielle Sore, scientific communication director for skin care at L’Oréal, to find out more.

Part I: an overview of anti-pollution

Environmental pollution is a significant problem in many large cities around the world and anti-pollution skin care is a hot new trend that originated in Asia and is now making its mark across the globe.

Rising consumer concern about the impact of pollution on skin and anti-pollution’s capacity to offer an anti-ageing function are driving the demand for products that counter the impact of particulate matter, or PM.

PM is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets, made up of a number of components, including acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles, and has been found to cause various changes in the skin. Gabrielle Sore explains more.

In practical terms, what does pollution actually do to the skin?

According to the research expert, scientific studies conducted in vivo​ - under real life conditions of exposure - have shown pollution to have the following impacts onto skin:

  • Oxidation processes: vitamin E depletion, decrease of squalene, increase of oxidized squalene (sebum) and oxidized proteins.
  • Impact on sebum:  increase of production and composition is also modified.
  • More important impact on diseased skin (for example, contact dermatitis):  Aggravation of skin sensitivity and reactivity
  • Pigment spot formation

Self-evaluation by consumers has confirmed that skin quality is impacted by the bad environmental conditions, she explains: “Depending on their skin type, they observe an aggravation of their skin problem (dull skin, dark spots, sensitive skin, aging, oily skin and imperfection).​”

How can skin care products help tackle this?

Cosmetic products must be specific​,” explains Sore. “A general strategy is a routine including topical products that remove, repair and protect​.”

The L’Oréal research lead recommends certain products and types of application to meet these anti-pollution needs:

  • Rinse-off products to remove dusts and micro-particles. These must be gentle to respect the skin barrier function. Masks and scrubs can be used occasionally, and soft cleaning devices (brushes / Clarisonic) are also interesting.
  • Emollients which improve skin barrier function to reduce cutaneous pollutant penetration.
  • Antioxidants to reduce the harmful effects.
  • Photo-protection. There is evidence that exposure to ultraviolet radiation might increase the detrimental effects of air-borne particles on human skin. More specifically, UVA and long UVA, since they are present everywhere and all the time.
  • This mechanism from UV Shielding can be extended to make up base and color cosmetics.

Read part II for the regional trends within the rising category​, and part III for Sore’s predictions for the future of anti-pollution​. 

Gabrielle Sore will be speaking at the upcoming in-cosmetics formulation summit​, 19 - 20 October in London. For more information on the event, click here​.

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