People’s hearts become more severe with anxiety and fear of the unknown as the air becomes more polluted.

People’s lives have been disrupted by the foul air, which has increased their cardiovascular problems, the chance of respiratory conditions, and other health difficulties.

“However, internal organs are not the only parts of the body that are vulnerable. According to Dr. Swetha, a leading dermatologist from Indiranagar, “the external cover of the individual body has been equally responsive to the detrimental effects of air pollution.”

With no sign of relief in sight, it is critical to focus on the problem at hand and comprehend specific nuances regarding the impact of pollution on skin health and how to address it.

What are some of the most common skin problems caused by air pollution?

According to Dr. Swetha of Indiranagar, our skin is the largest organ that interacts with the environment. 

While our skin provides a strong physical and chemical barrier against the elements, it is essential to remember that its capabilities are limited.

The skin barrier function is disrupted when exposed to environmental stresses such as air pollution, resulting in various skin problems.

Air pollution can have a liquid, gaseous, or solid effect on the skin. Sweat ducts, hair follicles, inhalation, and other pathways allow pollutants to enter the body.

Air pollution causes oxidative stress, which leads to the production of free radicals, which disrupt many of the skin’s natural functions, resulting in issues such as:

Photoaging or premature aging:

This is caused by UV exposure and is irreversible damage that results in wrinkles and fine lines.

Increased pigmentation or the brown spots or liver spots:

Particulate matter from traffic pollution causes brown spots to appear on the forehead and cheeks.

Atopic dermatitis or eczema:

Eczema is a skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches triggered by environmental stress and indoor pollutants. Because of air pollution, skin flare-ups are very common. Even cooking and cleaning can aggravate eczema.

Uneven skin tone:

UVA and UVB exposure and the interaction of particulate matter with the skin cause this.

Hives or Urticaria:

Allergies to pollution are the cause of these symptoms.

Skin irritations, breakouts, and inflammations:

In combination with dirt and dust, Pollutants in the air cause skin breakouts, acne, and rashes. The skin’s ecosystem is disrupted by air pollution.


In this case, the main culprit is once again the main culprit. People who live in polluted areas, such as India, China, Southeast Asia, and so on, are more prone to brown pigmentation.


Increased cadmium exposure in the blood aggravates this condition, lowering skin immunity and causing barrier dysfunction.Skin cancer: Pollution has been linked to skin cancer in numerous studies. UV radiation, PAHs, VOCs, Ozone, and heavy metals are all potential causes.

What types of air pollutants are the most harmful to the skin?

Air pollution is everywhere, according to Dr. Swetha, an excellent dermatologist. Air pollutants harm the skin in a variety of ways.

Because most airborne particles do not directly penetrate the skin, they can cause chemical reactions that weaken the skin’s natural defenses. The following pollutants are the most harmful to the skin:

Ultraviolet radiation:

It increases the risk of malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma and disrupts the skin’s DNA.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHA):

Automobile and industrial exhausts emit these. These can react with PM to cause oxidative stress, or they can be absorbed directly by hair follicles or the skin, causing carcinogenic damage and other skin issues.

Organic compounds (VOCs):

Smog is formed when these react with sunlight and nitrogen oxides, causing skin damage. These can be found in paints, varnishes, vehicle paint repair, tobacco smoke, and vehicle exhaust.


The increased prevalence of atopic dermatitis in children is due to these factors.

Particulate Matter (PM):

Ions, reactive gases, and various sizes and compositions are among them. Wrinkles, skin dryness, acne vulgaris, and visible aging of the face are all caused by these.

Ozone (O3):

We are all aware that ozone is a significant contributor to climate change. It also causes skin disruption, resulting in an increase in eczema, contact dermatitis, and skin eruptions, as well as damage to the skin’s collagen and elastin.

Cigarette smoke:

Aerosol compounds and other chemicals such as carcinogens are found in this type of pollution. When these chemicals contact the skin, they can cause dehydration, tissue matrix disruption, and other problems. Heavy smokers are five times more likely than non-smokers to develop wrinkles and lines much earlier in life. In both men and women, cigarette smoke causes psoriasis and acne.

Cigarette smoke:

Aerosol compounds and other chemicals such as carcinogens are found in this type of pollution. When these chemicals contact the skin, they can cause dehydration, tissue matrix disruption, and other problems. Heavy smokers are five times more likely than non-smokers to develop wrinkles and lines much earlier in life. In both men and women, cigarette smoke causes psoriasis and acne.

What can be done to lessen the adverse effects of pollution on the skin?

Moving away from such areas would be a simple solution, but this is not practical. Protecting your skin is the best thing you can do for it.

You can’t change the air outside or inside, but you can make sure your skin doesn’t come into contact with pollutants too often.

Avoid the causes of air pollution, and if you notice any skin-related symptoms, see your dermatologist for the appropriate treatment.

Here are some things you can do daily to combat air pollution’s adverse effects on your skin:

  1. When you come inside after being outside, always cleanse your skin. To remove dirt and pollutants, use a gentle cleanser. It would help if you also washed in the morning and at night.
  2. Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week, and remove dirt and grime with an excellent facial scrub daily. Scrub for a maximum of 10 seconds.
  3. The most potent antioxidant is vitamin C. Before applying sunscreen, apply a vitamin C-based moisturizer and serum.
  4. Before going to bed, make sure your skin is free of all traces of makeup.
  5. From the inside out, moisturize and hydrate your skin. Water should be consumed at regular intervals. You should also moisturize your skin daily to lock in the hydration and protect it.
  6. Every 2-3 hours, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Apply sunscreen half an hour before leaving the house. Sunscreen should be applied to all parts of the body that are exposed to the sun.
  7. Incorporate niacinamide and retinol products into your nighttime routine to help the skin regenerate and combat the effects of dust, cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, and other environmental factors.
  8. Switch to a tremendous anti-pollution diet that focuses on eating clean and healthy foods.
  9. At least once a week, use deep conditioning and hair masks.

Do lifestyle, dietary, or skincare changes help?

Yes, according to Dr. Swetha. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a good skincare routine help cleanse the skin while breathing correctly. Along with the skincare practices mentioned above, it is beneficial to include the following in your routine.

  • In recent years, masks have proven to be a good idea. They protect your skin from pollutants as well as viruses.
  • Outdoors use hats, scarves, umbrellas, and caps to protect the scalp from pollution and UV rays.
  • An antioxidant diet should be part of your diet plan. A diet high in vitamin B3, C, E, Beta carotene, selenium, and lipoic acid is recommended. To boost skin’s health and ability to fight pollution, eat vegetables, fresh periodically fruits, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish, coconut oil, poultry, amla, potatoes, turmeric, orange, grapefruit, flaxseeds, ginger, and nuts like walnuts and almonds, among other things.
  • Apply a moisturizer or silicone-based primer to your face.

What are some tips for keeping skin healthy in the face of rising air pollution?

The more conscious you are about your skincare, according to Dr. Swetha, the healthier your skin will be. Protect your skin from pollutants in the air.

Because air pollution isn’t going away anytime soon, the sooner you start using better skincare, the easier it will be to deal with the consequences.

Ingredients that have been extensively tested for common toxin pollution and contain antioxidants should be used.

Consult a dermatologist about your concerns and the best products for your skin type.

At home, high-quality air masks, air purifiers, and ventilators are also well worth the money. Avoid areas where there is a lot of pollution, as well as public smoking rooms.

If you are exposed to such an environment, make sure to cleanse your skin with a cleansing wipe as soon as you can get away from it. Small daily steps will go a long way toward keeping your skin healthy and youthful at all times.



Manisha has always been passionate about writing. She has written her poems, short stories, and articles since her school days. In her professional life, she has worked as a journalist since 2011. Her passion for writing led her to write her debut book, Unhappy Marriage, which gained her many accolades. She currently lives in India.
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