Are Anti-Pollution Beauty Products Worth It?

We look into the science behind them and discover what pollution is really doing to our skin

Words by Emma Tiernan
September 6th, 2018

You may have noticed that anti-pollution products have been gaining more traction lately, with many in the business stating how important it is to incorporate these products into your skincare regime to arm and protect your skin. But is this just another beauty fad or should we all be using these products daily, similar to SPF?

Originating in the East, Asia is at the forefront of anti-pollution skincare, which, given the fact that Asian cities have some of the highest pollution rates in the world as well as being the leaders in skincare, it is not surprising that they are trailblazers when it comes to these products. According to market intelligence company Mintel, after anti-pollution products launched in the Asia-Pacific region in 2011, they increased by 40% in just a two year period and the market for these products has shown no signs of slowing down since.

So, if the hype around these products is to be believed, they’re the next must-have in skincare but what do scientists say? There have been numerous studies done on the effects pollution has on our skin and the results show that it does, in fact, cause harm.

Smog, the grime that is found in polluted air, can lead to clogged pores and irritated and inflamed skin which in turn can result in allergies, dehydration, dullness, and the biggest effect, advanced ageing. The airborne properties (dust, smoke and soot) that result in smog starve your skin of oxygen, leaving your moisture barrier being depleted. In the short term you will be left with dry and dull skin but in the long term, it results in premature ageing. Pollution has also been shown to be one of the causes of uneven skin tone. With scientists proving that pollution is harmful to our skin, adding products with anti-pollution properties to our skincare routines is a conscious way for us to help protect our skin and combat premature ageing.


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In Transit Pollution Shield by This Works

A mist that can work either as the last step in your skincare or on top of makeup to provide your skin with an extra anti-pollution barrier each morning. Mist over skin to defend against daily environmental aggressors and pollutants.



One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum by Dior 

This product is more than just a serum; it helps to detoxify skin cells to effectively improve obvious signs of ageing, restores strength to skin and regenerates the skin’s youthful look, leaving you with a brighter and healthier looking complexion.



City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ by Murad 

We don’t have to remind you that it is important to wear sunscreen all year round but with so many on the market, it can be hard to choose which one. This SPF from Murad not only protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays but also from infrared radiation, pollution and blue light from devices, each of which is known to accelerate visible signs of ageing. The product also contains a boost of Vitamin C to visibly brighten the skin.



VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil by Caudalie

This detox oil works while you sleep to repair the damage done to skin after a day of exposure to the elements. Packed with essential oils and vitamins, it works to eliminate toxins and speed up cell renewal so you’ll wake up with a glowing, renewed complexion.



Detoxilyn City Serum by By Terry

A fine, silky multi-defence shield, this serum not only guards against the skin-damaging effects of urban life, it also brightens, soothes and evens out skin tone while relieving it from the daily environmental stress of urban life.



EUK 134 0.1% by The Ordinary 

EUK 134 is one of the strongest antioxidants available on the market, which can regenerate itself to offer round-the-clock defence from free radical damage. The serum is a mimetic of superoxide dismutase and catalase, forming an exceptionally rare self-regenerating molecule that removes superoxide free radicals, eliminates hydrogen peroxide and converts reactive oxygen species into water and oxygen.



Intensive Moisture Balance by Dermalogica

Dermalogica’s nourishing antioxidant cream improves the appearance of dry and damaged skin by helping prevent free radical damage, while Vitamin C extracts help reduce the signs of premature ageing. Plus, it strengthens the skin’s lipid barrier which will prevent moisture loss in your skin, keeping you hydrated throughout the day.