Properly taking care of your skin each day — and countering the possible effects of pollution — is quick, affordable and easy to do. So why do so many Americans forgo that step in their daily routines?
A recent survey by CeraVe found 48 percent of American adults often worry about their skin, yet 36 percent have no regular skincare routine. Only 36 percent regularly use cleanser, and 33 percent say they’re confused about how to choose effective products and methods.
Unfortunately, everyday pollution and UV rays can easily wreak havoc on your skin, so it’s essential to develop a proper skincare routine to combat these effects. In a given year, Americans are subject to some 83 million tons of pollution particles emitted into the air. Many encounter those particles on their daily commutes, and because they can be 20 times smaller than your pores, they can infiltrate deep levels of your epidermis, leading to inflammation, dehydration and/or loss of elasticity.
Without a regular skincare routine, you’re also more apt to deal with dryness, irritation, acne, accelerated aging, hyperpigmentation, dullness and other unwanted attributes that can result from the air quality. That may be why six in 10 U.S. adults say they cope with as many as 10 “bad skin days” monthly.
“Forming good skincare habits is not complicated, and it can pay off significantly in terms of your health and appearance,” said board certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. “It’s never too late to begin a daily skincare routine that offers the best possible protection against unhealthy elements in our environment.”
Consider adopting these five habits to help keep your skin glowing and protected from all that it encounters.
Use an effective sunscreen every day. Apply a product that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water-resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage so it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply it throughout the day as needed. Henry points to studies indicating pollution may worsen the effects of UV and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Wash twice daily with a quality cleanser. Choosing the right product is key. Henry recommends CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser or Foaming Facial Cleanser, which are gentle on skin and deeply cleanse to remove dirt, oil and residue that build up throughout the day, helping to counteract the harmful effects of pollution and leaving skin hydrated.
Send linens through the laundry. Ideally, towels and washcloths should be washed in hot water after one use, and pillowcases should be washed or changed multiple times per week. While this may seem nearly impossible, frequently changing or washing pillowcases will help to keep dirt, oil and dead skin cells from building up and seeping into skin night after night.
Eat an optimal diet. Henry suggests eating a diet rich in antioxidants, which may help protect skin, pointing to foods such as carrots, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, berries, beans, peas, lentils, salmon and nuts. Conversely, diets high in processed or refined sugars or other carbohydrates and unhealthy fats may promote skin aging.
Get moving. Ever notice how your skin glows after a good workout? Physical activity promotes circulation, which carries oxygen and nutrients that nourish skin cells. Increased blood flow also helps whisk away waste products like free radicals from your cells. Further, exercise can reduce stress that may adversely affect your skin.
Taking a few minutes each day to care for your skin is well worth your while, especially when it comes to combating the effects of pollutants encountered daily.