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Skin Notes
The only routine to fight free radicals
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Here’s a scary fact for you. When skin is exposed to pollution, cell renewal slows down, oxygen levels deplete, inflammation increases and collagen drops, causing your skin to look tired, older and uneven. Not ideal is it? And guess what? More good news. On January 5th earlier this year London exceeded it’s pollution limit for the entire year. Five. Days. In. Never has it been more important to protect your skin for these aggressors.
“If you live in cities, or even in the countryside, it’s important that your skin is protected from the effects of pollution,” explains Fiona Brackenbury, Decléor Skincare Specialist. “Free radicals - the fine particles in air pollution - are also known as the invisible skin ager. They attack the hydrolipidic film (skin’s first line of defence) then the cell membrane causing dehydration, damage and stress. The final destination of the free radical is collagen.”
This means that your skin will look grey, unhappy and any form of glow will start to fade. Ladies, it’s time to take action. Going forward we’ve set you two tasks:
1.    Stop driving to work and take to the pavements
2.    Change up you skincare regime to include pollution blocking products
Luckily, we’re on hand to help you out with the second task. Keep reading for a full routine overhaul.
The cleanser
Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream, £25
First things first you want to a) remove any existing pollutant particles from your skin, and b) prep the skin for the day ahead to fend off any free radicals attempting to attack during the day. Best way to do this is with a good cleanser, like this one. The reason this is such a tiptop face wash for pollution fighting is the moringa seed ingredient. It removes all traces of pollution thanks to the purifying proteins inside. In fact, while testing the cleanser, Clarins found that it removed 94% of carbon particles from the skin. Those are figures that we can get on board with.
The mask
Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque, £28
Not a fan of cilantro (coriander to us Brits)? Nay bother. This mask doesn’t smell (or taste, for that matter) anything like it. In fact, as well as being a herb that you season your  Tikka Masala with, it also happens to be rich in petroselinic acid, stay with us, that promotes the skin barrier to regenerate following a free radical attack. Throw in a bit of orange extract – protects skin from oxidative stress – and you’ve got yourself one heck of a pollution fighting mask.
The hair product
Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum, £32
You’d be wrong in thinking that your hair is immune to free radical damage. Very wrong. This bi-phase serum helps damaged hair get its bounce back. Like the Clarins cleanser, this serum contains Moringa Extract – the hardworking, purifying ingredient. There’s also some Red Micro-Algae Extract chucked in there, which is rich in minerals and amino acids. Either spray onto damp hair straight after the shower or work into the ends of your dry hair every day.
The serum
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, £120
If you haven’t heard of this serum, your life is about to change. Ask any beauty editor about their favourite anti-oxidant serum and you’ll receive the same response: C E Feurlic. Don’t be put off by the strange scientific sounding name (it stands for the three main ingredients – Vitamins C and E and ferulic acid) it’s a brilliant product that’s well loved by those in the know. But what does it do? Using it twice a day neutralizes free radicals and reduces inflammation on the skin caused by exposure to UV and pollution. It’s also excellent at making wrinkles look less pronounced and firms up bits that have dropped slightly.
The face cream
Decleor Anti-Pollution Active Lotion, £40
£10 goes to whoever guesses what the wonder ingredient in this product is. Bravo! Moringa extract. Yep, this lightweight face lotion is packed full of the stuff, meaning that while it boosts your skin’s hydration levels it also envelops your face in a layer of protection. High five!
The eye cream
Origins A Perfect World SPF20 Age-Defense Eye Cream with White Tea, £30
We cannot express how important it is to use an eye cream, rather than slapping your day cream all over your face. That’s because the area around your eye is soooo much more delicate than anywhere else. If you overload it with heavier creams (like your day and night moisturizers), you’ll be left looking like you’ve had an allergic reaction to something – Puffy McPuffison. Now picture how this delicate area would react to outside aggressors, like UV rays and pollutants. Not well, friends. That’s why a handy eye cream like this Origins one is good to keep in your washbag. It contains Edelweiss, (remember the song Sound of Music?) which is a super flower that strengthens skin barrier and repels incoming pollution particles. It’s super hydrating and brightens the area. Plus it has an SPF 20, which is excellent.
The foundation alternative
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF50 Hydrating Shield, £55
It’s full name is City Smart + DNA Enzyme Complex + Anti-Pollution + Antioxidants Broad Spectrum SPF50 PA++++ Hydrating Shield. What a mouthful eh? But boy, oh boy, does this product pack the punch when it comes to protecting your face from the environment. Let’s break it down for you. It forms an invisible shield stopping as any nasties getting into your skin. The DNA Enzyme Complex supports your skin’s natural repair function against said nasties, thanks to some handy enzymes extracted from plankton. Then antioxidants, including the most powerful, Idebenone, which cleverly neutralizes both oxygen and nitrogen based free radical damage. Of course, there’s the vital SPF suncream that filters out UVA and UVB rays and finally, it gives a beautiful sheer wash of colour to the skin.
The face mist

Ren Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, £24
Similar to an SPF spray, this acts as an extra barrier against environmental aggressors. Keep this in your handbag or on your desk for additional boost of protection throughout the day.

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