How to Protect Skin from Pollution

Pollution is one of the main sources of skin damage.
Pollution is one of the main sources of skin damage.
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It seems like everyone is jumping on the "green" bandwagon. People are buying organic foods, driving smaller cars, using canvas shopping bags and finding creative ways to recycle. But even if conservation isn't your thing, there's another benefit to adapting a green lifestyle: the health of your skin.

Pollution is one of the main sources of damage to the skin. As smog, dirt and dust float through the air, they often come in contact with the sun's ultraviolet rays, which create free radicals, highly charged oxygen molecules that are harmful to the skin and the body [source: Davis]. Free radicals attack cells and damage DNA, and both air and water pollution can strip skin of moisture, causing discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles [source: WebMD].

Aside from decreasing the amount of pollution in the environment, there are other steps you can take to limit the effects of pollution on your skin. One of the easiest and most effective treatments is to regularly clean your face with a gentle cleanser and use a moisturizer [sources: Leffell, Orlow]. Keep reading to learn more about the damaging effects of air and water pollution on your skin and how to prevent and reverse the damage.