Reduce the effects of air pollution on health and skin aging


There has been a lot in the news recently about air pollution.  As individuals we can feel powerless to do anything about it but the health effects are very real - greater risk of respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.  According to the World Health Organisation there are an estimated 3 million premature deaths worldwide because of air pollution.  

Did you know also that tiny air pollution particles (PMs) such as nitrogen dioxide, NO2 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can lead to age spots and wrinkles?  The age spots are caused by PMs activating melanocytes in the skin.  The particles also generate free radicals leading to inflammation which in turn causes breakdown of collagen, the 'scaffolding' of the skin, resulting in wrinkles?  

How can you protect yourself from the aging effects of pollution on your skin?  I would suggest an anti-inflammatory diet - plenty of fruit and vegetables, preferably organic, nuts and seeds for your omega 3s and wholegrains.  Avoid sugar, processed foods, hydrogenated fat and too much saturated fat.  Also your skin has a barrier which will help keep the particles out so it is important to maintain the integrity of this barrier. Moisturise well preferably with a product that includes antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, which neutralises free radicals and include a good sunscreen.  Vitamin B3 in a product restores and strengthens the skin's barrier and increases hydration. You could also take a good multivitamin and mineral and a vegan omega 3 supplement. Avoid over exfoliation but have a good cleansing routine (never use soap on your face). A good mineral make-up may also help.

There are some other steps you can take to help reduce pollution and its effects - try switching to greener energy, carsharing, riding a bike or walking to work (choose a route where there is less traffic if you ride a bike or walk).  

You can also take steps to minimise the effects of pollution.  If you like to run or power walk, it is best to do this in the morning when the ozone is lower.  

If you work in the city, try to avoid going out in the rush hour traffic. If you are stuck in standing traffic, recirculate the air. Even here in the village people have real fires in autumn and winter which makes the air smokey and I have lost count of the times I have had to run away from farmers spraying pesticides.  
Did you know that there is a pollution forecast along with your local weather forecast so, if you can try to avoid going out on days when pollution is at its worst.

Inside your home use natural cleaners.  Please see 'Spring clean your cleaning products' Houseplants are helpful too as are salt lamps. Please see 'Bring the outside in - houseplants' 'Salt pipes and lamps'. When we had chinchillas (8 of them! I bought two 'males' that turned out to be two pregnant females) I bought an air filter to take their dander out of the air but this is a good investment whether or not you have pets.   

Hope this helps,





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