UV exposure isn’t the skin’s only environmental foe; high levels of pollution can also do damage. A first-of-its-kind study recently released by Olay found that chemical-laden air weakens the skin’s barrier function and also destroys its keratin protein (crucial for maintaining hydration). What’s more, the research, which compared 200 women aged 30 to 45 in urban vs. rural China, suggests that living in city pollution can age the look of skin 10 percent faster than residing in the countryside.
In smog-shrouded Asian cities like Beijing, beauty brands are increasingly catering to consumer concern; some skincare products, for instance, promise to defend against “PM2.5”—tiny particles thought to come from the burning of fossil fuels. According to new stats from Mintel, in the Asia-Pacific region between 2011 and 2013, there was a 40 percent increase in beauty/personal care launches with anti-pollution claims.
Now, the trend is drifting over to North America, with more products here touting pollution-neutralizing benefits:
This article was originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of Cosmetics magazine. For more, download our iPad edition.