Beware of the Air!

Air pollution can wreak serious havoc on your skin and hair

The injurious effects of air pollution are widespread. Every day while commuting to work or travelling around town, we’re exposed to high levels of toxins. Air pollutants rob skin cells of oxygen, and cause free radical production in the skin. Following are a few measures that one should always observe to protect skin and hair from air pollution.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help us fight the devastating effects of pollution. It can also help us breathe easier. When 200 patients between the ages of 54 to 74, many of whom were asthmatic or had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), were studied at the Imperial College in London, researchers found that those with lower levels of Vitamin C were more vulnerable to breathing difficulties and hospital admission, especially on days when air pollution levels increased outside.

Natural sources for Vitamin C are available in plenty. If you’re looking for the best sources of Vitamin C, oranges, pineapples, guavas, papayas, strawberries and amla (gooseberries) are all ideal choices. You can make a paste of amla and add it to a litre of drinking water. Sip on this throughout the day. Vitamin C is also found in vegetables; stock up on capsicum, kale, broccoli, chilli peppers, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. For a steadier, more measured dose, chewable tablets of 1000 mg Vitamin C are also an option.
For more protection inside and out, apply a Vitamin C serum (a lotion with at least 15 percent Vitamin C).

Many of us don’t bother with make-up, especially during the hot summer months, but in fact, a freshly scrubbed face is often more vulnerable to the damaging effects of air pollution. With no barrier between your skin and the air, toxins and UV radiation can sink directly into your skin. To prevent this, never step out with a raw face. Choose a light moisturiser, follow this up with a sunscreen, and dust on a loose powder before you leave your home.

It’s tempting to wash your face often, especially after battling the heat and grime of Indian roads. But frequent washing strips your skin of essential oils, making it more prone to acne. If you need refreshment between washes, try a vapourising spray equipped with sulphur springs or sulphur water to keep you hydrated.

Sweat, dust, grime — all this can settle in the roots of your hair. A head massage, once every two weeks, can help stimulate blood circulation, improve the health of the scalp, and refresh you after a long day in polluted air. Use coconut oil or mustard oil in the summers.

— The writer is a skin specialist and homeopath physician.

( Source : dc )
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