Hey all you urbanites: Ever have a super stressful day only to get home and realize you look like you’ve aged five years? Well, it could be related to running to catch the bus and consequently sweating off all your makeup in the process, but it could also be your city’s fault. You know that hustle and bustle that makes you love city life so much? Well, it turns out it could be wreaking havoc on your skin. Last week a reader asked Harper’s Bazaar if living in a big city could actually make you age faster — and unfortunately, the answer was yes.

Bibhu Mohapatra - Sketch To Street Style - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014

Harper’s Bazaar spoke to Edouard Mauvais-Jarvis, the Scientific Director for Dior Skin Care and Makeup, who chalked it up to one major reason. He explains that it is primarily related to “the high levels of pollutants in large cities, which are causing dryness and dark spots and speeding up our skin’s aging processes.”

Pollutants we can see with our naked eye are scary, but not quite as terrifying as the ones we can’t. Mauvais-Jarvis explains that experts used to think a major pollutant was the burning of gasoline and coal, but now they’re realizing that when “you brake in a car, the discs in the brake pads rub together and create a mixture of different heavy metals that then adhere to pollens in the air. The pollens become even more allergenic and when they get into your skin, oxidation is generated and toxin production increases.” If you’re not a beauty buff, let us break that down. Basically, when all that gunk gets into your skin, collagen production slows and skin loses elasticity as well as its ability to fight aging. Yikes. But hey, don’t put a down payment on that country house just yet. If you love both city life and your youthful skin, here are a few products that can help fight the problem.


1. Age Defying Moisturizer ($10): Mauvais-Jarvis explains, “You need a product that reinforces the skin’s ability to regenerate and eliminate toxins and also blocks the entry of the particle in the first place by creating a protective layer on the skin.” While a product built for blocking city toxins might be hard to find, creating a layer of sunblock between your skin and pollutants will definitely work better than nothing at all. For a win-win option, try this moisturizer that has SPF as well as age-defying properties.


2. POREfessional Makeup Primer ($10): Snowballing from the first idea, thickening up that protective layer could also help. First apply sunscreen, allow that to soak in and then apply a primer before you put on your makeup.


3. Purity Deep-Clean Mask ($25): If you want to try to add a little bit of detoxing to your beauty regimen, that definitely won’t hurt. Try using this deep clean mask, which is full of mineral-rich, cleansing sea salts that help naturally purify and detoxify, while marine extracts and vitamin E help smooth the look of skin.


4. Clarins Bright Plus HP On-The-Spot Corrector ($30): If you feel those rumored dark spots taking effect, quickly correct them with this on-the-spot brightening corrector. Sea lily fights existing color, while a cocktail of raspberry extract and vitamin C help to prevent any more damage.


5. Moisturizing Orange Face Mask: Combat that dryness Mauvais-Jarvis warns us about with an occasional treatment of this DIY mask made with oatmeal, honey, orange juice and yogurt. Freshly squeezed orange juice is packed full of zinc and antioxidants, oatmeal and dried orange peel are excellent for gently exfoliating the dead skin cells from your face, honey is a natural antibacterial and skin tightener and yogurt moisturizes, reduces the size of your pores and even helps with break-outs. (via Food Plus Words)

Have you noticed that city living has affected your skin? How so? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

(Photo via Chelsea Lauren/Getty)