4 Surprising Causes of Skin Damage That Have Nothing to Do With the Sun
The best offense really is a good defense, but when it comes to anti-aging skincare, relying on just one preventive measure is not enough. While SPF protects against UV rays, it leaves you exposed to other aggressors — particularly of the indoor variety. “Four factors are responsible for 85 percent of [age-related] changes to exposed skin,” claims Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD, and co-founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare. “These are pollution, light, climate, and irritants.” Along with active ingredients, like retinol, and cosmetic dermatology treatments, like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, there is more you can do to ward off wear and tear on your complexion. Keep reading to find out how to address these aggressors and upgrade your regimen for tighter, brighter skin.
1. Add antioxidants. Pollution overwhelms the skin with harmful free radical exposure, but incorporating potent antioxidants can help. “Pollution can be more responsible than the sun for wrinkles and age spots,” Ciraldo says. “So, it is very important to use antioxidants in our skincare since these are the ingredients that work to prevent free radical damage.” Her bio-inspired, lab-made antioxidant, Lipochroman, protects the skin from three sources of aging pollutants — oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon free radicals — all at once. Brit + Co Pick: Dr. Loretta Intense Brightening Regimen Set ($180)
2. Dim the settings on your tech devices. Outdoor sun exposure isn’t the only culprit. Even when you’re inside, the blue light from your phone, tablet, and gadgets can age the skin. Use products rich in red algae, which helps protect against blue light, up to twice a day. Brit + Co Pick: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($32)
3. Add lipids to your regimen. Extreme changes in humidity and temperature can make your skin look weathered. “Our skin loses more water, gets drier, rougher, redder, and [shows deepened] lines and wrinkles in colder, drier climates,” Ciraldo explains. “Climate control also makes indoor air drier, and for this reason, I recommend lipid-replacement year-round.” No matter the season, buffer your skin from the elements by replenishing the lipids in your skin barrier — acting like a shield from the blaring heater or frigid AC. Brit + Co Pick: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 ($128)
avoid irritating ingredients
4. Eliminate skin-irritating ingredients. Artificial dyes, added fragrance, phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, ethyl, and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients can all do as much harm to your skin as hours of unfiltered sun exposure. Not paying attention to your products’ ingredient lists can lead to redness, roughness, hyperpigmentation, and more. “Irritants activate enzymes in deeper layers of skin that break down collagen and elastic fibers, [causing] wrinkles,” Ciraldo explains. “When skin is exposed to irritants, the damage can be widespread.” To avoid these hidden skin saboteurs, read your ingredient labels closely for noted red-flag ingredients. Reach for 100 percent natural and organic solutions, especially around sensitive areas like the eyes, that don’t include thickeners, synthetics, or emulsifiers. Brit + Co Pick: Akar Skin Nutrient Boost Eye Serum ($85)
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