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Tips to prevent severe skin damage amid poor AQI

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Nov 17, 2022 01:52 PM IST

A disruption in the skin's ability to act as a barrier and the emergence of numerous skin illnesses occur whenever repeated exposure to air pollutants exceeds the skin's normal defensive capacity. Here are tips to prevent severe skin damage amid poor AQI

The number of persons who are afflicted by these air pollutants has significantly increased along with the increase in air pollution across the national capital region in India's New Delhi. When a person is exposed to any external environmental variables, such as pollution, their skin serves as the body's outermost barrier and is their first line of defence but various air pollutants and factors that contribute to air pollution such as ultraviolet radiation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, oxides, particulate matter, ozone and cigarette smoke, can have serious effects on human skin when exposed for an extended period of time.

Tips to prevent severe skin damage amid poor AQI (Photo by Tarikul Raana on Unsplash)
Tips to prevent severe skin damage amid poor AQI (Photo by Tarikul Raana on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Chandni Jain Gupta, Dermatology, Venereology, Cosmetology at Elantis Healthcare in New Delhi, explained, “Atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, atopic eczema, psoriasis, acne and skin cancer are all inflammatory or allergic disorders that are brought on by changes in how lipids, deoxyribonucleic acid, and proteins inside human skin function as a result of air pollution though the Oxidative damage. A disruption in the skin's ability to act as a barrier and the emergence of numerous skin illnesses occur whenever repeated exposure to air pollutants exceeds the skin's normal defensive capacity.”

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She elaborated, “Millions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on human skin make up the skin microbiome. These are crucial in battling unwanted external microorganisms and preparing the immune system for any environmental infection. When there are fewer or less diverse bacterial communities in the natural microbiome population, pathogenic bacteria can grow on the skin and cause a variety of skin problems. One of the primary bacterial strains responsible for inflammatory acne, Cutibacterium acnes, can proliferate when pollution particles physically rest on the skin and plug pores, trapping bacteria within.”

Prevention Tips

Talking about how the increase in these incidents has highlighted the necessity for understanding of strategies and preventative measures to safeguard oneself from these dangerous air pollutants, Dr Chandni Jain Gupta suggested:

- Make it a routine to wash both your hands and face as and when you return from outside or after few hours each day will help avoid skin problems. By removing impurities from the skin's surface as well as contaminants that have gotten inside the skin pores, using an oil-based cleanser or face wash can help the skin become more purified.

- Another prevention method is exfoliating twice a week. Exfoliating a couple of times a week helps remove dead skin cells as well as remove the pollution and dirt present in the pores inside the skin. It is advised to use soft and circular motions while exfoliating to not irritate the skin.

- The precaution one can take is to include antioxidants in the regular skincare routine. Strong antioxidants like vitamin C should be used often to prevent the appearance of oxidative stress symptoms including dark spots, fine lines and drooping skin.

- Using sunscreen on a regular basis may not immediately help to guard against pollution, but air pollutants may interact with UV rays to create chemicals that are highly bad for the skin. Therefore, regular usage of sunscreen is essential to minimise UV damage.

- A healthy skin is one that is well-hydrated, therefore maintaining the skin's optimal moisture levels can help shield it from harm. While going outside on a busy day, use nourishing moisturisers to avoid looking excessively oily and to protect your skin from damaging air pollution.

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