There’s nothing better than feeling confident in your own skin as we go about our day — but your skin is constantly fighting off the Four Factors that contribute to aging: pollution, light, climate, and irritants. What you choose to do in your skincare routine is a powerful opportunity to protect and heal your skin, but it’s tough to keep up with all of the industry products and claims. The science of skincare can be confusing, but we're here to help.
What are the Four Factors?*
Indoor pollution, which the World Health Organization has found to be at higher levels than outdoor pollution, comes from paint, plastics, stove top cooking, nicotine, and dust mites. Outdoor pollution mainly stems from car emissions, power plants, construction sites, dust, and fires.
The most destructive pollution particles are called PM 2.5, which is a description of their microscopic size. These particles are 30 times smaller than our pores, so they are able to deeply penetrate into skin where they create free radicals that damage skin cells to produce visible aging changes.
We know that people who live in more polluted northern cities have more wrinkles than their aged matched peers in the south. And people who live near a busy road have 22% more age spots than there age-matched peers. So the evidence is there that pollution can even be more responsible than sun for wrinkles and age spots. This is probably at least in part because our skin is constantly exposed to pollution, but we only get sun exposure for a very limited number of hours each week.
We know the sun causes skin damage but on average we spend 90% of our time indoors. So, we also need to factor in how visible indoor light exposure may damage our skin. Computer screens, tablets and cell phones emit small amounts of blue light too, so it’s important to protect skin from this light spectrum to achieve healthier, younger-looking skin.
Besides UV, the sun also emits visible blue light (which makes for blue skies!) which broad spectrum SPF products typically don’t cover. This light has actually been shown to cause more redness, swelling and hyperpigmentation than UVA in people who have the ability to tan.
Our Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF 40 contains indian ginseng (also known as Ashwagandha!) which blocks HEV blue light damage from the sun and the screens you use every day while high percentages of zinc and other sun-blocking actives protect skin from UVA/UVB.
Extremes in temperatures, both hot and colder weather, and extremes in humidity, from the dryness of winter and climate controlled indoor environments to high humidity in summer -- all create potential skin damage that can be mitigated by lifestyle changes and skincare that addresses these issues.
Colder, drier weather is associated with lower levels of moisture-trapping skin lipids. This means our skin loses more water, becomes drier, rougher, and more red, while lines and wrinkles can appear deeper. Climate control indoors makes air drier and for this reason we recommend lipid replacement all year round.
Consider including a lipid-rich moisturizer or serum in your routine like our Intense Replenishing Serum!
Artificial color/dyes, artificial fragrance/parfum, ethyl alcohol and denatured alcohol, phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing ingredients, propylene glycol are some of the most common skin irritants and we believe they should be totally avoided.
At Dr. Loretta we know that when skin is exposed to irritants the damage can be widespread. Irritants activate enzymes in deeper layers of skin that break down collagen and elastic fibers so they are one cause of lines and wrinkles. Irritants also cause redness, swelling and hyper pigmentation as well as rough texture.
We know that learning about what damages and ages our skin can sometimes feel scary or hopeless. But we find that when you take a holistic approach to all these Four Factors in your skincare routine, you are able to easily correct and protect your skin at the same time.
*Krutmann, Jean, et al. “The Skin Aging Exposome.” Journal of Dermatological Science, vol. 85, no. 3, 2017, pp. 152–161., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.09.015.