Skin pollution

Industrial smoke from chimney on blue sky

For many Americans, health is a priority. They’re conscious of the foods they eat, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water.

Despite all this, many tend to neglect their biggest organ: the skin.

It’s no secret that Bakersfield’s air quality isn’t the best. ranks Bakersfield in the top three worst-polluted cities in the country. While that strikes fear and worry in residents in regards to internal damage, the damage pollutants in the air can cause externally should not be overlooked.

Over 70 percent of Americans do not identify pollution as damaging to their skin, but the consequences of repeated exposure to such elements can range from irritation, premature aging, organ damage and cancer.

“It’s not just outdoor activities that heightens our skin’s exposure to pollution, but things like our daily commute as well, which many people are overlooking,” said board certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. “

The first line of defense: a daily skin care regiment. It may seem simple, but in truth, 64 percent of Americans don’t regularly use a cleanser.

“Forming good skin care habits is not complicated, and it offers the best possible protection against unhealthy elements in our environment,” Henry said. “I recommend adding an effective cleanser to your skin care routine.”

A good cleanser won’t irritate or excessively dry out the skin or strip it of oil. In addition, the skin naturally contains ceramides, which is part of the glue that holds skin cells together, helping skin retain moisture in and irritants out while maintaining the skin’s barrier. But ceramides become depleted over time. To combat that, look for cleansers that contain ceramides.

“I love the CeraVe (products) because they gently and effectively cleanse the skin to remove dirt, oil, pollution and residue that build up throughout the day and they contain three essential ceramides to help restore the skin’s natural barrio to lock in moisture and seal out impurities,” Henry said. “Cleansing the skin should be a daily priority, and especially so when spending time outdoors. It’s especially important before climbing into bed to remove any dirt, oil and residue that’s built up over the course of the day, as well as any makeup that might clog pores while you sleep.”

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