pollution alert

Sore throat, itchy eyes, breathing difficulties...
And what if your skin were subject to the same irritation?

Sun, UV rays and Pollution: a harmful combination for the skin

While we have been aware of the dangers of the sun and UV rays for the skin for several decades now, the dangers of pollution are still largely unknown, especially when it's associated with UV rays.
For the past 15 years, La Roche-Posay has been studying the impact of atmospheric pollution on the skin. It has identified pollutants as a factor that increases sensitivity in people suffering from inflammatory skin conditions such as acne1 2, urticaria3 and eczema3. These advanced studies also revealed the harmful effects of the combined action of UV rays and pollutants, from which the skin must be protected. When pollutants are combined with UV rays, they generate a negative synergy: the accumulated damage from pollutants combined with UV rays is more serious than the damage caused from two of them separate.

What are the effects of a combination of UV rays and pollution?

The skin is the first barrier against external attacks. In the presence of atmospheric pollution, it is altered and no longer fulfils its role of protecting the epidermis. The main pollutants which affect the skin are:

  • Ozone: by oxidising sebum, ozone damages the cutaneous barrier and causes inflammation1.
  • Fine particles: Their size varies but PM2.5 are potentially the most harmful. They cling to the skin and become lodged in the pores, possibly penetrating down to the epidermis.

The result: Pollution is affecting skin integrity: The skin barrier is altered and cutaneous oxidative-stress and inflammation occurs, worsening skin sensitivity.

Moreover, the effect of pollutants is increased by heat, the sun, and UVA and UVB rays which are also responsible for the occurrence of pigmentation disorders and skin aging.

Very high protection to ensure the skin is protected and preserved

On a daily basis our skin is exposed to atmospheric pollution and UV rays which irradiate the surface of the Earth. UVB affects the epidermis and can cause sunburn and inflammation, while UVA is mainly responsible for oxidative stress and photo-ageing. Both UVA and UVB are involved in skin cancer development. Suncare products not only protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays but also prevent polluting particles from sticking to the epidermis, preventing the damage caused by harmful synergic action.

The sun protection used must have a very high protection factor in order to counteract both UVA and UVB rays. In order to guarantee a very high level of protection without making compromises regarding tolerance, Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid formulated by La Roche-Posay contains an SPF 50+ to fight against UVBs and a PPD 42 to combat UVAs in order to prevent the negative synergic damage caused by oxidative stress induced by pollution and UV rays.

1 Source: L'Oréal Research & Innovation, Pham DM, Boussouira B, Moyal D, and Nguyen QL, Oxidization of squalene, a human skin lipid: a new and reliable marker of environmental pollution studies, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2015, 1–9.
2 Source: L'Oréal Research & Innovation, Lefebvre MA, Pham DM, Boussouira B, Bernard D, Camus C and Nguyen QL, Evaluation of the impact of urban pollution on the quality of skin: a multicentre study in Mexico, 2015, 1–10.
3 Source: Kim J, Kim EH, Oh I, Jung K, Han Y, Cheong HK, et al. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis are influenced by outdoor pollution. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013;132:495–7.