Our skin is a landscape shaped by the environment we live in. Living in the city, our skin is repeatedly exposed to air pollutants over a prolonged and sustained period of time. It is for this reason, dermatologists are encouraging an awareness of its effects and recommending ways to incorporate anti-pollution skincare into our routine.

In conversation with Dr Nick and Phillipa Lowe, at the Cranley clinic, we identify the effect of pollution on the skin and how environmental pollutants compromise the integrity of the skin’s biology. We also recommend various ways of restoring the skin’s health to repair the damage caused by oxidative stress.

Our Skin and Pollution

As the first line of defence between the human body and its environment, the skin works to prevent the loss of moisture and keep toxins out. Microscopic pollutants penetrating the epidermal layers of the skin, causing lasting damage to the skin’s protective function. This in turn, affects the skin’s efficacy and ability for self-renewal.


To safeguard against the effects of pollution, it is essential to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and create a second layer to reduce contact with toxic particles.

Most dermatologists emphasise the importance of cleansing thoroughly and applying antioxidants, hydrators and SPF’s daily.

It is widely known that antioxidants are the most effective way to protect against and neutralize the free-radical damage caused by environmental pollutants. Using high SPF protection can also counteract the damage caused by UV exposure. It has been observed that the effect of pollutants is exacerbated by UV rays. 


In the guide below, we highlight the common skin conditions caused by pollutant exposure. Most of these conditions can be reversed and repaired by creating a layer of protection and a routine that fits your skin’s profile. We also include suggestions on how to remedy them. These steps work in unison with the skin’s natural defences and reinforce its protective function against the elements.



Born in 1961, J.D Doria is an interdisciplinary and independent artist who lives and works in Tel-Aviv. Working with liquid materials such as ink, glass paints and acrylic, his images explore the quality of form and chemical interaction. In his ‘Petri Dish’ series, he uses a glass container as a medium, much like a laboratory petri dish. Using different mélanges of liquid colors and materials, he “grows” the image, allowing the agency of the materials to guide the composition. Each work is composed by a circular image that captures the initial stages of the reaction and by the ‘multitude’ of images extracted from the process.