Could the return to work be damaging YOUR skin?
Is going back to the office making YOU look older? From fine lines caused by city pollution to dull ‘train face’, experts reveal how to stop your commute ageing you after lockdown
- Skincare experts reveal how the return to work could be causing damage to skin
- Warned pollution can cause clogged pores, breakouts and premature ageing
- Dr Catherine Borysiewicz and Lou Sommereux revealed how to avoid problems
As office workers return to their desks at an increasing rate, many employees will be travelling from the comfort of their home to the bustling inner city.
Leading skincare experts have revealed the problems that could occur while returning to the office after months at home, from irritated skin, clogged pores and premature ageing.
From longer hours spent exposed to sunlight to pollution from public transport or city air, getting back to your desk could mean you’re at risk of developing acne, dry skin and even hormone imbalances.
Here, FEMAIL reveals the damage life in the city can cause your skin, and what to do about it.
Leading skincare experts have revealed the problems that could occur while returning to the office after months at home, from irritated skin, clogged pores and premature ageing, caused by pollution and enclosed spaces
POLLUTION CAUSING PREMATURE AGEING
Working in a large city, your skin will naturally be more exposed to more air pollutants – but this can be a particular problem when spending commutes in packed tubes or trains.
Pollutants can strip the skin of moisture and damage your moisture barrier which can result in dryness; which in turn makes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles more pronounced.
Lou Sommereux, Clinical Director at Cosmex Clinic, said: ‘Fine lines and wrinkles come naturally with age, but if you live in a busy city, the pollutants will dry your skin out making you more susceptible to premature ageing.
‘Pay attention to your skincare, and make sure you are not skipping hydration. Use a light moisturiser in the morning, along with your SPF to help protect against UV rays and other environmental damage. At night, I suggest opting for a heavier moisturiser to help nourish your skin as you sleep.’
Dr Martin Kinsella, a leading aesthetics, and hormone doctor from BioID, added: ‘It is also important to make sure you are drinking enough water. Water keeps us healthy from the inside and helps our skin to retain its moisture on the outside.
‘Aim to drink at least two litres per day. You could also try adding splashes of lemon – not only are they tasty, but lemons are also a natural antioxidant that will help your skin. In terms of skincare, I second what Lou says about moisturiser.
‘I would also recommend adding hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine. Hyaluronic acid can be found in most good skincare nowadays and it helps to trap moisture in your skin.’
Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, added: ‘Chemicals from pollution can also penetrate through layers of skin, causing oxidative stress –an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals, which can damage cells and cause ageing.
‘Fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sensitivity and breakouts are some of the common effects that pollution can have on the skin.
‘People with sensitive skin and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, acne, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis can be more susceptible to the effects of pollution on the skin .’
LOW HUMIDITY CAUSING DRY AND IRRITATED SKIN
As we move into the colder months, Dr Catherine Borysiewicz warned that our skin could be at risk of drying out or becoming irritated while travelling to and from the office.
‘Weather changes dramatically in the UK- cold snaps, biting wind and rain. A we move into winter our skin is exposed to extremes in temperature and our reliance on central heating creates lower humidity environments.
‘Therefore, during the winter the skin barrier is more vulnerable to moisture loss, creating dry and irritable skin. Winter is a time when underlying inflammatory skin conditions can become much more problematic.’
How to avoid ‘train face’: Facialist reveals commuting on public transport can cause premature ageing, clogged pores and dry skin
Chelsee Lewis, a high-end London skincare expert with 23 years in the industry, has advised that constant commuting can drain your skin and lead to premature ageing, clogged pores, dryness, flakiness, red patches and dull skin.
Chelsee explained the close proximity of the tube means smaller harmful particles are more easily able to make their way into your skin and can lead to issues with it’s appearance.
She said: ‘Apparently particles are 20 times smaller when traveling on the tube that gets into the pores.
‘This can upset the skin barrier causing problems such as premature ageing, congestion, dryness (ceramides which are the lipid in the skin) thus losing skin moisture very quickly.’
‘Symptoms can also include red patches, sensitive ,irritated, flaky itchy & dull skin.’
She explained that pollution in the air breaks down the collagen, leaving skin feeling and looking tired and stressed.
‘The pollution also breaks down the collagen’, explained Chelsee.
‘Leaving the skin feeling and looking very stressed, whilst cutting down the oxygen supply to the cells so they don’t work as efficiently.
How to avoid ‘train face’
Step-up your skincare regime
To prevent ‘train face’ Chelsee suggested an intensive skincare regime which includes SPF 50 and Vitamin C serum with a decent daily moisturiser.
She said: ‘Having a thorough routine is a must when travelling and commuting every day.
‘Using SPF 50 regularly, Vitamin C serum with a good day moisturiser, masking & exfoliating on a regular basis, double cleansing of an evening and so forth.’
Invest in antipollution products
To make sure you’re protected against the pollution of public transport, the expert suggests certain antipollution ranges to ensure your skin is protected.
She said:’There so many antipollution ranges on the market which will help to protect your skin but the below are the real game changers.’
Book a regular facial
The beauty guru added: ‘Having a facial every 3-4 weeks to help address the above concerns keeps the skin in tiptop shape. ‘
She suggested increasing the effectiveness of your moisturiser by looking for ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated.
POLLUTANTS IN ENCLOSED SPACES CLOGGING PORES
Lou explained that some of the chemicals attached to pollution particles can penetrate through the skin’s protective barrier, block the pores and lead to acne and breakouts.
‘Inner city living can be rough on your skin. Air pollutants and harmful chemicals can penetrate deep into your skin and cause oxidative stress – weakening your skins natural defence barrier.
High exposure to these particles can result in pigmentation problems, uneven skin tone and blocked pores which leads to acne. People with sensitive skin, or conditions such as eczema, can be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution, as they have a compromised skin barrier to start with. That is why taking care of your skin and protecting it is crucial.’
Dr Kinsella recommended really prioritising double cleansing when it comes to your skincare routine and using antioxidants to protect skin from harmful pollutants.
‘Double cleansing is essential, especially if you live in a busy city. The first cleanse will gently breakdown and remove pollutants that may be sat on the skins surface, and the second cleanse will draw out all the bacteria from your pores.
You should also try to include some antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to help combat free radical damage on the skin’s surface layers.’
Lou also encouraged exfoliating treatments to clean the pores of any trapped pollutants and acne causing bacteria.
‘Try to use a chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid around three times per week to give your pores a really deep clean. Small particles of bacteria can get stuck in your pores and lead to acne. Try to avoid harsh physical exfoliants though, especially if you have sensitive skin as these can often be harsh on the skin, and further impact your skins moisture barrier.’
UV RADIATION CAUSING HYPERPIGMENTATION AND WRINKLES
CAROLINA – UVA light is always present, even when the sun isn’t visible. UVA rays account for about 95 pr cent of the rays that reach the earth and can cause cumulative damage such as fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and possible skin cancer.
Lou says: ‘Living in a city often means spending extended periods of time being exposed to harmful UV rays from the sun. Whilst the sun is a great provider of vitamin D, it can be very bad for the skin and cause pigmentation, skin damage and even Melanoma.
Even if it’s pouring it down with rain, you should still use a good SPF each day to provide that first level of protection. Not only will SPF combat sun damage leading to hyperpigmentation and sunspots, but it will also help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
You should also consider using Vitamin C treatments within your skincare routine. This is a natural antioxidant that helps to protect the skin and promote collagen production; it is also known to help improve the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage.’
DULL SKIN FROM LATE NIGHTS
Returning to the office may mean late nights out at the pub with colleagues, but the experts warned that missing out on sleep could lead to an uneven skin tone and a dull complexion.
Dr Kinsella said: ‘We all suffer from a dull complexion from time to time, but you’ll be surprised how much difference a good skincare routine or facial treatment can make.
‘Don’t skip out on your active ingredients, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and Lactic Acid can really help brighten the skin.’
Lou added: ‘Again, try to up your water intake. The outer layer of skin should contain 10 per cent to 15 per cent water. When this level drops, skin can become dehydrated contributes to a dull complexion and more visible fine lines and wrinkles.
‘You could also try Profhilo, which is an excellent anti-ageing and hydrating treatment that injecting pure, and stabilised hyaluronic acid where your skin needs it.
‘I also advise taking some time each day for a little gentle exercise, not only is this great for your overall wellbeing, but it also improves blood circulation.
‘This helps to deliver oxygen and key nutrients to the skin which keeps the skin healthy and promotes collagen production, which is great for anti-ageing.
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