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Is Pollution Causing Your Age Spots?

When most people think of pollution, images of smoggy cities and poor breathing conditions often come to mind. But according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, air pollution is a problem everywhere, not just in industrial hubs, and it could be harming more than our respiratory systems. Evidence suggests that the pollution we’re surrounded with on a daily basis could actually be contributing to and even accelerating the progression of the dark spots on our skin that are commonly associated with the aging process.

The Link between Ozone and Accelerated Aging

You may already be familiar with the term “ozone,” as it relates to the protective layer of the Earth’s stratosphere that may be diminishing due to pollution. But there’s also another kind of ozone, which exists at the ground level. This type of ozone is to blame for respiratory problems, as well as skin conditions like age spots and even skin cancer (New York Times).

Ground-level ozone destroys the lipids that make up the protective outer layer of our skin, allowing DNA-damaging processes to accelerate aging. Unfortunately, while sunscreens can protect your skin against harmful UV light, they can’t keep pollution from entering your skin or damaging its protective barrier.

So how can you protect your skin and get rid of age spots? Here are three key tips to follow:

1. Apply Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E

Applying topical antioxidants like vitamins C and E is one of the best things you can do for your skin. These molecules work by preventing the harmful oxidation of free radicals that’s caused by both UV rays and ground-level ozone. This protects your skin from conditions like age spots, premature lines and wrinkles, and even decreases your risk for melanoma (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).

2. Use the Right Cleanser

There is some good news when it comes to the impact of pollution on your skin. Although it can have long-lasting damaging effects, these reactions are not immediate and pollutants can actually be washed away. Use a cleanser that will sweep away the particulate matter that makes up air pollution without stripping away your skin’s natural oils. Avoid harsh ingredients like sulfates and alcohol that could potentially remove this protective layer of oil that’s already built into your skin.

Beeswax makes an excellent skin care ingredient for this very reason. It acts as a protective shield for your skin, not only helping to keep moisture locked in, but also keeping harmful molecules out (New York Times).

3. Seek Professional Treatment

If age spots are already a concern for you, there are a number of professional skin care treatments available that can help to restore a smoother, more even complexion. Forever Young BBL can be an effective treatment for age spots, sun damage, lines and wrinkles, and other unwanted blemishes. It works by directing pulses of broadband light to the affected area, which stimulates your skin’s collagen production and eliminates the excessive pigmentation that causes age spots.

If you’re considering treatment for age spots or other skin conditions, consult a board-certified dermatologist to assess your needs and determine which solution might be best for you. At Acqua Blu Medical Spa in Pittsburgh and Wexford, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ana Busquets, along with our qualified physician assistants, would be happy to provide a thorough assessment of your skin and help you take the first steps towards achieving a healthy-looking complexion.