Pollution follows you everywhere you go, more faithfully than your beloved pet! It’s not just when you are outdoors, but also when you are indoors that your skin is exposed to various particulate matter that can cause hyperpigmentation and clog pores and compromise the skin’s natural health.

Problem skin? Blemishes? Pigmentation? The pollution around you may be the culprit. We spoke to Dr Mrunal Shah Modi, Consultant Dermatologist, and asked her to explain how to guard skin against the effects of pollution.

How does pollution affect different skin types?
 

How does pollution affect different skin types?

“Pollution has a lot of effects on the skin. Especially if someone has oily skin, they might face more problems with pollution. What happens because of pollution is that the pores get blocked due to the dust.”

What should one do to effectively fight the effects of pollution?
 

What should one do to effectively fight the effects of pollution?

“First thing you need to do is, wash your face with a gentle cleanser, exfoliate so the dead skin comes off and use a good moisturiser, as a light moisturiser will help release the sebum stuck on the pores.”

If I have acne and acne-marks, what do I do?
 

If I have acne and acne-marks, what do I do?

“If you already have acne that has set in, consult a dermatologist. He may recommend a night cream which has retinol, benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid. If you have marks left behind by pimples, certain treatments are advised like chemical peels and micro-dermabrasion. This is the way to treat pimples and marks that are caused by pollution.”

What natural ingredients should I add in my skincare routine to fight pollution?
 

What natural ingredients should I add in my skincare routine to fight pollution?

“Natural regimens can be of two types, one is applying and the second is to consume. For applying, multani mitti is quite popular. You can use it mixed with water or rose water and apply it on your face. The other thing you can use is shikakai powder. Mix it with turmeric powder, besan and water to make a paste and apply it on your skin. Some people may be allergic to certain ingredients, so if you find that your skin is getting pimples or rashes upon application, discontinue using it.”

“We recommend including green, leafy vegetables, fruits, broccoli, avocado and flax seeds in your diet. This will ensure your skin gets the extra protection it needs as these foods are rich in antioxidants. You can also steam your face so it opens up your pores and cleans them.”

Does pollution cause premature ageing and if true how do I tackle it?
 

Does pollution cause premature ageing and if true how do I tackle it?

“Yes, pollution does cause premature ageing. The only way to protect skin against this is by following a balanced lifestyle. Exercise is very important, a good balanced diet is important, avoiding alcohol and smoking is a good habit and lastly, follow a good skin care regimen strictly.”

When I am stepping into a polluted area, how do I protect my skin?
 

When I am stepping into a polluted area, how do I protect my skin?

“Follow these three mantras; cleanse your face as soon as you step out of the polluted area. Hydrate yourself, exfoliate your skin and apply a sunscreen 30 minutes before you step out into the sun or polluted areas. If you have sensitive skin, and becomes red, wear a scarf around your neck and wear light, full-sleeved garments, so you have minimal exposure to pollution.”