Anti-Pollution Skincare Is Essential For City Living. Here’s Why.

By Lucy Slight
New York-based New Zealand creative Natalie Cantell. Photo / James Lowe

New York-based New Zealand creative Natalie Cantell is a big-city denizen. These are her skincare musts.

When we think about environmental factors that cause damage to the skin, UVA and UVB rays are always at the top of the list — and rightly so.

But as pollution levels continue to

Our skin is the first line of defence against pollutants and continued exposure to these environmental factors can interrupt the skin’s barrier function, making you even more at risk of damage.

So, what’s the solution? While avoiding pollution is ideal, it’s not realistic, so that’s where good skincare comes into play. Ensuring you’re protecting your skin with products designed to combat the effects of pollution is key, but so is a good cleansing routine that washes away any outside debris or particles too.

When New Zealand creative Natalie Cantell moved from Sydney to New York seven years ago to work as the executive director of Who What Wear and Marie Claire’s brand studio, the change from a balmy climate to predominately climate-controlled living indoors and significantly higher pollution levels out, meant she needed to switch up her skincare. She’s a great example of not over-complicating a skincare routine but making sure that what you do use is effective in combating aggressors of both the indoor and outdoor variety.

“If I feel like I need a proper scrub, which is much more often here in New York. I’ll use Emma Lewisham’s Illuminating Exfoliant, as it’s gentle enough for me to use as often as I’d like,” explains Natalie. “My thirsty skin also loves the Supernatural Face Oil, as it’s great for locking in hydration and creating a protective barrier like oils do.

“I impulse purchased Dr Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Pollution Drops while on a post-facial high in LA once, and they’re one of the few products I’ve found that also help protect from the blue light that’s emitted from our screens,” she adds.

Now as the head of her own creative studio specialising in photo and video shoots in NYC, Paris, Sydney and Auckland, Natalie is constantly moving between climates, but with both anti-pollution and UV protection in mind, sunscreen is always a must. Her favourites from Down Under are Mecca To Save Body sunscreen and SPF 50+ Brightening Sun Serum.

Sunscreen is the best place to start when honing your anti-pollution skincare regimen; as always, make sure whichever SPF you choose protects you from both UVA (ageing) and UVA (burning) rays and reapply every couple of hours when outdoors.

There are myriad serums on the market that help to actively protect your skin from pollutants, which, for big city living, is essential and, if you’re a fan of spritzing your skin to rehydrate throughout the day, try switching to one with pollution-fighting properties too.

When the day is done, performing a double cleanse on your skin will make sure you get rid of any post-city grime. An oil cleanser is fantastic for cutting through dirt and impurities, followed by a second cleanse with micellar water, a cream cleanser or cleansing pads.

Anti-pollution products for city living

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