Inside our #SOSSkin clinic: Taking on pollution

We ask a tester to put Elizabeth Arden's City Smart range through its paces...

We ask a tester to put Elizabeth Arden's City Smart range through its paces...

When our tester Cara stepped into Marie Claire's SOS Skin clinic, she - and her skin - were confused. Slight redness? Tick. Patches of dryness? Yep. Spots cropping up at random? Indeedy. Looking through her routine, the cause of her confused skin wasn’t obvious. Equally, there wasn’t enough cohesiveness in her symptoms to lead to a simple diagnosis and product prescription.

Baffled, we asked Cara about her lifestyle and things became much clearer. Her job involves an awful lot of exposure to city air, and her days spent on building sites and outdoors in London led us to suspect that her symptoms were the result of pollution.

Having come to the fore recently as a key skin aggressor, pollution is a year-round issue, damaging cells and compromising the skin’s barrier function. While the effects may not manifest as quickly as, say, sun damage, pollution nonetheless will make itself known by exacerbating current skin conditions, and by accelerating the ageing process over time.

To test the theory, we asked Cara to base her routine around Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF50 Hydrating Shield, which contains a patent pending antioxidant complex to neutralise the free radicals that are a result of pollution, along with a host of skin strengthening ingredients and an SPF 50. Watch the video to see how she got on, and try sticking to the below rules if you’re worried about the effects of pollution.

The Beauty Desk’s 5 Rules To Combatting Pollution:

  1. Wash your face nightly.Cleansing won’t just remove make-up but will also wash away pollutants, meaning they’re on your skin for less time and therefore will cause less damage.
  2. Avoid walking on main roads. Prevention being better than a cure, avoid pollution by taking side roads or walking through parks as much as possible.
  3. Up your barrier function. A moisturiser containing a shield will stop pollution particles from penetrating the epidermis.
  4. Use an antioxidant serum. Antioxidants will mop up the free radicals that exposure to pollution creates.
  5. Make time for a weekly mask. While daily care will support skin, using a mask that's supercharged with antioxidants and calming ingredients like algae will offer a boost.
Madeleine Spencer

Madeleine Spencer is a journalist and broadcaster who has contributed to titles including Grazia, Glamour, InStyle, The Independent, The Evening Standard, and Stylist, as well as offering commentary for the BBC, Sky News, and ITV.

She is keen on exploring the significance beauty rituals, products, and memories have on people from different walks of life, and enters into conversation on the topic with guests on her podcast, Beauty Full Lives.