Can skincare products counteract the skin drying problems pollen pollution causes to the skin?
The answer is yes, and I’m ever so excited as extensive research is indicating that certain skincare products are able to counter attack pollen pollution. (Pollen is considered a pollutant as many human activities are responsible for impacting pollen production eg. native weeds in one country such as American ragweed, being introduced to Europe).
Pollen particles are teeny weeny and are unable to enter the skin, however it’s now known they can cause damage to the skin. As I suffer massively with hayfever, this new knowledge could have an impact on my skin’s health as well as all of you, my fellow sufferers.
Two of the major cosmetic industry players (an American manufacturer of prestige cosmetics and a Japanese leading cosmetic company) highlighted some seriously interesting science. Their laboratories of skin physiology and pharmacology scientists presented data on the effects of pollen on the skin.
The scientists evaluated oodles of data and were surprised to find pollen was actually damaging to the skin rather than just sitting on the surface of the skin. To reach these results, the scientists carried out various tests on reconstructed skin (made synthetically in a laboratory to function exactly like skin) and found pollen affects the skin in two ways:
- The impairment of skin barrier function. The skin’s barrier function is to retain water and essential fatty acids on the skin. If this breaks down, which can happen through pollen being on the skin, the visible outcome will be excessively dry skin with a reduction of collagen manifesting itself in fine lines and wrinkles. The Japanese cosmetic company also carried out a number of additional trials. In basic terms, they added pollen to skin then applied a water solution on top. The water evaporated far quicker on the skin where pollen had been added compared to skin with no added pollen, therefore, proving water loss and drying of the skin.
- Skin inflammation increases. Pollen is known to release a type of enzyme which results in skin inflammation and free radical generation. The enzyme is known as allergen sourced derived protease (ASDP).Following more tests, the American based scientists found anti-oxidants to be the magic antidote. Well not quite magic, but I’m certain the scientists felt fairly euphoric that day. What had taken the scientists by surprise, was finding that this enzyme released by the pollen also generated free radicals.
I decided to research further on this point and found an excellent scholarly report wrote by an eminent professor.
In part of the report, Dr David Lambeth, a molecular biologist at Emory University School of Medicine, America concluded that:
‘Pollen is more active than we thought. We knew that pollen can make the body make free radicals, but this study shows that pollen takes an active role in making free radicals itself’.
So what does all this mean for us sufferers of hayfever in the dreaded pollen season?
From the research available, it’s clear that a skin care product to fight pollen pollution needs to include three types of functional ingredients:
- a humectant (reduces the loss of water) to halt, or at least slow down, the impairment of the skin’s barrier function
- an array of essential fatty acids to keep lipids on the skin’s surface to benefit the barrier function of the skin
- a highly effective anti-oxidant to counteract the enzyme generating free radicals
Here at INSKIN we have two products I have developed (both to be used at night-time) which truly fit the bill.
One is an eye serum which contains a mega-dosage of the anti-oxidant king vitamin E (our vitamin is 100% natural with a full tocopherol profile) with a host of essential fatty acids, and the other is a night balm containing a humectant, numerous essential fatty acids and again, an array of anti-oxidant rich botanicals.