What you need to know about how smoke and smog affects our skin

Calgary, being the urban city that it is, has some degree of air pollution already, but as of late, the increasing smoke from surrounding Alberta and BC wildfires is adding greatly to the issue.

So how does the skin react to this increase of air pollution?

For starters, smoke decreases the amount of clean, oxygenated blood that gets to the skin cells in order to feed and cleanse the tissue. The ash, micro-particles can clog up the pores, adding to the build-up of sweat, oil, old makeup, and dead skin cells. This can lead to everything from inflammation, to acne, along with a duller complexion.

That aside, a far more threatening problem is that of free radicals. These small pesky villains are present in all airborne pollution, such as smog and smoke. Free radicals are molecules with a single unpaired electron, which makes them both unstable and highly reactive. When introduced to your system, free radicals will seek out and steal electrons from molecules in healthy cells, such as skin cells. This process results in reduced collagen production, and is one of the leading causes to premature lines and wrinkles and therefore early signs of aging.

On the other side, we have antioxidants which are a group of beneficial nutrients – vitamins, minerals and enzymes – that can minimize and repair the damaged processes in cells by neutralizing the free radicals and help with repairing the skin cells.

Things that you can do to help fight against collagen damage caused by free radicals.

~ Wear NATURAL SPF to prevent against accumulative collagen damage from the sun.
~ Avoid long extensive time outdoors when it is increasingly smoggy or smoky.
~ Shower and wash away pollutants and dirt with a gentle natural cleanser every night.
~ Use antioxidant rich skincare suited to your skin type and situation.
~ Specifically use skincare that is high in Vitamin-C
~ Take daily Vitamins or multi-vitamins, minerals, and omegas.
~ Eat a balanced, whole food diet, especially greens which are high in antioxidants to fight against internal damages.
~ Try mineral-rich clay detox skin treatments 
~ Drink plenty of fresh water to flush the system
~ Get plenty of sleep to help balance and restore both your body and mind as a whole


Vitamin C (Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum)
This is an antioxidant powerhouse. Besides acting as a free-radical scavenger and an antioxidant powerhouse, Vitamin-C is necessary for the formation of collagen, and greatly assists with the overall appearance of our skin, and a reduction of lines and wrinkles. For the healthiest, most radiant looking skin, Vitamin-C is essential!

Vitamin E (Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum)
An extremely effective antioxidant that is naturally found in the body. This vitamin helps protect our collagen, and studies indicate that it can help improve the appearance of the skin.

Beta-carotene (Seabuckthorn Balancing Masque)
One of the safest forms of vitamin A (retinol). One molecule of beta-carotene can counteract a vast number of free radicals, and therefore is one of the most effective antioxidants for skincare.

Detoxifying Products + Minerals (Illuminate Fortify or Therapeutic Mask)  
These masks help remove impurities and restore balance to the skin.

For insight on your own personal skincare routine, drop by the spa or book a complimentary skin care analysis with one of our skin care professionals. 

See you at the spa!

Rachel Lamont | Owner and Holistic Medical Esthetician 
The Natural Art of Skin Care