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The Best Anti-Pollution Skincare Ingredients

April 11, 2021

The Best Anti-Pollution Skincare Ingredients

We all know that sun exposure, dry weather, and even stress can wreak havoc on our skin… but have you ever thought about pollution?

Studies have shown that pollution can contribute to skin aging, dullness, dryness, acne, and even flare up certain conditions like eczema. For those who live in highly polluted areas like major cities, these effects may be more prevalent—so it’s important to take steps to protect your complexion.

Luckily, there are a variety of skincare ingredients out there that can help to nourish and protect your skin as you go about your day. Keep reading to learn about some of the best skincare ingredients for battling the negative effects of pollution:  


Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3,  is a powerhouse skincare ingredient. It offers a variety of benefits, including regulating oil production, minimizing pore appearance, reducing wrinkles and fine lines, and treating hyperpigmentation and acne.

One of niacinamide’s most notable benefits, however, is its ability to retain moisture and protect the skin from environmental damage. Niacinamide strengthens the skin’s lipid barrier, which is what helps it to lock in hydration. It also helps to protect the skin from environmental stresses, such as toxins, sunlight, and, you guessed it… pollution.

This ingredient is commonly found in serums, which penetrate deeply into the skin. Niacinamide can be applied in the morning and night and can be used alongside other ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, to enhance its effectiveness. 

Chia Seed Extract

Not only can chia seeds be a great addition to your diet, but they can also do wonders for the skin. Chia seed extract contains high levels of phytonutrients, making it rich in antioxidants. As a result, this protects the skin and speeds up its repair process to help prevent further damage.

Chia seed extract typically comes in the form of an oil, and applying it to the skin has been shown to provide a boost of hydration while improving skin barrier function. In turn, this can help to protect the skin from environmental irritants.

Tip: When using a facial oil such as chia seed oil, apply it as the last step in your routine (before SPF). Put a few drops in your hands and gently press the product into your skin to seal in moisture.

White Tea

White tea is full of antioxidants, which makes it a fantastic drink choice and skincare ingredient. When applied topically, such as in a moisturizer, white tea can protect your skin from the effects of internal and external aging.

For example, several studies have found that the polyphenols in white tea can prevent damage to the fibers that help to keep skin tight and firm. White tea has also been shown to protect against the harmful effects of external factors, such as the sun’s UV rays and pollution. 

Vitamin C & E

Vitamin C and E are commonly found in skincare products, and for a good reason. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits each of these vitamins have to offer:

  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is known for its ability to hydrate, brighten, and even the overall tone of skin. This ingredient is also rich in antioxidants, meaning it can protect the skin from free radical damage—which is often caused by pollution. 
  • Vitamin E: Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radical damage. Vitamin E oil is incredibly nourishing, so it’s a great option for those who suffer from dry skin.

Green Tea

If you’re looking for a natural, yet highly effective skincare ingredient, look no further than green tea. From reducing inflammation and dark circles to fading signs of aging and treating breakouts, green tea offers many different benefits for the skin.

Green tea has been shown to improve skin elasticity, which is something that pollution breaks down over time. It also contains caffeine, which can perk up the skin when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. This combination of benefits can help to keep your skin looking bright, awake, and youthful. 


Algae may be a lesser-known skincare ingredient, but it offers an impressive lineup of benefits. There are several different types of algae, including seaweed, kelp, and spirulina, just to name a few. Algae can be consumed in the form of supplements, but it can also be applied topically.

In addition to hydrating the skin, clearing pores, and fading hyperpigmentation, certain types of algae can combat oxidative stress. Algae supplements can help to manage inflammation in the skin, which is often caused by pollution. 

Mineral SPFs

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two ingredients that provide a protective barrier for the skin, shielding it from UV rays and toxins in the environment. They are commonly found in what’s referred to as mineral sunscreens.

Mineral sunscreens are often considered to be better alternatives to chemical sunscreens, which are irritating for some skin types. Mineral sunscreens have gotten a bad rap in the past for leaving a white cast and being chalky in texture, but formulations on the market today have come a long way. Now, many formulas look and feel very similar to chemical sunscreens

If you’re in need of a product that protects your skin from the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation as well as environmental toxins, a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may be the perfect choice. 


Ceramides are naturally found in the skin and make up a significant part of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. Essentially, they help to create a barrier that locks in moisture, protecting the skin from dryness and irritation. This barrier has also been shown to protect the skin from damage caused by the environment.

While skin naturally contains ceramides, they are lost over time—which can lead to dull, dry skin that is more susceptible to premature aging. Using a skincare product formulated with ceramides can help to slow this process and keep your skin hydrated and protected.


Dandelion is packed with health benefits, from fighting inflammation to aiding in blood sugar control. It can also protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays and even promote the generation of new skin cells, which can slow the aging process.

Research has also found that dandelion can hydrate the skin, increase collagen production, and reduce inflammation and irritation. 

Activated Charcoal

While this ingredient doesn’t necessarily protect the skin from pollution, it can help to remove impurities from the skin that build up from exposure to toxins in the environment.

Activated charcoal draws small particles of dirt, chemicals, bacteria, and toxins to the surface of the skin so they can be removed. Using a cleanser or mask with activated charcoal, along with a product formulated with one of the protective ingredients mentioned above, can help to keep the skin clear, smooth, and even-toned.

No matter where you live, these skincare ingredients can help to protect your complexion from the environment while keeping it looking its best. Have fun researching and trying out different products to find what works for your specific skin type!