BeauTeas - August 21 2021
Protect Your Skin From Wildfire Smoke!
Mildfire smoke, which is covering essentially the entire USA at the moment, can make you cough, make it hard to breathe and is also quite harmful to your skin. It can cause, or makes worse, skin issues like acne, eczema, rashes, collagen damage, dark spots, and a whole host of other skin conditions.
One of the primary methods of damage is the smoke and particulate causing oxidative stress in the skin and unleashing large amounts of free radicals, which cause serious short and long-term damage to your skin.
Below, we will explain everything you need to know about wildfire smoke skin damage and how you can protect your skin.
How does wildfire smoke damage your skin?
There are several different ways that wildfire smoke can have a negative impact on your skin. As our skin is the first line of defense against the smoky air, it becomes the first target for toxic particles. Through a process known as transcutaneous absorption, these particles can reach the deeper layers of our skin where they cause a lot of damage. What this means is that sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other unhealthy byproducts from the wildfire smoke can get under your skin.
There have been many research studies which have shown that air pollution exposure increases the likelihood of experiencing a skin disorder such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Premature aging, wrinkle formation and hyperpigmentation spots can also occur as a consequence of damaging pollutants, like wildfire smoke.
So, you can see how smoke and toxic particles get into your skin, but how does this actually cause damage? One of the main ways the smoke harms your skin is what is known as increased oxidative stress. In simple terms, oxidative stress means that there is a biochemical breakdown at the cellular level. This causes inflammation and free radical damage from air pollutants. The structural collagen fibers, which make your skin appear full and smooth, can become weakened and fragmented.
At the same time, cells that produce pigments can become overly reactive, and this is how dark spots occur. These reactions can happen because your body’s protective response to the harmful pollutants goes into overdrive, depleting the supplies of protective antioxidants in the cells. Collagen breakdown can be caused due to this chain of events, causing wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and skin dehydration. Quite clearly, wildfire smoke can cause a lot of damage!
What can you do to protect your skin from wildfire smoke?
We know wildfire smoke is highly damaging to the skin and it is vitally important to protect yourself. Here are some of the things you can do:
Use Gentle Cleansers
While you are going to need to use skincare products for protection and cleansing, you need to choose with care. Do not use any resurfacing treatments or exfoliating products until the air quality has gotten better. Your skin is going to be sensitive at this time, so you need to treat it as such. Pick a gentle cleanser, and wash your face at least twice a day, usually once in the morning and once just before bed.
Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is often recommended by dermatologists and is quite affordable. A much more lux option would be Tata Harper’s Superkind Softening Cleanser.
Double Cleanse Your Skin
It is vital to make sure your skin is cleansed thoroughly after you have been out and in contact with the smoke. Double cleansing is recommended because it will deep clean your pores, getting rid of all the pollutants that are remaining on your skin. Double cleansing means washing your face first with an oil-based cleanser, which is best for breaking down makeup, sunscreen, and lotions, and then washing your face with a gentle foaming cleanser, like those we linked to above.
If you’re loving the Tata Harper line, they make a great Nourishing Oil Cleanser, which would pair nicely with the Superkind Cleanser above. Tatcha offers The Camellia Cleansing Oil which is also a lovely product. For a more affordable option, check out the Neutrogena Ultra Light Face Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover.
Wear SPF every day (even when indoors)
Another important tip to help you through wildfire season is to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more on a daily basis, even if the sun is hidden behind the smoke. We recommend using mineral sunscreens, rather than using chemical sunscreen products. Mineral based sunscreens use zinc and/or titanium which sit on top of your skin, creating a protective barrier blocking UV rays before they even hit your skin, whereas chemical based products will only work to block UV damage within your skin itself.
Mineral based sunscreens are also better for sensitive skin, or when your skin is already irritated or inflamed. So, they are perfect to use when we have smoke to contend with as well. Sunscreen is vital because it creates a protective barrier so that pollutants cannot easily penetrate the skin.
Unsun offers their award winning Mineral Tinted Sunscreens in a light/medium tint and a medium/dark tint. Pick the one that’s best for you.
Layer on your antioxidants
Antioxidants are vital because they counteract the damaging free radicals caused by exposure to the harmful particles in wildfire smoke. Free radicals are skin cells that are damaged and start to break down our remaining healthy skin cells. They breakdown our collagen, which is what keeps our skin looking youthful, full, and firm. Increased inflammation can occur when there are many free radicals, and this is how we get breakouts and red skin. Consequently, it is imperative to make sure you prioritize antioxidants in your skincare routine. You can get antioxidants from foods, drinks, and topical beauty products.
Add BeauTeas Clearly Calendula organic teas to your daily routine
Last but not least, adding BeauTeas Clearly Calendula organic teas to your routine can make a massive difference when it comes to protecting your skin. Not only are these teas rich in antioxidants, which are vital as mentioned above, but they are full of powerful plants which help heal your skin and provide much-needed hydration to both your skin and your body.
There you have it: some of the key steps to follow to protect your skin from wildfire smoke. The particulate and smoke can cause a great amount of oxidative stress to the skin, which can result in both short-term and long-term damage. However, if you follow the steps above, you can go a long way to protecting your skin and ensuring a radiant complexion.