A first of its kind study showed that wildfire smoke pollution causes skin damage. The study, done by UCSF Dermatology Department, showed significant skin damage in a particularly vulnerable population of eczema patients. This is relevant to everyone because eczema patients are a ‘canary in the mine shaft’ when it comes to having a weakened skin barrier. Investigators found that eczema worsened in both known eczema patients and newly diagnosed eczema patient during one of our recent California wildfires. We can add wildfire smoke to UV rays and industrial pollution when it comes to skin exposures we want to avoid.
How can you reduce wildfire smoke and pollution skin damage?
We know that industrial pollution and wildfire smoke lead to free radical type of skin damage called ‘oxidative stress’. The key is to reduce free radical skin damage by loading your skin with antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals before they damage your skin.
Increasing your skin’s antioxidant reserve may help reduce free radical skin damage.
My top choice antioxidants for skin care are the green tea EGCG polyphenol antioxidants. These well-proven plant-based antioxidants provide double benefit for eczema because they also sooth inflamed skin. The best high concentration, stable, pharmaceutically pure green tea EGCG antioxidants are found in my Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy Cream. This product is made in an FDA regulated facility ensuring the highest quality.
In addition to trying to avoid wildfire smoke exposure and covering as much skin as possible during times of wildfire smoke pollution, I recommend adding a robust product with green tea antioxidants to your facial skin care routine such as Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy.- Dr. Bailey
Five tips to reduce wildfire smoke pollution skin damage:
- Cover as much skin as you possibly can with clothing.
- Wash your skin with hypoallergenic and fragrance-free cleanser or soap as soon as you can after exposure.
- Apply Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to the exposed skin of your face daily.
- Moisturize all of your skin every day after cleansing to enhance the integrity of your skin barrier. Use a rich and fragrance-free lotion, cream or butter.
- Apply a broad-spectrum zinc oxide sunscreen during the day to your exposed skin to further reduce free radical skin damage from UV exposure.
My Complete Facial Skin Care Kit gives you everything you need to help fend off skin damage from pollution.
The routine includes products that work for all skin types and coordinate with any treatment products you may be using. It includes:
- A pH balanced and sulfate free facial cleanser.
- Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to help reduce pollution skin damage.
- Daily Moisturizing Face Cream with your choice of Dry to Normal or Oily to Normal depending on your skin type.
- A pure mineral SPF sunscreen that's oil-free, non-irritating, clear and perfect for all skin types.
Digging deeper into the subject of wildfire skin damage....
How does wildfire pollution create skin stress and damage?
Wildfire smoke pollution skin damage happens because the smoke contains particulate matter under 2.5 micrometers in size, gasses and other solid and liquid particles. We have known that these exposures exacerbate lung, heart, neuro and other diseases. Now we have evidence that they also damage skin.
Wildfire pollution skin damage happens in 3 ways:
- The aryl hydrocarbon receptor pathway (an important protein receptor that senses and helps regulate immune response, health and disease in humans)
- Free radicle formation (which creates oxidative stress)
- Triggering of a cutaneous proinflammatory response
Both short-term and long-term exposure to pollution are bad for your skin.
Pollutants induce cutaneous oxidative stress and have been shown to damage skin barrier integrity by altering transepidermal water loss, inflammatory signaling, stratum corneum pH and the skin microbiome.
Now we can add wildfire smoke to the list of airborne pollutants that cause skin damage that leads to inflammation, itch and antioxidant depletion.
It's wildfire season at my home here in Northern California. I can smell smoke in the air as I type this.
The bottom line for how to take care of your skin when there is smoke, pollution and the air quality is poor:
CLEANSE exposed skin using fragrance-free and hypoallergenic soap or cleanser to remove the particulate matter and chemicals from pollution. My Naturally Best Bar Soap is ideal for the body. My Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser is pH balanced for facial skin.
- CORRECT free radical skin damage and depletion from pollution by using antioxidant skin care such as Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy
- HYDRATE to maintain strong skin barrier by applying a nourishing emollient to all skin after your bath or shower to keep skin barrier strong, healthy and able to resist absorption of pollution components. My Natural Face, Hand and Body Lotion is ideal for body care.
- PROTECT pollution stressed skin from UV and pollution with clothing and by applying a good zinc oxide sunscreen applied to all exposed skin. Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray Sunscreen is ideal for face, neck, and body sun protection.
Skin care products to help protect your face from pollution skin damage:
Get everything you need to help your facial skin fend off pollution damage in my Complete Facial Skin Care Kit (choose the Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray option if you want to a great all around sunscreen for neck/chest/hands/arms as well as face!).
Skin care products to help protect your non-facial skin from pollution skin damage:
Help your body skin resist damage when you add my Naturally Best Bar Soap, Natural Body Lotion and use my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray Sunscreen on exposed non-facial skin - it's a great all around SPF.