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Photopollution and skin aging: the importance of UV protection

You’re probably aware of the impact UV damage can have on the skin - but are you familiar with the effects of photopollution? Read on to find out more.

What is photopollution and how does it affect skin?

Defined as a combination of UV rays and air pollution, photopollution is a relatively new discovery in the world of skincare research. Its effects are not well known, but initial studies suggest that these two skin-influencing factors do more damage when working together.

No clinical study exists revealing specific symptoms associated uniquely with photopollution.
However, researchers have discovered intriguing links between the presence of UV rays and elevated levels of pollution associated with an urban environment. Research on reconstructed skin has demonstrated that pollution accentuates and worsens damage linked to UV overexposure.[1]

Results of studies conducted on skin cells found that cells exposed to pollution particles before being exposed to a typical dose of UVA rays[2] suffered from increased oxidative stress, as well as mitochondrial damage.
What’s more, some UV-related disorders seem to be more severe and/or more prevalent in pollution urban environments, such as glabella and pigmentary disorders, although this has yet to be definitively proven. This makes it crucial for those of us living in the city to protect our skin is protected from both these external elements.

your first line of defense against photopollution should be SPF

Ingredients to fight photopollution

For the first time, research has discovered a proven link between UVA protection and reduced damage from photopollution (in-vitro data). As a result, it goes without saying that your first line of defense against photopollution should be SPF. However, there are a few key ingredients to look out for to complement your daily sun protection.

key ingredients

  • SPF, for sun protection
  • Baicalin, to improve the appearance of dark spots
  • vitamin E to protect against oxidative stress
  • Vichy Mineralizing Water to fortify the skin

Studies also indicate a positive correlation between the presence of photopollution and increased levels of oxidative stress markers within the skin.
As such, opting for an SPF that features ingredients rich in antioxidants won’t just protect skin from damage linked to photopollution, it’ll also help reduce premature aging linked to oxidative stress.

, an antioxidant root commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, helps to improve the appearance of dark spots - one of the most visible signs of aging, as well as of sun damage. Meanwhile, vitamin E protects against oxidative stress.[3]

Finally, Vichy Mineralizing Water fortifies the skin against aggressors.


[1] Soeur, J. et al, ‘Photo-pollution stress in skin: Traces of pollutants (PAH and particulate matter) impair redox homeostasis in keratinocytes exposed to UVA1’ in Journal of dermatological science 86.2 (2017) pp. 162-169 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28153538]
[2] Equivalent to average daily dose of pollution in Paris, France, April (year to be added)
[4] Nachbar, F. et al, ‘The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin’ in Journal of molecular medicine 73.1 (1995) pp. 7-17 [Accessible at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7633944]

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