Beauty Skincare

Natural Anti Pollution Beauty Products That Won’t Pollute Your Skin

By Lora O’Brien

We all know that pollution’s bad for planet. I mean, whose heart hasn’t been broken by the sight of a sea turtle entangled in a plastic bag, or a bird slicked with oil? We also know it’s bad for our health: if you live in a big city, you may have asthma, thanks to being surrounded by many cars running on fossil fuels. Did you know those who live in highly polluted areas even have a 20% higher risk of lung cancer?

But it’s not only cars that smother us in pollution: there are volatile gases emitted from chemicals in our furnishings and clothing, cigarette smoke, agricultural pesticides and many other contributors hurt not only our health, but our beauty, too.

Yep, that’s right. Skin’s our biggest organ – but have you ever stopped to think about how pollution is damaging it? You just have to look at your make-up wipe after a day outside to see just how congested and dirty our skin can get.

An uneven skin tone, larger pores, dark pigmentation spots, accelerated wrinkles and other signs of aging and even skin cancer are the potential results of the pollution our skin faces on a daily basis. It’s even been proven that those of us exposed to increased pollution have more dark pigmentation spots and wrinkling. When microscopic amounts of smoke, soot, acid and various other pollutants are released in the atmosphere, these minuscule particles actually infiltrate the deepest layers of our skin. This not only causes inflammation (redness) and dehydration (flakiness), but it will also eventually contribute to a loss of elasticity and firmness – undoing everything we think we’re fighting against with our skincare regimes.

As more people become aware of the effects of pollution, a whole range of ‘anti-pollution’ beauty products have come about. But guess what? They are usually just as bad as the pollution itself! From Clarin’s famous anti-pollution range to Origin’s Perfect World  (which, by the way, is as far from organic as you can get), designated ‘anti-pollution’ creams can contain exactly the kinds of chemicals that end up harming your health!

There is some good news. The damage of both pollution and cosmetics that pollute your body can be kept at bay with a few simple steps:

  • First, of course, avoid pollution whenever possible. On high pollution days, keep windows shut. Walk as far away from traffic as you can. And avoid spending long amounts of time in your car – this exposes you to far more pollution than walking outside does.
  • Think about investing in a HEPA air purifier if you live in a polluted city.
  • Avoid smokers at all costs, and if you smoke, quit. You’re not only damaging your lungs and heart, you’re damaging you skin as well (and the skins of those around you).
  • Follow a few simple steps and use some really great, all natural skin-care products. My suggestions are below.

First, Cleanse

Obviously, cleansing our faces from grime is vital to protect ourselves from contaminants. Use a mild, natural cleanser in the morning and spend a few minutes massaging it into the skin of the face and neck, which actually helps detox lymph glands, too.

Once or twice a week I’ll use a spin brush to really deep cleanse my skin. If you don’t have one, I’d recommend using a gentle exfoliator to remove any lingering dirt and dead skin cells – but don’t over do it, as our top layer of skin works as a barrier against environmental toxins.

After cleansing splash your face with cold water to close your pores, and then use a cotton pad to sweep toner over your face as a final step. Some people skip using a toner but I like to use something like rose water to keep my skin soft and hydrated – it also adds some free-radical fighting power.


And speaking of free radicals, we need to neutralise are those pesky little things! Free radicals are basically little molecules that search and steal electrons from our healthy cells, causing injury. Collagen is what gives our skin its firmness, and when free radicals enter our skin they poke holes in the collagen structure that supports our skin, which in turn causes hyper-pigmentation and gives us fine lines. If you have acne prone skin or suffer with rosacea, free radicals may also irritate and cause inflammation, making these conditions worsen. Pretty bad, right? But it can get a whole lot worse! DNA damage and cell mutation is also caused by free radicals, and we all know that can lead to cancer. So, what’s the answer? Antioxidants! The nutrients in antioxidants can lend electrons where they’re needed, which is essentially neutralising the free radical and abolishing the effects they can have.

An antioxidant rich serum can help. I introduced a serum to my skincare routine roughly two years ago and it was the best thing I did. After cleansing day and night, layer on your serum of choice and allow it to sink in before topping with your moisturiser of choice. The serum penetrates deeply into the skin both protecting and repairing it. Another way to help your skin big time is to eat antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries, leafy greens and beans. Antioxidants in our food really work towards helping our whole body to repair itself, not just our skin.

Create a Barrier

What would you rather have: pollution particles on your skin, or pollution particles on the cream covering your skin? It’s a no brainer. A great cream, preferably with all natural sunscreens and antioxidants, will fight pollution and the effects of the sun all day long, whilst keeping your skin nice and soft. But there is a huge caveat here: your SPF must be plant or mineral based! In fact, one of the most common SPF ingredients is oxybenzone, which has been linked not only to accelerating the ageing process, but also cancer. It’s bioaccumulative, which means it builds up in your tissues, creating a highly toxic environment in your body. Not worth it!

Here are my picks of the best natural anti pollution beauty products, chosen for their effectiveness and all-natural, healthy ingredients.

1. FOM Anti Pollution Cleanser

The Hydrating Anti-Pollution Cream Cleanser by FOM is super lightweight and silky and works to gently remove impurities from the skin’s surface, as well as removing excess oils and makeup, too. All you’ll need to do is massage this creamy cleanser in with clean fingers into your skin and feel all that daily grime and makeup melt away. Neroli flower essence and rosehip oil combine to soften the skin and deep hydrate the skin whilst detoxifying dandelion protects and re-energises the skin.

Get yours here

Natural Anti Pollution Beauty Products

2. 100% Pure Matcha Cleansing Foam

This Organic Matcha Cleansing Anti-Ageing Antioxidants Cleaning Foam is a really great cleanser that also offers a light exfoliation at the same time, keeping skin fresh looking. Organic white tea works to soothe the skill whilst cleansing it. This is especially food for those who have sensitive skin as it’s made without any of those harsh detergents that will strip, dehydrate and irritate the skin causing it to break out. This cleanser will wash about excess make-up and then feed your skin vital antioxidants that’ll leave you glowing from the inside out.

Get yours here


3. Green People SPF 15 Day Cream

This bottle might look small but it packs an almighty punch, and a little goes a long way. Green People have crafted a way to combat both pollution and UV damage in one handy day cream. Its SPF15 will not only provide effective protection against UV rays, making it great for wearing during the day, but it’s also packed full with powerful antioxidants such as rosemary and green tea, which will work to ensure your skin is also protected from pollution damage.

Get yours here. 


4. REN Anti-Pollution Mist

Specifically made to combat the harm cities can do to your skin, Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist is the perfect pick me up for skin on the go. Pop it into your handbag and deliver a fine mist to refresh your skin any time. The mist will work to instantly shield and protect skin from the ageing effects of harmful free-radicals and the pollution around us. Perfect for planes, too – especially since the air in there is uber polluted and dry. And there’s no need to worry about your moisturiser or make-up as it can be applied on top of it.

Get yours here


5. Schaf Radiance Firming Serum

Unlike most skin care products, Shaf’s Radiance Firming Serum is designed for both men and women. It works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but it’s going to hydrate and restore the skin’s tone leaving your skin feeling lifted, radiant and smoother, too. You’ll find the texture of your skin is hydrated, toned and you’re left with a youthful glow back in your skin.

Get yours here


6. Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Cream

I love any kind of natural beauty product with rose in it. It’s so soothing on the skin and really makes your skin glow. This SPF 30 by Neal’s Yard is the perfect moisturiser to protect your skin on a daily basis against both UV rays and pollution. It has a blend of antioxidant-rich wild rosehip oil that smells stunning, but the nourishing shea butter and baobab oil will really nourish your skin all day long. You can use this alone or over the top of your usual moisturiser.

Get yours here. 


7. Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum

A good serum is vital for maintaining great skin. Remember when to put it on – normally, after the skin is cleansed and toned, before you apply your moisturiser. This anti-oxidant serum by Aesop features parsley seed oil, which has all kinds of great qualities: it’s antimicrobial, antiseptic, detoxifying, and helps blood flow to the skin. This gentle serum is great for all skin types and will leave your face both protected and feeling well-hydrated.

Get yours here. 


8. Dr Alkaitis Herbal Shampoo

Your hair is exposed to loads of pollution. After all, it’s the thing that’s exposed all day, along with your face, to whatever the city has to throw at it. It needs some protecting, too – and the best way to do that is to simply wash pollution away.

Dr Alkaitis’s shampoos may not be the cheapest, but for starters, there’s no need to use a conditioner after this gentle cleanser. It doesn’t get super lathery, but that’s true of any shampoo without SLS. My hair always feels soft and bouncy and super hydrated after using this. I love this stuff and don’t mind spending a bit extra for a treat.

Get yours here. 


9. Sukin Anti Pollution Face Mask

There’s nothing nicer than sitting in your pajamas after a long day and treating your skin to a nourishing face mask. And this Oil Balancing Anti-Pollution Facial Masque by Sukin will more than do the trick. The combination of bamboo charcoal, rooibos tea and willowherb work to seriously target skin impurities and suck out all the junk from your pores, whilst bilberry, white tea and pomegranate release antioxidants for a natural, healthy glow.

Get yours here. 


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  • Reply
    Wendy C.
    Oct 14, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    OMG, I just recently realized that I am using skincare products with oxybenzone. I have to switch my products to these in your list. I think I have to pick one first and little by little until I have all of it. Thanks for letting us know.

  • Reply
    Feb 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Great article, that’s very helpful!

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