City Living: How the Environment can Affect Your Skin

Most of us will live in a city at some point in our lives, whether for career reasons, because we’re born there, or because we prefer the urban existence.

But many city dwellers are unaware of the influence that their choice of city-stomping ground has on the condition of their skin.

Don’t get me wrong, the majority of people understand how their surroundings can have an effect on their general health, but the impact of city living on a person’s skin in particular is widely underestimated.

So what is city living really doing to your complexion? To find the answer we are going to have to investigate two massive by-products of the modern city: Pollution and Stress.

The Effects of Pollution

We all know that those living in the city are exposed to more pollution than their country brethren, but why exactly is pollution so bad?

The answer lies with the presence of unstable chemicals called ‘free radicals’, which are produced through exposure to pollutants. Although free radicals are a natural product of our metabolic processes, an excess of them can wreak some serious damage on our bodies.

Aside from being linked to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, free radicals also steal oxygen from our skin cells and cause them to age prematurely.  The best way to combat this is to take vitamin supplements, with a special focus on vitamins A, C, and E.

There are several other skin problems linked to city pollution; the proportion of people suffering from atopic eczema is much higher in cities and city-smog can lead deficiencies in vitamin D.

To protect your skin from the harmful effects of pollution, look into the use of anti-oxidants to heal your skin from within, while natural skin care products will help to protect it from outside.


The Effects of Stress

Stress is another by-product of fast-paced modern life. Whether it’s due to ongoing demands at work, daily irritations like trying to navigate busy pavements and congested roads, or high levels of unnatural light or noise, living in a city can definitely make you stressed!

Stress depletes your skin of nutrients and can lead to increased levels of acne and blotchy skin. Another side effect of stress is that it makes many people reach for a cigarette, alcoholic beverage or piece of junk food, which won’t do your health any favours.

You can combat stress related acne by making sure to unblock your pores as much as possible and applying a daily moisturiser. For girls, it’s also highly advisable to cleanse and tone before you put your make-up on in the morning and again when you take your make-up off at night.

Making sure to get enough sleep is another vital tip. You may live in a city that doesn’t sleep, but it’s crucial to try and avoid social temptations once in a while, and ensure that you master the art of unwinding fully at least once a week.

Ultimately, you’re not going to look like a zombie at 50 just because you have lived in a city for a long time, but it’s always good to be aware of how your environment can affect the condition of your skin. Now that you know how to combat the negative factors working against you, you’ll have that countryside glow without even stepping off the side-walk!


Gavin Harvey

Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer with a passion for travel. When he's not busy touring the world, he can be found in the gym or at home with his partner and two cats. You can keep up with his latest adventures by following him on twitter.

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