If you work or live in a bustling city, then you probably already know how all that dirt, bacteria, pollution, and sun can add up to a dull complexion by the end of the day. Dr. Eric Schweiger, founder of Clear Clinic in New York City, told me his top city skin dangers to look out for and, even better, how to fight them.
-Incremental sun: Even a few minutes outside, running to lunch or an appointment, can add up to significant sun damage and premature wrinkles, said Dr. Schweiger. Lesson: Don't skimp on the sunscreen, even if you will be outside for only a short amount of time.
ATMs = acne: Yes, this sounds gross, but what you touch throughout the day often ends up on your face. "The bacteria you contract while grabbing cash or from the subway causes Propionbacterium acne (P. acnes) bacteria to flourish, creating inflammation and eventually leading to inflammatory acne papules." Lesson: Try to keep your hands away from your face to avoid those annoying pimples.
City pollution: We stand behind garbage trucks, street cleaners, and car exhaust pipes every day, which can cause cause clogged pores and contribute to the formation of acne. Lesson: Well, we can't avoid these things, but your best defense, according to Dr. Schweiger, is using a mechanical exfoliator like the Clarisonic once a week.
Stress and lack of sleep: This one applies to everyone, no matter where you live. Increased levels of stress can lead to the release of a hormone that causes the development of acne. Lesson: “By keeping stress levels low and maintaining good sleep habits, you can prevent both acne flare-ups and inflammation to spike in the body, which causes premature aging,” said Dr. Schweiger.
All of this advice probably seems like common sense, but it's a good reminder that we need to protect our skin from those harsh city pollutants. Dr. Schweiger added that the best defense against city skin stressors is probiotics (who knew?). So go pick up a yogurt and stop touching your face after you take out some cash for the weekend!
What's your biggest summer-skin pet peeve?