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Testing Trends in Anti-pollution Cosmetic Actives

Anne Charpentier – Jun 27, 2018

what's New in Anti-pollution ActivesThe era of air pollution started a few decades ago. Pollution is now a major environmental risk to public health in the major megacities. Each week has its new information about peaks of polluted air in Europe, Asia or America.

All human activities impact our environment. Some of them have become a stress factor for nature and the human living conditions. And, it is leading to various problems such as: respiratory troubles, DNA changes, premature aging of the skin among other...

The pollution has various origins: agriculture, energy production, natural phenomena (volcano eruption, road transport, fuel combustion, methane synthesis... and the list is so long!).

Clarins, pioneer of innovative cosmetics launched its 1st anti-pollution skin care in 1995. And since 2014, the trend is increasing faster and faster with 40% growth in Asia Pacific region.


Major Pollutants


Today, majority of pollutants which impact the good condition of the skin are found in air. We can also think that water, soil and food pollution can also affect the skin. MyExposome identified 1400 substances after one week of a normal life pollution exposure.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the USA classifies pollutants into 5 categories:

 − The heavy pollutants, lead
 − The fine (10µm) and ultra-fine (2.5 µm) particles
 − Nitrogen oxides (car exhaust),
 − Sulfur oxides (industrial plants),
 − Ozone (ground level)
Major Pollutants Causing Air Pollution

Thus, air pollution is composed of two main types of primary pollutants:

 − Particulate matter (PM), and
 − Gases (O3, CO2, CO, SOx, and NOx) which are also named volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Impact of Air-pollution on Skin

What are the various effects of these substances on the skin physiology?


The resulting skin disorders are caused by the oxidative stress of the pollutants:

 − Short-term: Accumulation of toxins, alteration of the barrier function, a decrease of the skin resistance to UV, Proteins lipids, and DNA oxidation, Modification of the [acid] pH, Inflammation, occluding of the pores, dehydration, lack of oxygen, decrease of the cell turnover, depletion of anti-oxidants, sebum overproduction.

 − Long-term: wrinkles, age spots, acne, dull and sagging, sensitivity

These skin damages could be summed up in few words: Aging, Dark spots, and Sensitivity.


 » Continue reading to explore the role of 'anti-pollution' actives in fighting the skin damage caused by pollutants and thus learn to test these actives by various methods! 

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