How the BC Fires are Affecting Your Skin

How the BC Fires are Affecting Your Skin

It’s been an interesting summer here in Alberta… we struggle through epic winters and dark, dreary days buoyed by thoughts of warm nights and endless sunshine during our famous Alberta summers.  But wait—our winter-weary faces are raised to the sky… and nothing.  The sun is a weak yellow orb behind a greyish-yellow haze, and we are in an almost surreal twilight for much of our days… the BC Fires.

2018 has been the worst year on record for BC Fires, with almost 13,000 square km of the province burning or burned.  Does that seem like a lot to you?  If not, consider that in 2015, a mere 2,807 BC fires burned.  Aside from the devastating effect of these fires on flora and fauna, they are taking their toll on your skin.  How, you ask?  Imagine a smouldering cigarette butt that is stuck in your skin, continually emitting toxic chemicals… isn’t that delightful?  Smoke particles can be 20 times smaller than pores, and they infiltrate the skin at an alarming rate during times of high pollution, causing increased sensitivity, weird reactions, collagen degeneration, and loss of elasticity.  The lipid layer, a fatty acid barrier that usually protects your skin against pollution, is compromised and stressed to the point it no longer can do it’s job, and premature aging, sun damage and spotting, and even cancer can be the result.

But don’t lose hope!  There are ways you can protect your skin against the ravages of pollution and smoke…

Clean It Off!

Washing your face TWICE a day is critical in times of extreme pollution- such as the BC Fires.  In the morning, a mild, milk-based cleanser can gently cleanse and prepare the skin for the application of radiance boosting serums and anti-oxidants.  At night, it is important to remove not only make-up, but also the film of harmful pollutants that will have accumulated throughout the day.  Using a medical grade cleanser that is designed for your skin type is the best solution, and you want to limit excessive scrubbing as to avoid irritation or reaction.  At the same time, you need to cleanse thoroughly, because smoke and soot can be sticky on the skin.  We also recommend using a toner after cleansing the skin TWICE- to remove any residual.

CONSIDER- Institut’ DerMed Enhancing Creamy Cleanser, Sothys Comfort Cleansing Milk.  Sothys Comfort Lotion, Institut’ DerMed Soothing Cleanser and Toner

Neutralize It!

Pollution causes the formation of free radicals, that in turn bounce around in your skin causing damage to otherwise healthy cells.  The result is loss of firmness, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), fine lines and wrinkles, inflammation, and skin reactions.  Using anti-oxidant serums and taking an anti-oxidant supplement are the best ways to combat this.. and although you should consider using these types of products year round, they are especially important when exposed to higher than normal amounts of pollution and/or smoke because of the BC Fires.

CONSIDER- Institut’ DerMed Vital C serum, Sothys Ultra-C Dermabooster, Institut’ DerMed Anti-Oxidant Peptide Serum, Bend Anti-Oxidant Elixer

Hide From It!

In addition to wreaking havoc in your skin, Smoke and pollution contribute to the erosion of the ozone layer, so UV rays are stronger.  That doesn’t just increase your chance of sunburn- it also accelerates conditions such as inflammation or hyperpigmentation.  Make sure you are wearing a good quality sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection.

CONSIDER- Institut’ DerMed Renewing Mask (worn overnight), Alumier Moisture Matte Sunscreen (tinted or untinted)