Late-night shopping, pop-up restaurants and free reading material handed out on every street corner; city life is splendid, which is why 80% of us reside in urban areas. But city living is not without its drawbacks – namely house prices, a lack of personal space and a city-worn complexion (dubbed ‘urban grey’by dermatologists). According to the World Health Organisation, nine UK cities (including London, Birmingham and Nottingham) have unsafe levels of pollution – and you can expect the smog to show up on your skin. Pollution saps your complexion of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy collagen production, and it also contains sulphur compounds which convert into sulphuric acid on skin and dry it out. But before you start to contemplate your escape route to the country, here’s our expert edit of skincare products guaranteed to override your postcode.
According to Mintel’s UK Consumer Trends 2015 report, 22% of women in the UK look to cleansers to protect their skin from the environment or pollution. This one has been formulated with congested skin in mind. It’s packed full of minuscule flecks of coconut shell powder, to gently buff away stubborn films of urban dust and de-clog pores. It also contains coconut oil to detoxify the epidermis and boost the turnover of sluggish, oxygen-starved skin cells.
Pai Sea Aster & Wild Oat Instant Calm Redness Serum, £42
Around 50% of women say they have sensitive skin, but a genetic predisposition to redness and inflammation is rare. Pollution, stress and smoking trigger flushing and irritation by weakening the epidermal lipid barrier and allowing irritants, microbes and allergens to penetrate the skin and cause a reaction. Pai Sea Aster & Wild Oat Instant Calm Redness Serum slips below the surface of skin in seconds and strengthens surface blood vessels to help alleviate redness. It also contains natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories to repair reactionary skin.
Comfort Zone Skin Defender Urban Protection Emulsion SPF 30, £28
UV radiation, exhaust fumes and industrial emissions are serious skin saboteurs because they increase the number of free radicals in the air and slow down skin’s collagen production line. Apply Comfort Zone Skin Defender Urban Protection Emulsion SPF 30 under your day cream to bolster your skin’s defences. It contains clever chemical filters, as well as physical ones, to deflect UVA and UVB rays. It’s also topped up with Lycopene; an antioxidant powerhouse which neutralises free radicals for up to 12 hours.
Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Mist, £25
As superfluous as face sprays may seem, this one is actually quite prescriptive. As well as helping your skin retain moisture, Skyn Iceland Artic Face Mist instantly peps up city-worn, ashy complexions with a shot of free radical-fighting vitamin C. It also contains soothing white willow bark, which has antibacterial properties – and the antioxidant thiotaine. Keep it in your bag, or on your desk, for on-the-go, glow-giving sprays.
Kiss The Moon After Dark Face Oil in Glow, £48
If your skin is suffering from a moisture deficient, before bed is a window of opportunity to bring it back from the brink. While we sleep, our bodies release a growth hormone which speeds up cell turnover and it’s at this point, when skin cells are in a state of flux, that nutrients are best absorbed and active ingredients can penetrate deeper down to the dermis. Kiss The Moon After Dark Face Oil, £48 contains rose hip seed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, to saturate and plump up parched skin. And its fragrant blend of citruses and florals ease anxiety and boost your mood – so you’ll be nodding off in record time.
words by Charlotte Jolly