Is Anti-Pollution Skincare The Next Big Skincare Trend?

In the past, beauty terminologies used to be really simple. But with the introduction of newer forms of technology and other skincare issues, the beauty industry is constantly in the pursuit of finding a solution to your troubles. For instance, this year has seen the rise in anti-pollution skincare products.

Anti-pollution products are becoming increasingly popular in the world of beauty. (Photo Courtesy)

Every day, we’re exposed to a ton of environmental aggressors that affect our skin (and health) in many ways. As beauty writers, we’re sometimes skeptical when the term ‘anti-pollution’ gets quoted so often in our inboxes — does it really deter pollutants, or is it just another way of saying ‘skincare with antioxidants’? Years ago such a term didn’t seem to exist in the plethora of terminologies that we all know of. But with time, comes evolution, and anti-pollution products are becoming more ubiquitous in the world of beauty.

Why is Anti-Pollution Skincare important?

So why have anti-pollution products received so much attention from the beauty industry recently? Well, it comes as no surprise that our atmosphere is increasingly getting more toxic with harmful chemicals being emitted into the atmosphere every day. And while it may not seem like it has any obvious effects on our skin, trust us, it sure does.

How air pollution affects your skin (Photo Courtesy)

And it’s because of the indoor and outdoor pollutants that are present in the air that causes skin problems and other serious health risks as well. Some of the effects that pollution has on our skin include dryness, premature ageing, skin rashes, eczema and acne. Pretty daunting isn’t it?

Well, sadly it doesn’t end there, pollutants also trigger the immune system to producing more melanin, which causes pigmentation, skin darkening, inflammation, and it weakens the skin barrier, making it easier for lines and wrinkles to form. Namely, some of these pollutants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides, particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), and cigarette smoke.

What defines an Anti-Pollution Skincare product? 

So what defines a product to be ‘anti-pollution’ are the free radical actives that help fight and combat environmental aggressors that affect your skin. These products will usually consist of antioxidants, or gentle cleansing and moisturising ingredients that strengthen the skin barriers.

Certain products also have an extra step beyond just antioxidative properties. Some of these properties help to stall the effects of pollutants by neutralising them, or perhaps contain gentle yet powerful ingredients that are able to cleanse off pollutants from our skin. In summary, they focus on preventing skin damage caused by pollution or rectify damage instead — and sometimes, even both.

Here, we look at 3 different product categories for you to start building your defense against pollution — sunscreens, cleansers, and antioxidant-rich skincare.


Clarins UV Plus SPF50/PA++++ Pink, 30ml, $74. Available at Clarins.

Protect your skin from any sun damage with the Clarins UV Plus SPF50/PA+++! It always feels good to spend some time in the sun, but the UV rays that damage your skin, which often leads to sunburns, can take a toll on your skin. Without sunscreen, these harmful rays can lead to wrinkles, dark spots and other skin problems — which emphasises the need to protect our skin from the depths of despair.

Formulated with Clarins’ Anti-Pollution Complex, the lightweight, oil-free sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays and free radicals present in the air. It’s a great addition to your skin routine as it reduces the appearance of dark spots and premature ageing. Plus, the Organic Blackcurrant extract present in this sunscreen helps reduce inflammation of the skin and tightness caused by pollution and UV rays.

Supergoop! 100% Mineral Matte Screen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 45ml, $56. Available at Sephora.

If you’re not a fan of the dewy finish that most sunscreens have, you might want to give Supergoop! 100% Mineral Matte Screen Broad Spectrum Suncreen a go! This lightweight sunscreen comes with a matte finish while giving a poreless complexion that works perfectly as a base, especially before you apply your makeup. Besides blurring out your pores, this sunscreen also helps to cover uneven textures and fine lines that you might have for a flawless complexion while keeping your skin well-protected from the harmful UV rays, pollutants and free radicals.


Sabon Anti-Pollution Foaming Cleanser, 200ml, $67. Available at Sabon Takashimaya Shopping Centre and TANGS at Tang Plaza.

The thought of all the dirt and grime on your face is making us cringe! If you’re out most of the day (seven days a week), finding a good cleanser to get rid of all that gunk is really important. Ultimately, cleansing plays an important role in anyone’s skincare routine. In this case, cleansing your face with an anti-pollution cleanser helps to remove pollutants and unclog your pores from the toxins that your skin has been exposed to on a daily basis.

No matter how much time and money you spend on serums, toners or moisturisers, if cleansing your skin isn’t done properly, you might not do your skin any good either. This cleanser by Sabon is an Anti-Pollution Foaming Cleanser that’s promised to gently cleanse your face while removing dirt and makeup without drying or irritating your skin as it suits the skin’s natural PH level. Essentially, this cleanser helps to remove any build-up of any pollutants and impurities that accumulate on the surface of your skin, making it fresh, luminous and comfortable. On top of that, the Sabon Anti-Pollution Foaming Cleanser makes it an anti-pollution product itself as it doesn’t contain any parabens, SLS or salt!

This Works Evening Detox Clay Mask, $60. Available at Sephora.

Spare yourself some time in the evening and give your skin a treat with a mask. Being exposed to the harmful UV rays, pollutants and free radicals can take a toll on your skin which is why it’s always so important to replenish and revitalise your skin with a mask every now and then. Check out This Works Evening Detox Clay Mask if you’re looking to try something that claims to work against the effects of pollution. Formulated with Natural Kaolin clay, this mask is said to control excessive sebum, drawing out any impurities from the skin. It also acts as an exfoliator as it increases the rate of cell renewal and unclogs your pores too!

What makes it any different from any other masks is that it rejuvenates pollution-exposed skin and boosts overnight detoxification — leaving you with cleaner and more radiant skin than before.

Essences, Serums & Moisturisers

Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, 150ml, $108. Available at Sephora.

Aside from protecting your skin from the damage that the environment can do to your skin, you can also impart essences, serums and moisturisers to your daily routine to help fight the damage. 

A fan of Kombucha Tea? This one’s for you. Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Essence is said to work wonders on the skin as it defends the skin by neutralising the harmful particles that come into contact with the skin. It has a special ingredient — Kombucha of course, which is made of fermented black tea. The hero ingredient is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight against skin-damaging pollutants and free radicals. To find out more, there’s also a whole other post that we did on this holy grail product that you should check out if you’re on the hunt for an anti-pollution solution to your skin troubles. 

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly, $60. Available at Sephora.

As previously mentioned, pollution in our environment can result in dry skin — which is why boosting the moisture levels of your skin plays an important role in your skincare regime. Try the Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly for a moisturiser that not only hydrates but strengthens the skin’s barrier while protecting it from environmental aggressors with its unique Clean-Shield Technology. Not only does it lock in the good but it’s said to improve your skin’s health while leaving a nice glow to it too!

Chantecaille Anti-Pollution Finishing Essence, 30ml, $125. Available at Chantecaille.

If you work in an urban environment like Singapore, you might experience some serious premature ageing and dullness in your skin. Tackle your skincare woes and soothe your skin with an essence like this one by Chantecaille. The Anti-Pollution Finishing Essence is a lightweight solution that’s enriched with botanicals help to create a barrier against pollutants for your skin.