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květen 23, 2024 5 min read

Recently, mostly in part due to spending more time in London (the last time I lived here was in the 2000's) —I didn't fully grasp just how much the city's pollution and air quality could affect our skin. It’s not like I live and work off grid and too far out of a city.

Do you feel this is true for your skin? I’m not sure if I am making a big deal of it or not, but when I’ve been treating more faces and chatting to people who live in London but who get out at the weekends they say, “oh it’s perfectly normal, for my skin to perk up in the countryside”.

That's why I've developed an at-home skincare routine using my best anti-pollution products to help combat these effects.



I'm not sure if I should have realised this sooner or I'm telling you something you already know here, but it's become evident as most of the lovely ladies I’ve been treating, can't seem to escape similar concerns: oiliness, tiny bumps on the face, slight dullness, and of course with (as we are the world-over), worsening facial wrinkles.

While we often see images of perfect skin online—clear, glowing, and smooth—it’s totally normal to have some random bumps on your face. But when it’s more than just the odd bump, it isn't. And this requires a closer look into what’s going on and how you can go on the offensive.

Decoding the Skin Concerns

So what are the symptoms to look for? I’m not talking about closed comedones (whiteheads), acne, or fungal acne, but rather slightly raised pores with excess facial oily shine and skin that’s also dry in patches and reactive. It’s been a real head (skin) scratcher to distinguish between mild acne, microbiome imbalance, oiliness, dehydration, and sluggish skin. I’ve concluded that it’s likely all of the above, as skin tries to stay in balance.

The Conundrum: Oily and Sensitive Skin

Why is my skin both oily and sensitive? Natural oils are supposed to keep skin resilient to external stressors, right? 

You’re correct.

Oiliness does keep skin strong, but the oiliness I’m seeing is patchy and excessive. I believe this is the skin’s rebound response—not an oily skin type—to an impaired barrier function due to pollution and/or sometimes overzealous anti pollution skincare routines.

This excess oil plugs the hair follicles, impeding natural desquamation (skin renewal), meaning dead skin cells aren’t sloughing off the skin’s surface as quickly as needed, creating a bumpy texture since sebum is now trapped within the hair follicle.

Understanding Sensitive (Reactive) Skin

Sensitive skin has a low tolerance threshold, meaning it has a leaky barrier leading to trans epidermal water loss that in turn leads to dry skin patches, and the disruption of the top layer.

This allows irritants to enter the skin, stimulating an inflammatory response, and the skin responds with rebound oil production to bolster its defence. The term ‘reactive’ skin is probably a better one than sensitive skin.

It’s super common: in Europe, over 50% of individuals report having reactive skin, a prevalent cosmetic problem mostly related to environmental factors. Levels increase in the summer, suggesting the impact of increased pollution and UV exposure.

The City vs. The Countryside

We know how city life can make you feel grubby, and even a short stay in the countryside can re-wild and build up our skin’s defence and health. So, I do feel I’m onto something here. Apologies if I’m stating the obvious to everyone already living in London.

What Skincare Helps With (Summer) Pollution?

It’s summer (yes, really), and we will see the number of 'high' air pollution alerts rise. Whether you drive, travel by the tube, walk, cycle, or run in the city, you are exposed to pollution. There’s no escaping this unless we uproot to the Cotswolds or even as far north as Yorkshire (and who would be mad enough to do that? Ahem!).

How to Feel Amazing and in Control of Your Skincare In Summer Season

Air Pollution, though not always noticeable to the naked eye, often causes sensitivity, dull lacklustre skin, oiliness, and premature aging. Like UV rays from the sun, pollution can penetrate the skin and cause problems such as:

  • Early ageing due to oxidative stress (cue antioxidants).
  • Peroxidation/Dehydration, stripping the skin of its natural lipid layer, leading to irritation, sensitivity, redness, TEWL, and rebound shiny patches and sometimes spots.
  • Spots and blackheads as pollution traps dirt, dust, and impurities on the skin.
  • Dull overall skin tone when the skin becomes sluggish and doesn’t renew as it should.
  • Worsening of existing skin conditions, leading to more flare-ups and fewer calm periods.

Anti-Pollution Treatments and Summer Skincare Routine At Home

For signs of city skin stress, I recommend the following anti-pollution skincare routine:

  1. Cleanse thoroughly but gently with a sensitive or creamy cleanser to remove makeup, pollution, fumes, and unfriendly microbes without stripping your naturally protective oils.
  2. Spritz your face regularly with a microbiome-boosting mist to maintain hydration levels and support the barrier function. This will help shield, perk up, and make your skin more resilient and radiant.
  3. Support skin with a pre, post, or live probiotic to rewild the skin.
  4. Use antioxidant-rich Vitamin A, B, and C serums to neutralise the bad guys and fend off early ageing.
  5. Apply SPF like it’s your job (mineral options are better, especially for sensitive skin, as they lead to fewer reactions than chemical sunscreens and don’t degrade as quickly).
  6. Use a kind but effective exfoliating serum.
  7. Keep indoor air clean with air purifiers.
  8. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, as it really does help overall skin health.
  9. Book a session on our Byonik laser HERE.  Our Face Fitness Facial is like taking your skin to the gym.

The Byonik Laser Benefits

Skin becomes stronger, calmer, more energetic, brighter, fuller, smoother, detoxified, and healthier.

Our nine intense but skin-changing cold lasers have an antibacterial and antiviral action, detoxifying the skin from the inside and minimising purging. We also exfoliate to remove dead skin cells from the surface, making skin look dull, sluggish, and bumpy.

We infuse skin with intensely hydrating and plumping hyaluronic acid and super antioxidants, doubling as a no-needle injectable to rejuvenate and brighten your appearance, boost barrier resistance, cell renewal, stimulate fibroblasts (collagen and elastin-producing cells), and create dramatic long-term changes.

Home Care Skincare Routine for Healthy Skin

Here’s a home care routine to work on your skin:


If you'd like to check the pollution levels in London or your area you can HERE.

Let’s not get depressed. Let’s get stronger together.
Stay proactive with your skincare to combat the effects of city living and enjoy healthier, more resilient skin! I’m soooo happy I’m treating again!