Pollution and Your Skin: How Environmental Pollution Affects Your Skin and What To Do About It

Pollution and Your Skin: How Environmental Pollution Affects Your Skin and What To Do About It

Pollution is a problem we’ve been hearing about for many years. Pollution is a hot topic in politics, children learn about it in school, and there is a lot of overall awareness on the issue. In fact, Earth Day began in 1970, so we have been celebrating our Earth (and fighting pollution) for over fifty years! However, pollution is not getting better, and instead, is getting worse.

We have also been discussing pollution and the skin for many years, but instead of the word “pollution” we more commonly use the words “free radicals.” Free radicals are unstable molecules that come from the environment. While some free radicals are healthy and natural, other free radicals cause oxidative stress. The body actually produces healthy free radicals (antioxidants) to counteract the unhealthy free radicals, but pollution can cause an imbalance.

Problem: The free radical imbalance can cause more oxidative stress than the body can handle, leading to the breakdown of collagen, inflammation, and a challenged repair process. Moreover, there are multiple studies linking pollution to common skin challenges like acne, inflammation, and aging.

Solution: Restore balance through the use of antioxidants in skincare.

Since Kate Ryan Skincare products have been protecting skin from free radicals/pollution from the start, ALL KRS products have always contained anti-pollution (antioxidant) actives. We stand by our power-packed, pollution-fighting, antioxidant formulas, and also acknowledge that other skincare companies use antioxidants in their skincare formulas as well.

Some skincare companies recently began capitalizing on the buzz word “pollution.” People who are concerned about pollution and their skin may be more likely to purchase an “Anti-Pollution Serum” than the same product with a different name like “Vitamin C Serum.” It’s a smart marketing technique, but we appreciate the science and always encourage clients to research ingredients so they know exactly what they are putting on their skin.

Since researching skincare ingredients can be time consuming and overwhelming, we thought we’d take care of that for you!

Anti-Pollution Antioxidants that are Beneficial Skincare Ingredients

Take a look at the ingredient labels on your current anti-pollution and/or antioxidant products - or check out the labels of the products you’re considering. Do they contain any of the following antioxidants that are best for fighting free radicals/pollution? How much of each active do the products contain or what is the potency of the actives? Do the products contain fillers? Do the products contain any additional antioxidant actives that can benefit your skin in other ways?

Look for these better-known antioxidants in your skincare formulas:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid, also referred to as the universal antioxidant, penetrates the skin membrane to enhance the skin at the deep, cellular level.
  • Astaxanthin provides natural UV protection and increases moisture retention.
  • CoQ10 fights free radicals as it regenerates and repairs the skin by boosting collagen production.
  • Glutathione protects the skin from strong oxidants and helps boost immunity in the body.
  • Green Tea (EGCG) helps protect against free radicals and reduces skin inflammation.
  • Niacinamide/Vitamin B3, is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that minimizes acne breakouts, soothes irritation, regulates oil production, and more!
  • Resveratrol protects skin cells from the oxidative stress that occurs when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals.
  • Vitamin C, especially in its most stable form, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, is a super powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals, aid in the skin’s regeneration process, and help the body repair damaged skin cells.
  • Vitamin E repairs and heals the skin while neutralizing free radicals.

Along with the powerhouse antioxidants listed above, here are some less-recognizable (but just as noteworthy) anti-pollution aids to look for in your skincare products:

  • Carnitine
  • Fucoxanthin
  • Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Lycopene
  • Porphyridium Polysaccharide
  • Sea Kelp Bioferment
  • Sh-Polypeptide-7
  • Sorghum Bicolor Extract
  • Tetrahydrocurcuminoids

KRS Antioxidant (Anti-Pollution) Skincare Products

We mentioned that each and every KRS product contains antioxidants to fight free radicals for your skin. If you purchase a product from KRS, you can rest assured that anti-pollution actives are in the formula.

Since some skincare companies are changing the name of their Vitamin C serums to Anti-Pollution serums, we thought we’d highlight our own (but we are sticking with their original name!) Kate’s Vitamin C Collection features Vitamin C Daytime Repair Serum and Vitamin C Night Repair Serum. These high-potency antioxidant serums prevent skin aging caused by free radical damage while also working on aging issues like lines, dark spots, and elasticity.

Kate’ Total Nutrition Night Repair Complex combines powerful antioxidants with effective nutrients to protect from and repair damage caused by free radicals, boost collagen production, hydrate, and restore the skin’s tone and texture. If you are choosing just one KRS product, this is the product we recommend!

Protecting the skin from pollution and environmental stress doesn’t have to be limited to your morning and evening skincare routines. Kate’s Energizing Facial Mist allows you to not only refresh, brighten, and calm the skin at any time throughout the day, but also provides antioxidant protection. Alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, and green tea work together to fight oxidation, refine texture, and minimize pores.

Even Kate’s cleansers contain anti-pollution actives. Kate’s Nutritive Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover cleanses the skin while also removing makeup, dirt, oil, and pollutants. It isn’t often that your cleanser is formulated with antioxidants like resveratrol, Vitamin E, CoQ10, and more! This product is a great opportunity to give your skin a little self-care massage while cleansing!


Protecting your skin is in! Whether you’re calling it “anti-pollution” or “antioxidant,” the name essentially means the same thing. The difference is in the formula, the antioxidants that are included, and the potency. Look for the names listed in the article, but don’t stop there! Dive into how much of the antioxidants are in the products, check to see if the unknown ingredients are fillers, and compare prices!

You can spend a lot of time researching your skincare products! We love to talk about antioxidants, the actives in our formulas, and the ingredients we choose to leave out, so please send us an email if you have any questions!

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Energizing Facial Mist | Kate Ryan Skincare
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Total Nutrition Night Repair Complex | Kate Ryan Skincare
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Vitamin C Daytime Repair Serum | Kate Ryan Skincare
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A Vitamin C Serum with 3 forms of Vitamin C and 100% skin-loving actives - it's a real thing.