Rising air pollution — a threat to the beauty conscious

A recent study revealed that facial dark spots are increasingly linked to traffic-related air pollution

Mahwish Qayyum May 24, 2016

Women are ultra-conscious of their appearance and beauty, striving diligently to look gorgeous and ravishing. For the sake of their appearance, they go to any extent, but rising air pollution is playing havoc with their skin, making their complexion dull and dry and leading to pigmentation on their faces.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, revealed that facial dark spots are increasingly linked to traffic-related air pollution. Most pronounced changes, according to the study, were observed on the cheeks of Asian women over the age of 50.

Pollution leaves a layer of particles and toxins on the skin which causes serious side effects, says Dr Shad Muhammad Wazir, head of the dermatology department at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC). According to him, unchecked air pollution is causing skin pigmentation, hyper-pigmentation, allergies, infection and skin irritation amongst other skin disorders. Smoke, dust and toxic gases keep on collecting within the pores of the skin, leaving them clogged and producing dreaded acne.

Air pollution also darkens the skin. An unhealthy obsession with white skin compels many women to apply different whitening products on their skin. The whitening products contain steroids and other chemicals which ultimately cause unnecessary hair growth and wrinkles on faces. Wazir points out that dozens of female patients aged between 16 and 30 years visit the hospital daily for skincare problems. Beautician Shahana Kaleem admits that a growing number of women clients visit the salon for mini facials and full skin cleansing these days.

One woman Umm-e-Farwa says she regularly buys blackhead removal strips to eliminate blackheads on her nose. She does that because she is a working woman and does not have time to go to the salon. “That’s why I am buying these strips,” she explains. But she confesses that blackheads reappear after some time and she has to go through the process all over again. Skin experts advise beauty conscious women to avoid going outdoors in the rush hour. They should use a good moisturiser, wear sunscreen of good quality and consume fresh vegetables and fruits instead of applying masks on their faces.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2016.


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