Slathering on the SPF to protect against UVs is more or less a given nowadays - but more and more of us are now also turning to ‘Anti Pollution’ products, a trend thanks in no small part to those skin-literate beauty gurus in South Korea. (If there’s something those guys cannot teach us about skin, it’s not worth knowing …)

Why do you need an 'Anti Pollution' product? Well, rather than just make your skin a feel little grubby (ick!), pollution exposure can actually do a lot more damage at a deeper level too, triggering free radicals that wreak havoc on the skin.

A quickie chemistry lesson *adjusts glasses*: your cells (e.g. skin cells) are made up of molecules. Molecules have electrons which act like glue to ‘bind’ them together. Free radicals are very unstable versions of these molecules, with an uneven number of electrons. So to rebalance themselves, they attack the nearest available molecule, swiping its electron (rude!) which turns that molecule into a free radical itself. Think of it as a microscopic zombie invasion on your skin - once healthy molecules get attacked, they too become ‘infected’ and start attacking others – wreaking havoc over time, in the form of irritation and premature ageing (dammit!).

The biggest culprits where free radicals are concerned? Sun exposure and - you guessed it - pollution, hence why it’s a good idea to stock up on anti-pollution products in addition to that trusty SPF. Think of them as the "superheroes" shooting up those free radical "zombies" to quell the apocalypse and save the day...

First up is the new {REN Flash Defense Anti-Pollution Mist} – which is ridiculously easy to use. Simply spritz it over your moisturiser or make-up before heading out the door. Its hard-hitting ingredients include biosaccharid gum as well as zinc and manganese amino acids, which together work like a shield to prevent those pesky free radicals from forming. It's also got quercetin and alga-glucan to repair and detoxify - the perfect antidote to stressed city complexions.

Elsewhere, the new kid on the beauty block is “anti-polluaging” skin care line {Allies of Skin}, featuring heavy-duty formulas created with the city-dweller in mind. A particular highlight is their {Molecular Saviour Toner Mist} - packed full of free-radical fighting antioxidants and amino acids, it also soothes the skin and does battle with blemishes (the range itself was born out of the founder's own struggle with acne). There are also two ingenious face masks: {1A All-Day Mask} creates a lightweight barrier to pollution and environmental toxins, while {1A Overnight Mask} repairs the skin and reverses the effects of a day spent in a smoky city. As you would expect, both come with a hefty dose of antioxidants and cell-energising ingredients – opt for the {24/7 Kit} to give all three products a try.

{Tata Harper’s} Purifying Range is another “anti-pollution” phenomenon. We suggest giving their free-radical fighting double-act {Purifying Cleanser and Mask} a whirl (we're currently offering a free trial-sized mask with every purchase of the cleanser). Not only does this all-natural duo remove every last scrap of dirt and debris - it works to detoxify the skin and restore its equilibrium in the bargain.

So why not treat your skin to some anti-pollution protection? Prevention is better than cure, ladies and gents...

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