Ask the experts

Polluaging: the K-Beauty buzzword causing a commotion

A few months ago, when we were testing out new sheet masks from cool Korean brand {Blithe}, we spotted a term that be-fuddled us; the packaging describes these masks as ‘polluaging’ – so we went straight-to-source to get the scoop…

Our {K-Beauty} oracles (and Cult Beauty experts) {Sarah Lee and Christine Chang} were more than happy to shine some light on this new beauty buzz-term (something which you’ll no doubt be bombarded with before too long…)

“Pollution to us means car exhaust, smog, dirt, grime and pollen. And these elements clogging and dirtying the skin.

“Unfortunately, pollution is also a constant in our lives, wherever we live. But did you know that pollution can go beyond surface grime to actually damage the skin?

“While it’s commonly known that UVA and UVB rays are a key factor in premature ageing, pollution can also be a major contributor to the skin ageing process. In the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, it was shown that pollution contains tiny contaminants called ‘polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’. When these come into contact with the skin, they trigger the production of free radicals.

“Think of free radicals as starving ‘hyenas’ that roam the surface of your skin, looking for healthy skin cells to scavenge and ultimately disrupt. Disrupted skin cells equals a weakened, compromised skin barrier, which can lead to sensitised, irritated and prematurely ageing skin.

“To truly stave off the effects of pollution, cleansing is just a first step. In Asia, where pollution, smog and pollen can be particularly bad in the spring months, skin care has had multiple recent developments in the anti-pollution treatment category – anti-pollution skin care has definitely gone leaps and bounds beyond cleansing.

“{Blithe} is one of the most innovative brands targeting anti-pollution, as they’ve taken it a step further with their ‘anti-polluaging’ technology – creating supercharged products with strong antioxidant benefits that can help neutralise free radical activity. Beyond Asia, this can apply to any region around the world – particularly those living in densely populated, urban environments – to promote a healthy, youthful skin barrier and ward against the damaging effects of free radical attack.”

As well as Blithe, Tata Harper has recently launched an anti-polluaging powerhouse; the brand’s {Purifying Mask} is rich in clay and probiotics, to attract impurities and bolster skin’s protective flora.

Or, try Zelens {Provitamin D Treatment Drops} – a fortifying, line-lessening and elasticising serum, developed to dramatically increase your skin’s resilience – sealing ‘good stuff’ in while locking ‘bad stuff’ out. Layer beneath Aesop’s {Elemental Barrier Cream} – a ‘force field’ for your face that not only protects against extremes of temperature, but also wards against the damage wrought by everyday exposure to the ongoing, environmental onslaught. 

And, we expect you’ll soon be seeing plenty more where they came from. Watch this space!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…