What is Atmospheric Aging?

Sun exposure and air pollution in today’s aggressive climate pose a serious threat to healthy, youthful skin.

The silent killer of healthy skin

There’s a killer on the loose, and it’s not what you think. Over the last century, the industrial boom has waged war against the environment (and arguably everyone living in it). The rise of transportation and factories and the burning of natural resources have resulted in a huge spike of atmospheric chaos. As mammals who live and breathe the tainted air all around us, humans have increased difficulty being healthy on the inside and out due to climate conditions.

Think of environmental health and skin health as one. As the quality of life increases with the convenience of technology, the health of the planet and its beings takes a dive. Human skin suffers due to the pollutants and greenhouse gases that get trapped in the atmosphere due to human activity. As a result, the ozone layer weakens and harmful UV radiation becomes stronger. When the atmosphere is thrown off, so is the skin. All kinds of skin issues, ranging from pesky breakouts to it’s-end-of-the-world wrinkles, rise to the surface because of the environment lashing back.

Humans depend on the livable environments of Earth, but the aggressive climates are taking a toll on our first line of defense — our skin. Biologically, we shouldn’t see wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots until our forties. Atmospheric aging, however, doesn’t play by those rules.

Is seeing deceiving?

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there — like the air and its quality. Of course, at this point we can actually see the phenomena we’re concerned about. Air pollution, for example, is visible in the thick layer of smog looming over a busy city that you tower over, and we can track climate changes based on collective data. Or you can simply look around you and take notice (warmer summers, melting glaciers, endangered species, etc.).

But what about the environment’s effects on skin? We see this playing out in younger people as external aging — or atmospheric aging when the air is the culprit — is visible in one’s twenties or thirties. Because UV rays can escape through the ozone layer easier, the severity of free radicals plays out in the form of discoloration and broken down skin structure. About 5% of sun rays are UVB, which cause pesky sunburns, but the UVA rays that make up the other 95% result in premature aging. Everyone knows about UV radiation, but wait until you hear about the rest of the sun’s mighty power because these rays aren’t here to play.

UV rays only make up about 7% of the Earth’s solar energy (talk about small but mighty). Infrared radiation accounts for a whopping 54%, and it penetrates the skin deeper than UV radiation. In addition to releasing havoc-wrecking free radicals into the skin, infrared radiation degrades collagen, the protein responsible for strong and elastic skin. You don’t have to be middle-aged to be a victim of the almighty sun.

[Keep reading: It’s Time to Upgrade Your Drugstore Beauty Finds]

What you can do about it

Climate change and pollution don’t happen overnight. The processes are gradual but can be expedited by human activity, and we’re wearing the aftermath on our faces. Environmentally, you can do your part by opting for eco-friendly, greener options. Have faith in the good that a single carpool or bike ride can do. Little changes in your lifestyle can have huge impacts on the environment, and therefore your body.

When it comes to skin health, taking care of your skin amidst the external frenzy is vital. As the climates and atmosphere change, so must your skincare ritual. Pour Moi climate smart skincare is enriched with all the vitamins and antioxidants your skin needs to fight off the free radicals let loose by pollutants and radiation. Even better, our Day Creams are formulated specifically for the major climates. In response to the aggressive environment, skincare just got smarter. Poor me? No, Pour Moi.

Lacey Bourassa
About the Author: Lacey Bourassa is a lifestyle, beauty, and wellness writer with a passion for spreading education and awareness to women. She has been involved in the start-up and evolution of two beauty blogs, and previously worked as a freelance writer and script editor for a reality personality. Being an avid self-starter, Lacey graduated college early to become a full-time writer and has been creating content ever since.