Deciphering the difference between skin marks can be challenging as it is—especially in the summer months, when freckles, moles, and sun spots alike tend to appear in droves, no matter how much SPF you've slathered on. But what if we told you that instead of blaming the sun's rays outright, you should actually point the finger at your car? A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that pollution is actually the main culprit behind hyperpigmentation.
In the study, scientists observed two groups of women who spent an average of two and a half hours per day in the sun. After exposing the women to different amounts of nitrogen dioxide (one of the byproducts of traffic-related air pollution), the researchers found that the women who were exposed to the more polluted air had about 25% more sun spots on their faces. The takeaway? At the very least, pollution greatly exacerbates the appearance of dark spots.
It's worth noting that both groups consisted of elderly women, and dark spots tend to be more prevalent as we age. But it's definitely something to keep in mind, especially for those of us who live in urban areas—in order to keep your skin looking as young as possible, consider investigating the growing market of anti-pollution skin products or picking up a brightening cream. Scroll below for some of our favorite products.
The botanical ingredients in this handy face mist react to form a lightweight but impenetrable barrier against exhaust, heavy metals, and cigarette smoke.
Slather on a layer of this highly effective, rose-infused cream to target hyperpigmentation at a cellular level and visibly brighten skin.
This multitasking formula offers a dose of SPF 25 and a barrier against air pollution—in addition to acting as a lightweight moisturizer.
Time-strapped? See nearly instant results with this treatment mask, which targets dryness, uneven skin tone and texture, and dullness all in one go.
This mattifying primer goes beyond urban pollution to protect against HEV light—as in the blue light emitted by your electronic devices—as well. A bonus? It aids with vitamin D synthesis, too.