Unless you live at a very high altitude with clean air, your skin is probably suffering every day by exposure to dirt, toxins and free radicals. Protecting it and fighting the effects of pollution isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.

Find out how to protect your skin from pollution with a few simple tricks, from choosing the right type of skincare products to avoiding exposure to more toxins. By fighting pollution when it comes to your skip, you’ll be able to avoid breakouts, inflammation, and keep it looking young for longer.

Cleanse the Right Way

If you don’t cleanse your skin enough, the dirt buildup can cause acne and blemishes. If you overcleanse, you risk stripping away the natural oil barrier and making your skin even more sensitive to toxins and free radicals. You should make sure that you cleanse your skin carefully before bedtime every day. You don’t have to use a cleanser in the morning if you slept on a clean pillowcase, water is enough. Using a very light and delicate cleanser is an option, but you might be overdoing it.

Choose Your Skincare Products Carefully

The best way to protect your skin from pollution is to make sure that antioxidants are a big part of your skincare regiment. That means vitamins A, C and E, along with extracts from antioxidant-rich foods or green tea.

Pollution Skin Cleansing Tips

Avoid Skincare Interactions

Many antioxidants are sensitive compounds, but none are as easy to destabilize as vitamin C. If you want your antioxidant-rich creams and serums to have the intended effect, you should avoid using them right before or after other powerful compounds. Vitamin C does not mix well with AHAs, Retinol, and Benzoyl Peroxide.

Introduce More Antioxidants to Your Diet

Since there are issues with antioxidant stability in skin care, you should protect your skin from pollution by only making them a bigger part of your diet. Sipping green tea is great, but you should also focus on antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, artichokes, and dark leafy greens should be eaten regularly, along with walnuts, red beans, and pinto beans. Consider buying these foods organic, so you avoid any traces of pesticides and herbicides.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps you flush out toxins and it very beneficial for your skin. Even with the best moisturizers, your skin also needs moisture from the inside, and filtered drinking water is the way to go, since it will reduce the chlorine content in water.

See also: Why Are Cleansing Wipes Bad for Your Skin

Avoid Chlorinated Water

Protect your skin from pollution means avoiding chlorine, but not just in your drinking water. You should also install a filter for the water you use to shower and cleanse your face. Hot showers with unfiltered water are particularly harmful, since they allow the chlorine to go deeper into your skin and dry it out. Also avoid heavily chlorinated pools.

Wear Sunscreen

An indirect effect of pollution is the damage to the ozone layer, which means your skin has to deal with more UV radiation and free radicals today than 2 decades ago. Make sure you protect it with the right SPF, and don’t rely on makeup to do it. Sunscreen will decrease the risk of skin cancer and premature aging all year long, regardless of the weather.

Exfoliate Regularly

Getting rid of dead skin cells and dirt buildup is important. Protect your skin from pollution by gently exfoliating your skin one or twice a week, but not more frequently than that. Chemical exfoliants with AHAs and BHAs are usually a better option for your complexion than scrubs.

Big City Pollution Skin Care

Night Protection

Even if you did everything you needed to do during the day, you can’t forget about protecting your skin while you sleep. An antioxidant serum should be the last step in your beauty routine before you go to sleep.

More: Don't Do These to Your Sensitive Skin

Reduce Toxins in Skin Care

When you’re trying to protect your skin from pollution, the last thing you need is putting toxins on it yourself. Try to streamline your beauty routine using fragrance-free products that are also free of the worst ingredients in cosmetics and hair products.