COVER IMAGE I sophie moates
Conversations about commutes tend to transpire as a situational Top Trumps. ‘Tuna! Really?’ ‘You blew your nose and what came out?’ ‘Oof, armpit or crotch?’ Yes, bemoaning our commutes is a national hobby, and it’s understandable, especially when the effects start to show up on our faces. Manifesting in blotches, blemishes and inky pores, there are tonnes of gripes to be had with trains, tubes, cars and roads. Dull-skinned commuter, identify your mode and take charge.
In a recent report, particle pollution in the subterranean depths of the London Underground was found to be 30 times more than next to a busy road in London. Particulates are as much as 20 times smaller than pores, and once in, they claim squatters’ rights.
‘Pollution sits in pores and increases bacteria and oil – this forces sebaceous glands to swell to a close, further trapping oil, bacteria and dead skin cells,’ says co-founder of skincare brand Mortar & Milk, Pam Marshall. Over time, this causes inflammation, dehydration, and a loss of elasticity and firmness.
Although reports claim the Northern line is the most polluted (a deadly strain of bacteria was found on the Victoria line in 2017 – nice), dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting says we should be equally concerned with the incessantly sweaty Central line because of ‘extremes of temperature and humidity, which impact barrier function and make it more prone to irritation’. Indeed, repressive heat smothers skin, opens pores and right on cue, rivers of sweat flow, and flow… and flow.
As the name suggests, a pea-sized dollop of this in the morning will curb oil production, dull shine and blur pores. SPF is a plus once you’re above ground, too.
Niacinamide is an antioxidant proven to help inflammation and repair the skin’s barrier, which boosts its ability to function while in the clutches of TFL.
With heavy hitting skin care credentials, the new Tom Ford range does as good as it looks. Expect improved tone, texture and the coaxing of a glow.
MAMIL (middle-aged men in Lycra). Oh, and the noxious wind from the arse end of a bus. Research shows that airborne pollution contains many chemicals identical to those found in cigarette smoke. What’s more, traffic-related particulate matter (PM) has the ability to penetrate the skin’s surface and disrupt its functions at lower cellular levels. At surface level, Dr Stefanie Williams of Eudelo says these particles serve as ‘”Trojan horses” by releasing chemicals onto the top layer of skin, causing increased oxidative stress and subsequent damage’. Dr Bunting agrees: ‘Particulate matter from traffic exhaust fumes is at the heart of why pollution is a problem for skin.’
A stalwart staple for anyone in the know, this antioxidant is as deft at shielding from pollution UV and HEV light as it is at lifting the effects of hyperpigmentation.
A bit like the toothpaste you used to smudge on spots, this will reduce the redness and tenderness, but without drying. Salicylic acid gets rid of bacteria, while pine and thyme ensure spots don’t leave a lasting mark.
British railway companies get a lot of flack (‘I could run my toy train set better,’ Sussex commuters furiously tweet). And quite right too – whether it’s freezing or boiling, platforms are the scenes of great suffering, and loitering on them leaves skin in disarray. Wind irritates it, causing the top layers to shed, and everything underneath more exposed to UVA rays. Dr Bunting stresses how important it is to factor in the UV damage, too. You might not think you’re overly exposed, but it’s the cumulative UV damage that gets you. She implores us to ‘add a broad spectrum sunscreen to your routine, and reapply it in the correct quantity throughout the day’.
Once onboard, doors, handrails and seats are a fertile ground for bacteria, and we the people work tirelessly to cultivate its rich and varied forms. Inevitable face touching thereafter is a grim and dangerous game.
OK, the price tag may be a little high for a – seemingly – humdrum handwash, but a vastly unscientific statistic I just made up shows that 97% of people who bought it don’t regret it. For the uninitiated, Byredo is shorthand for chic.
Yes, claiming to boost moisture by 250% in a single hour is a bold claim, but a) it’s clinically proven, b) it looks fittingly futuristic and c) has a surreal-sounding delivery system called aqua shuttle technology.
This has all the credentials of a modern, fuss-free, reliable sunscreen. Broad spectrum, non-comedogenic, no white cast… the list goes on.
Treetop swinging on the 28 is pretty great, but those gaping glass things next to you? Not so much. UVA rays, the ones that age us rather than burn us, penetrate glass and set to work breaking down elastin and pilfering collagen stocks. Unlike burning, there are no tangible effects, so it’s easy to ignore and/or forget. Also, consider this as you’re absorbed in Netxlix’s Top Boy. ‘High-energy visible blue light exaggerates the signs of ageing via pollution,’ says Dr Buting. ‘With millenials checking their phones on average 150 times per day, particularly on commutes, they’re prime to exposure.’
Dispensing two-pronged protection against UV and visible light damage, this light gel sinks in quickly and sets to work on reversing sun damage, too.
It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s so techy, we likely wouldn’t understand any iteration of its name. All you need to know is that there are peptides, anti-pollution boosters and a terribly complicated sounding complex, to target any and all forms of pollution.
You’d be forgiven for thinking your car is a port in the pollution storm, free from the stench and heat of public transport and airspace, but experts warn they’re merely ‘boxes collecting toxic gases’. According to skin specialist Debbie Thomas, over time, exposure to such pollution can result in skin conditions such as eczema, and since we’re here, health conditions like vascular damage. The situation becomes exponentially worse when sunshine is factored in. Again, UV and UVA. And then, in all-too-familiar instances of road rage, cortisol levels skyrocket. The higher the cortisol level, says Dr Bunting, ‘the more chance of barrier function disruption and skin sensitivity’.
This makes zero fuss of removing everything gently. For eye make-up, and peace of mind that surface grime is gone, a second pass won’t harm.
See capsule, think Arden. These are as mighty as all that have come before them. With skin-scaffolding ceramides, and a potent dose of vitamin C, expect brighter, better-behaved skin.
AHAs (liquid exfoliants), enzymes and probiotics gently buff and bolster skin, while burrowing out blackened, grimy pores.