Dr. Dennis Gross Shares Wildfire Skin Protection Tips
Christopher Ehlers READ TIME: 7 MIN.
As the climate crisis continues to make wildfires increasingly frequent, the effects of this devastation are being seen far and wide, as evidenced by the recent apocalyptic smokescape that has engulfed New York City and other places in the northeast.
It goes without saying that smoky air is terrible for the body, but you may not be thinking about how this dangerous air is also bad for your skin. Dr. Dennis Gross, dermatologist to the stars and creator of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, shares some tips on how to protect your skin.
How is this type of pollution different than the standard, day-to-day pollution?
"In general, standard air pollution is primarily carbon monoxide. What we are experiencing now is a higher concentration of particles in the air – called particle matter – that come from the burning of wood and other natural materials. You also have smoke in addition to the CO2 which has a thickness to it. The sedimentation and smoke particles deposit free radicals directly on the skin. We are currently dealing with smoke – not just gas."
What skin conditions are most susceptible to flare ups in these conditions?
"If you have sensitive skin, you are the most susceptible to flare ups. One of the major things that is occurring is free radicals exposure due to the smoke. Free radicals can aggravate any skin condition including dryness, redness & rosacea. Inflammation can also be aggravated which can trigger eczema flareups."
How can we best protect ourselves?
• Stay inside, if possible and wear a mask.
• Wearing sunscreen is a must. The UV rays penetrate smog and get trapped under the layer of smoke, creating a greenhouse effect. There is greater exposure to sun's rays when they are insulated and trapped near earth's surface.
• Now is actually a good time to wear makeup – it forms protective barrier on skin.
• Exfoliate & wash your face. This removes buildup of foreign material on the skin & clears trapped particles from the smoke.
• It is very important to use an antioxidant to tackle free radical build up. Vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant in the skincare world. This will neutralize free radical build up that exists in skin even after the wildfire smoke has lifted.
EDGE recommends these Dr. Dennis Gross products:
Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel
Appropriate for all skin types, this beloved classic deep cleans the skin, unclogs pores, washes away bacteria, and lightly exfoliates the skin without ever drying it or stripping the skin. $39, Dr. Dennis Gross.
Alpha Beta Daily Peel
Available in three strengths–ultra gentle, universal, and extra-strength–this iconic peel remains the best facial peel on the market where it has reigned supreme for more than three decades. These babies will transform your skin in no time flat. $20-$153, Dr. Dennis Gross.
Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Serum
As Dr. Gross said above, Vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant in the skincare world, and this recent reformulation takes the protective and brightening benefits to the next level. $85, Dr. Dennis Gross.