By Marianne Mychaskiw
Dec 24, 2016 @ 12:00 pm
Timur Emek/Getty

Although you can't beat the convenience of being a city-dweller—not to mention, the apps like Uber, Seamless, and Postmates that make it much easier to navigate—you may have noticed that your skin has suddenly become more dull since moving from your hometown to that Carrie Bradshaw-esque studio apartment. It's not just the lack of sunlight getting to you. As it turns out, the air pollution could be the culprit behind your less-than-radiant complexion as of late. "Nitrogen dioxide, soot, and carbon dioxide are very common in cities and the tiny particulates can easily infiltrate the skin barrier, penetrating to the deeper levels and causing damage," says aesthetician Corinne Morley of Trilogy skincare. "New evidence shows that exposure to pollution generates free radicals that can damage and age the skin in the same way as UV rays from the sun do." And even once you duck indoors, you're not completely safe—because pollution can get trapped, it is often found in higher concentrations inside than out. Because your skin cells are deprived of oxygen, free radicals start to form, and in turn, can trigger fine lines, inflammation, and sensitivity.

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Luckily, antioxidant-rich products like the Trilogy Rosehip Oil ($29; and Jurlique Purity Specialist Concentrate ($50; can ward off the pollution particulates, while dealing with the free radicals in the process of forming. "Antioxidants protect the skin by binding with free radicals, preventing them from attaching to healthy skin cells in a process called quenching," she adds. Morley advises prepping your skin with antioxidant-rich products before venturing into the world, and at night, try double-cleansing by first using an oil-based cleanser to break down your makeup, followed by a foaming face wash. This ensures that both the pollutants and your makeup are completely removed. Regular facials every few weeks or months, while a luxury, can be extremely effective for those of us living in cities with questionable air quality. "It can really boost your skin's radiance, though you don't have to spend a fortune at high-end salons," says Morley. "You can do your own version at home too if you have some good quality products, and take an hour or so of personal pampering time." Looks like the Parks and Rec-famous motto reminding you to treat yourself is making a comeback in a big way for 2017.