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Skin-Care Products That Protect Against Pollution

Skin Pollution

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You already know that sun exposure can seriously damage your skin. (You're taking all the right steps to avoid this, right? Ahem, sunscreen.) But the sun isn't the only thing to watch out for—there's another environmental skin saboteur out there: pollution. Smog, particulate matter (minuscule particles of soot and dirt) and other grime in the air can wreak major havoc on your complexion. Pollution of this kind can cause inflammation and the formation of free radicals, which lead to spots, wrinkles, and a whole host of other issues. Happily, the latest crop of skin-care products have powerful antioxidants and other ingredients to combat these detrimental effects. Ahead, 10 of our favorites.

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SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

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This serum is a favorite among dermatologists for good reason. Not only does it contain antioxidants l-ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol (you may know them as vitamins C and E), but it also includes ferulic acid, another potent plant-based antioxidant. This power combo works synergistically to combat skin-damaging free radicals caused by both UV rays and pollution. Make it a non-negotiable step in your morning beauty routine, layering a few drops under sunscreen. ($165; skinceuticals.com)

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Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask

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Pollution particles can be 20 times smaller than your pores, allowing them to lodge in your skin without your even knowing it (gross, but true). This multitasking mask touts a special polymer that lifts off and removes those pollutants. Plus it has Idebenone, a powerful antioxidant, to counteract any damage the pollutants may have caused. It also removes excess dirt and oil, making pores look smaller and skin brighter and more even. Not to mention that peeling it off is oh so satisfying. ($78; ulta.com)

Related: How to Shrink Large Pores for Flawlessly Clear Skin

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Decléor Hydra-Floral Anti-Pollution Hydrating Gel Cream

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Not only does this hydrating cream offer long-lasting hydration (up to 24 hours!), but it also removes and keeps pollution from adhering to your complexion. Credit moringa extract, a peptide that both purifies the skin and keeps those pesky particles from sticking. Bonus points for the lightweight gel formula that feels refreshing and cooling going on (perfect for hot, summer days) and its clean, slightly floral scent. ($70; dermstore.com)

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Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Eye Cream With SPF 20

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The thin skin around your eyes is super susceptible to damage and the first place where fine lines typically appear, making a good eye cream essential. This one—the brand's first with SPF—has a broad-spectrum SPF 20, while white tea offers antioxidant protection. Other natural extracts, such as white birch and edelweiss, safeguard skin from both pollution and IR (infra-red), another type of damaging radiation from the sun. Add to that a slightly opalescent finish that brightens your entire eye area, and you've got the perfect eye cream to use every morning. ($38; origins.com)

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Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift

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We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but simply washing your face at night isn't enough to get rid of all the grime that's built up during the day. When those tiny pollution particles get wedged into your pores, removing them requires a little more elbow grease. The good news: The patented sonic cleansing technology in the Clarisonic face brushes has been shown to be 30 times better at removing this gunk than manual washing alone. Their latest version is admittedly pricey, but comes with a face brush, body brush, and massaging head attachment that helps firm and smooth skin. #Worthit. ($349; clarisonic.com)

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Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer

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Use the time you spend snoozing as an opportunity to treat your skin: Swap your standard night cream for this option, which has antioxidants from plant stem cells to counteract pollution, plus brightening and firming vitamin C. There's also a blend of botanicals that combat pollution-induced damage to the skin barrier (translation: dehydration), all in a non-oily formula. ($70; murad.com)

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Alastin HydraTint ProMineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36

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You should (obviously) be wearing sunscreen every day, so why not use one that goes above and beyond its standard job description, like this newbie. The mineral formula keeps skin looking youthful, thanks to peptides that support healthy collagen and elastin. It also has antioxidants green tea and vitamin E, and a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory plant extract to protect against environmental aggressors. And beyond all that, the universal tint evens out your complexion, a good choice for days when you want to skip makeup. ($55; alastin.com)

And if you plan to break a serious sweat, check out these sunscreens for working out that don't suck—or streak or leave you greasy.

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Ren Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist

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City-dwellers, be sure to keep a bottle of this in your purse. The spritz instantly protects your skin from cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, and other pollutants, thanks to a biosaccharide gum (derived from sugar and yeast) that forms an invisible barrier and blocks these nasties. And it doesn't stop at these instantaneous benefits, either. Zinc and manganese amino acids knock out free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative stress. The best part? It can be used repeatedly throughout the day as needed and won't mess up your makeup. ($38; sephora.com)

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e.l.f. Beauty Shield Vitamin C Pollution Prevention Serum

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The makeup brand makes its first foray into skin care with a line of products specifically made to protect skin from the environment. This lightweight serum is chock-full of antioxidants vitamins C and E, and pomegranate to strengthen, protect, and brighten your complexion. It also delivers immediate hydration, making it the perfect pre-makeup prep step. And can we talk about the price for a sec? A major steal for such skin care benefits. ($16; available in June on elfcosmetics.com)

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Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant

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Thorough cleansing plus regular exfoliation keep pollution particles from getting stuck in your skin. This powder exfoliant (mix it with water and it turns into a foamy paste) contains a type of charcoal to purify pores, along with red algae and tara fruit extract to keep debris from adhering to the skin. It exfoliates both chemically and mechanically—credit enzymes and rice bran extract, respectively—to leave skin smooth and glowy. Also nice: The formula is gentle enough for everyday use. ($58; dermalogica.com)

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