Look out sun; you have some competition. At one time, the sun was known as the main danger to the skin, but this designation can now be shared with air pollution.
Sadly, it's not just the lungs and heart that are vulnerable to air pollution. The skin takes some abuse as well.
Air Pollution's Impact on the Skin
One of the main causes of skin damage is caused by air pollution. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body it easily absorbs external pollutants. It is the first point of contact for all of the toxins floating through the air. Our skin is supposed to protect us from the pollutants but it’s not always possible. The free radicals in toxic air can damage our skin and prevent it from rebuilding collagen, cause dry skin and even contribute to premature aging.
Studies Show the Dramatic Effects
Poisonous air is now proving to be cause of, or irritation, of several skin diseases and conditions, such as eczema and hives. Air pollution especially contributes to wrinkles and age spots, which perhaps were only linked to sun damage in the past.
A recent study was done in Shanghai on the effects of urban pollution on the skin. The controlled research aimed at measuring biochemical parameters and the results did show a negative outcome in skin conditions with superficial changes. The volunteers in the study also reported change to their skin from the exposure to polluted air.
The Opportunities for the Beauty Industry
While it is not such great news for many to hear that air pollution is damaging to the skin, it does create opportunities for the cosmetic industry to step in and find some much needed solutions.
- Cosmetics Apps: While there are many skincare apps out there, a specific app or feature on how to treat your skin before and after being immersed in polluted air, and based on the pollutants you have been exposed, would be a first great use case.
- Marketing Campaigns: Air pollution is extremely damaging to the skin and cosmetic companies now often have a range of products to help consumers prevent premature aging, clogged pores and other skin damages caused by pollution. The question then is how to create a customized campaign with a sense of urgency that will drive sales. Integrating air quality data in marketing materials, online and offline, can really make a difference.
The Cosmetics Marketing of the Future
Beauty products and the marketing efforts of the cosmetics industry will evolve with real-time air quality data. Each pollutant has a different effect on the skin, along with the exposure time. Real-time data provides accurate, and specific information that in turn allows beauty companies to offer customized and relevant solutions to their consumers.
Here are some future trends we expect to see, in a few months to a few years:
- Air quality in beauty apps: Tips will be given based on which area you are in, which pollutants you have already been exposed to, and recommendations for the most suitable products will be suggested.
- Online campaigns and assets will target website users based on their precise location, historical and real-time pollution data levels. These targeted ads will showcase relevant beauty products based on visitors’ exposure.
- Offline marketing using digital billboards will also become a popular strategy. They will incorporate real-time air quality information and to what degree it impacts the skin. They will also show suitable products and solutions.
As the connection between air pollution and skin damage becomes more widespread, the beauty industry’s transformation will be interesting to watch as it delves into new product lines and real-time air quality data monitoring.
PS: The shift has already started, and we see more and more beauty companies, from traditional players to emerging startups, contacting us for air quality monitoring.
Dermalogica appears as a pioneer in the field, with the launch of the Daily Superfoliant aimed at countering pollution’s impact on the skin, and its digital campaign using BreezoMeter’s air quality data to engage with users.