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How Skincare Brands Can Tackle Air Pollution & Win Customers

Air pollution has detrimental effects on our bodies and our skin: dryness, rashes, premature aging, acne, age spots (aka liver spots), and eczema. Cosmetics companies are now launching skincare products to help reduce the impact of pollution. Keep reading to understand this new beauty & wellness trend bound to become the norm.

Skin Pollution 101

Try googling skin pollution to discover how common and widespread and rampant it is. Go to the website, enter your current location, and read the Skin Pollution Index for your city. And the risk of accelerated aging.

“More than 92% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) limits,” says the WHO 2016 Global Urban Ambient Pollution Database.

“Now, if pollution is at an all-time high, we might be thinking more about our lungs or heart than we are our skin, of course,” says a 2017 Forbes article , “but the absorbent nature of our skin (as our largest organ) makes it incredibly susceptible to the damaging effects of toxic air.” What happened? Increased traffic, for one thing. Air pollution from traffic and soot can increase pigmentation spots by 20%.

“Airborne environmental pollution is a growing worldwide health problem,” says Anne Lynn S. Chang, M.D. of Stanford University’s School of Medicine, “and understanding how various components of pollutants, particularly as they may interact with ultraviolet radiation to cause cellular damage, is of critical importance in therapeutic efforts to maintain healthy skin into advanced age and to repair or reverse cutaneous damage.”


Opportunities for Skincare & Cosmetics Companies

But the best isn’t yet to come: it’s already here! As proof mounts that pollution is linked to premature aging, Janna Zittrer Appleby reports on a new crop of beauty products that promise to safeguard your skin.

“So much for slathering on the SPF and taking cover in the shade,” says Appleby. “In the battle against signs of aging, it seems sun protection isn’t the only weapon required.” She indicates that after decades of studying the effects of UV-induced aging, scientists have only recently begun to uncover a link between air pollution and its long-term effects on skin, such as pigment spots, fine lines, and loss of elasticity. Think skin pollution.

In a 2017 Glamour article, we begin to see what’s happening in the skincare industry, and we hear new marching orders: “Pollution-proof your skincare: the best products & tips for city-dwellers.” Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad skincare, recommends wearing SPF coverage everyday no matter the weather. He also recommends searching for products that contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators.

Until quite recently, doctors believed that a routine of antioxidants, cleansing, and barrier repair was the best defense against air pollution on skin. But now, cutting-edge research has paved the way to skincare products specifically designed to fight skin pollution. Some of these farsighted companies include Dermalogica (in cooperation with BreezoMeter), Elizabeth Arden, L’Oréal, Decléor, Kiehl’s, Clarins, and Dior.


Engage & Advise Consumers on What’s in the Air

For skincare companies, having highly accurate and location-based air quality data can change the way marketing is done. Dermalogica, for example, chose to use BreezoMeter’s air quality data in a dedicated website and app that educates consumers on which cream to wear – but more importantly when, based on current air quality levels.


Cosmetic brands are using BreezoMeter’s technology to engage and advise consumers on which cream to wear before sleep, based on consumer exposure throughout the day. Not to mention providing alerts on real-time pollution levels to minimize exposure. Moreover, providing consumers with BreezoMeter’s air quality data has been found to increase overall products sales and user engagement:

  • Since 2016 BreezoMeter has helped its clients reach more than 200,000 daily active users of their apps & products.
  • Consumers engage with their apps/products more often (2.4 times more than average).
  • Consumers spent more time on the app/product (time varies dramatically between different products, anywhere from an additional 1.52 to 24 seconds).


Getting Under the Skin of Millennials & Gen Z (in a good way)

As the generation who cares the most about sustainability and environment issues, and is ready to pay more for it, millenials appear as a promising market for 'anti-pollution' skincare. 

Today’s millennials and Gen Z also have at least one advantage over older generations regarding pollution: their skin has probably been less exposed to pollution, and these savvy young adults can begin using skincare products now that are created to keep their skin safe from the effects of skin pollution. And they can do the same for their children. At the same time, other generations can prevent more damage, and maybe even reverse some of the effects. 

There's still an important question in the air when it comes to skincare and pollution: which brands will manage to benefit from this new opportunity and win the biggest market shares, and which companies will fall behind?The next year or two should give us the beginning of an answer.

Interested in offering your consumers a solution to educate, advise, and engage them about air quality? Contact an air quality specialist today. At BreezoMeter we focus on powerful, actionable insights allowing to improve your air quality.



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