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doctor discusses skin threats you might not think about

As the temperatures rise and people venture outdoors, it’s important to consider the risks that can affect our skin, including those that may not immediately come to mind.


Shadi Kourosh, the Director of Dermatology for the Community Health Program at Mass General Brigham, sheds light on the impact of pollution on our skin and the measures we can take to protect ourselves.

While protecting our skin from the sun is commonly emphasized, it is crucial to recognize that certain pollutants can also contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.

There are two main categories of pollutants: gases such as nitrous oxide and ozone, which are part of environmental pollution, and the chemical reactions that occur when these substances are exposed to heat and sunlight.

These airborne pollutants can deposit on our skin, corrode the skin barrier, and cause DNA damage that leads to skin cancers and premature aging.

Determining the exact amount of exposure that is dangerous is challenging, as different individuals have varying levels of tolerance for skin damage.

Ideally, we should strive for zero pollution exposure on our skin.

To achieve this, it is essential to establish a robust protective regimen.

This includes using cleansers that effectively remove pollution deposits from our skin, especially at nighttime, as well as implementing a skincare routine that incorporates antioxidants and mineral-based sunscreens.

Mineral-based sunscreens, containing active ingredients like zinc and titanium, offer comprehensive protection against not only ultraviolet radiation but also light, heat, and pollution.

Unlike chemical-based sunscreens that solely focus on UV protection, mineral-based sunscreens are more effective in reducing the impact of pollution.

Applying a thick layer of mineral sunscreen throughout the day is crucial to safeguard our skin.

It is important to read labels carefully when choosing skincare products and sunscreens to ensure they contain the necessary ingredients for adequate protection.

By adopting these measures, individuals can minimize the detrimental effects of pollution on their skin and promote overall skin health.


Shadi Kourosh’s insights serve as a reminder that while we are mindful of protecting our skin from the sun’s rays, addressing the impact of pollutants is equally essential for maintaining healthy skin.

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