Salvation for city skin from Annee de Mamiel
Staying with friends in the Pyrenees recently, I was astonished by the visible improvement to my skin brought about by the pure mountain air. The contrast clearly demonstrated the effect pollution has on our largest organ – a long-standing concern for natural skincare expert Annee de Mamiel. Now, Annee, who is qualified in Chinese medicine and aromatherapy, is launching her new Atmosphériques collection to combat the damage caused by environmental pollutants, particularly in urban areas and offices. ‘Even on the way to work, skin is attacked by dirt, dust and diesel particles, which can clog the pores and leave a film of impurities,’ says Annee. ‘This interferes with the skin’s ability to regulate moisture levels.’ When this debris interacts with UV rays it can heighten skin damage. Recent research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology demonstrates the link between traffic-relatedair pollution and skin ageing – in particular, increased pigmentation and dark spots.
The impetus behind creating Atmosphériques came from Annee’s belief – based on her experience and extensive research – that using skin products containing synthetic chemicals and mineral oils can make the problem worse. ‘They can impair the skin’s ability to breathe and repair itself. The result is that skin gets congested, inflamed and sensitive, which can lead to common woes such as dullness, dryness, redness and lines – as well as adult acne,’ says Annee.
The assault on your skin does not stop inside the office. ‘Damaging particles can circulate through air conditioning and heat systems,’ says Annee. ‘Also, screens of any size and mobile phones emit high energy visible light [or blue light], which may penetrate deeper levels of the skin and cause damage.’
So, apart from moving to the mountains, what can you do to protect your skin? Here are Annee’s suggestions:
● Apply an antioxidant-rich serum each morning – look for one containing superoxide dismutase or oryzanol, which is rich in ferulic acid.
● Eat fresh or frozen red and purple berries – such as blueberries and goji berries – daily. Also consume stone fruits, nuts and seeds.
● Apply an SPF 30 on face and hands before going out. Reapply at lunchtime in the summer. If you are wearing foundation, top up with a mineral powder sunscreen.
● Buy a hands-free earpiece for your mobile phone to avoid holding the screen directly against your face.
● Turn down screen brightness to reduce the blue light.
Annee de Mamiel Atmosphériques Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir (£80 at victoriahealth.com and demamiel.com) contains superoxide dismutase, ferulic acid and the mineral malachite – all potent antioxidants. Also, marine samphire helps cell renewal, plus hyaluronic acid and ceramides increase hydration. Costly, but you need only two or three drops daily so it lasts a long time.
It is not just your skin that suffers from the assault of polluting particles in offices. Friends say noses get stuffy, eyes feel sore, allergies increase and infections abound. One helpful option is to invest in a portable air purifying system. Annee de Mamiel recommends two brands which are also suitable for home use. Philips 3000 Series Air Purifier Anti-Allergen With NanoProtect Filter/£390 at philips.co.uk) claims to capture 99 per cent of bacteria in one hour and removes 99 per cent of airborne particles, eg, dust, pet hair and pollen. The Dyson Pure Cool Link (from £349.99 for the desk size at dyson.co.uk) performs similarly, claiming to remove 99.95 per cent of allergens and pollutants. It also has a fan and can be remotely controlled from your Dyson Link app. 'If you have acne or blemished skin, always wash your hands before applying make-up with your fingers,’ says London-based aesthetic skin therapist Jasmina Vico. If you’re on a train or bus, use a hand sanitiser first (e.g. Dr Bronner’s Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer/£2.99 at drbronner.co.uk) and always ensure that cosmetic sponges or brushes are clean.