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Anti Pollution Skincare: Useful Tips for Your Skincare Routine

August 19, 2022

Anti pollution skincare has been a popular buzzword in the skincare industry, but what does it really entail? As a result of exposure to urban pollution, double cleansing, on its own, is generally sufficient. Sonic cleansing takes it one step further to address pollution-induced microbiome imbalances. In this article, we share an excerpt from Acne Care Bible: Dermatologist’s Tips For Acne Treatment & Prevention by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, on the topic of utilising sonic cleansing technology as anti pollution skincare.

Acne Care Bible, anti pollution skincare excerpy
Dr. Teo Wan Lin’s e-book Acne Care Bible: Dermatologist’s Tips For Acne Treatment & Prevention is available on Amazon.

There has been a study¹ done in polluted Chinese cities which demonstrates that the skin microbiome changes as a result of exposure to pollutants. Skin aging is also impacted by exposure to environmental pollutants.

Sonic cleansing as anti pollution skincare

Sonic cleansing technology is developed and applied to skincare devices, and can specifically aid in the treatment of acne and maskne because of its benefits in restoring microbiome balance. The use of sonic cleansing devices is also especially relevant when it comes to anti pollution skincare, as it helps to dislodge microparticulate PM 2.5 matter that settles on skin.

Studies that have been performed on the utility of sonic cleansing in acne show that there is a significant benefit in incorporating a well designed sonic cleansing device in your skincare regimen. This is as opposed to just using manual cleansing procedures, with or without skin cleansing products. The importance of understanding sonic cleansing is in the improved removal of particulate matter, which directly correlates to microbiome imbalances.

Sonic cleansing for anti pollution skincare
A minimalist ultrasonic sonic facial cleanser for anti pollution skincare recommended for use for all skin types, includes dry sensitive skin, combination and oily skin.

A well designed sonic cleansing device is able to address the removal of excess dirt, sebum and debris. It is also a safe and effective method to improve the skin microbiome for various dermatological conditions, improving transepidermal water loss and maintaining the skin barrier. The additional benefit of removing environmental pollutants as anti pollution skincare will also affect skin aging. 

Ideal sonic cleanser

The ideal sonic cleansing device can also support hydration and skin barrier function in skin models, which were tested for sebum oil and particulate pollution model after a real life scenario. Studies were consistently able to demonstrate a significant benefit compared to just manual cleansing alone on makeup removal models. For example, in a split-face study on 22 patients. There was great improvement on the side treated with a sonic brush in terms of appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and increased absorption2.

In a study done by Caberlotto et al on skin models, it demonstrated that there was increased synthesis of proteins that support the skin structure when sonic technology was applied3 . How sonic cleansers work is that it essentially uses the skin’s elastic properties by applying an ideal amplitude and frequency to efficiently remove dirt and debris. Inflammatory skin conditions, including acne, perioral dermatitis and rosacea can benefit from the use of a sonic cleansing device.

Anti pollution skincare - Blade style sonic cleanser
The Blade Style Sonic Cleanser is modeled after the original korean sonic cleanser used in dermatology clinics. Dermatologist-recommended facial cleansing device for all skin types. Dual function sonic cleansing and antioxidant infusion treatment with single mode.

Maintaining skin health with anti pollution skincare

Microbial imbalances cause not just skin infections but also pigmentation problems. Skin pigmentation is linked to melanocyte activity. Melanocytes are skin cells that produce melanin, a type of pigment in the skin. It has been shown that P. acnes is associated with a condition of hyperpigmentation known as progressive macular hypomelanosis. 

We know that it is important to maintain not just the healthy microbial load, but also a diversity of these germs in order for our skin to maintain health. This is a state we would consider as skin microbiome homeostasis. Topical skincare is the first line management of microbial dysbiosis. Importantly, cleansers that are pH balanced, close to that of the skin’s natural pH 5.5 is a good recommendation as the basis for any anti pollution skincare routine. Including probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics in your diet is another way that can be used to treat and prevent dermatological diseases, such as eczema or acne.

@drteowanlin Plant-based Microbiome Skincare Build the ideal tailored skincare regimen based on the latest in microbiome research, from the expert herself. Includes never-before published office tips to improve or maintain beautiful, clear skin. Complete with easy to follow flowcharts that allow you to customize the perfect beauty regimen according to your age, lifestyle and schedule. Learn how to skin cycle without retinols or acids, but with whole plant actives for universal tolerability. 👆 Dermatologist skincare Singapore Dermatologist recommended skincare Best dermatologist skincare Singapore #MemeCut #Meme #plantbased #veganskincare #skincareroutine #skincareactives #skincareactives101 #skincareingredients #skincareingredient #singaporedoctor #dermatologist #singaporedoctors #skincare ♬ original sound – Dr.TWL Dermatologist

It is important to understand that the skin is also influenced by your diet. Plant-based foods and supplements have been proven to be a form of prebiotic which can affect the skin bacteria balance. As a result, diet also constitutes an important element to the outcome of anti pollution skincare. In conclusion, this good microbiome is an area of emerging research. Ecobiology is an important perspective, to help dermatologists discover new treatment options to maintain a healthy skin microenvironment.

anti pollution skincare - eating balanced, plant-based meals

The importance of the skin microbiome

In a 2016 publication on cutaneous medicine and surgery, researchers found that the host immune system also affects the skin microbiota4. These skin microbiota, in turn, also affect the skin’s immune system. Individuals with immunodeficiency syndrome syndromes, which are inherited, have a different variety of skin microbiome. These individuals suffer from a type of dermatitis that resembles atopic dermatitis or eczema and have a greater risk of acquiring skin infections.

Additionally, there are certain interesting factors that are related to the skin microbiome such as body odor, which is affected by the presence of microorganisms on your skin. There is research showing that increased bacteria and reduced diversity of the bacteria on your skin is associated with increased attractiveness to mosquitoes. So, it potentially is a preventive measure for diseases that are mosquito borne, such as dengue fever.

The common skin disease that’s affected by the skin bacterial load is atopic dermatitis, which in the US for example, affects up to 15% of school-going children. We know that S. aureus colonization is a problem associated with atopic dermatitis. That is why bleach baths and oral antibiotics are recommended for effective treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Treating microbial imbalances in the skin

There is early evidence that ingested probiotics and prebiotics may offer benefits in preventing and reducing the severity of atopic dermatitis. Additionally, it’s important to note that low diversity in your gut bacteria in your early infancy is also associated with development of atopic dermatitis later on in life.

Furthermore, sonic cleansing is a form of therapy that has been incorporated into home use devices. This method of cleansing has been shown in a few clinical studies to improve the skin microbiome when used in conjunction with a gentle cleanser. It is also indicated for treatment of conditions such as acne. Additionally, it can also be applied appropriately to patients who have perioral dermatitis. Acne, in particular, is one condition that can be improved with sonic cleansing. Collectively, good cleansing methods are an integral part of any anti pollution skincare routine.


[1] Kong, H. H., Oh, J., Deming, C., Conlan, S., Grice, E. A., Beatson, M. A., Nomicos, E., Polley, E. C., Komarow, H. D., NISC Comparative Sequence Program, Murray, P. R., Turner, M. L., & Segre, J. A. (2012). Temporal shifts in the skin microbiome associated with disease flares and treatment in children with atopic dermatitis. Genome research, 22(5), 850–859.

[2] Wang, L., Xu, Y. N., Chu, C. C., Jing, Z., Chen, Y., Zhang, J., Pu, M., Mi, T., Du, Y., Liang, Z., Doraiswamy, C., Zeng, T., Wu, J., & Chen, L. (2021). Facial Skin Microbiota-Mediated Host Response to Pollution Stress Revealed by Microbiome Networks of Individual. mSystems, 6(4), e0031921.

[3] Caberlotto, E., Ruiz, L., Miller, Z., Poletti, M., & Tadlock, L. (2017). Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles. PloS one, 12(3), e0172624.

[4] Lynde, C. W., Andriessen, A., Bertucci, V., McCuaig, C., Skotnicki, S., Weinstein, M., … & Zip, C. (2016). The skin microbiome in atopic dermatitis and its relationship to emollients. Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 20(1), 21-28.

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