Removal of fine dust (Particulate Matter)
Anti-Pollution Matrix > Categories of Active Ingredients and Product Classes > Remove
> Removal of fine dust (Particulate Matter)
Fine particulate matter (PM) can come from a wide variety of sources, both natural (e.g., dust, ash, sand, pollen) and human (e.g., vehicle exhaust, smoking, waste incineration, industrial emissions). Unlike the respiratory tract, the skin is exposed to all sizes of particulate matter. Although the particles themselves do not penetrate intact skin, the substances that adhere to them do. These include toxins such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals. In the skin, they can lead to effects ranging from disruption of the skin barrier, inflammation and oxidative stress, to increased depigmentation (e.g. age spots/lentigines), skin sensitivities and premature aging, to aggravation of skin diseases such as acne, or neurodermatitis. In addition, sun exposure may exacerbate the observed toxic effects. Source and location can influence the composition and size of PMs, as well as the substances adhering to them.
The careful removal of pollutants adhering to the skin, e.g. fine dust and substances adhering to it, is an essential function of cleansing. This applies both to untreated skin and to the removal of makeup and care product residues. This can be achieved to a certain extent by using cleansing products. Specifically formulated products are recommended, preferably with proven efficacy in removing specific pollutants and evidence of an antipollution effect. Care should be taken to use gentle ingredients and formulations, such as mild surfactants, to avoid damage to the skin barrier. Products may also provide additional benefits, such as improving skin hydration or providing soothing properties and/or removing excess sebum or other properties that help maintain a healthy and intact skin barrier.
Skin care cleansing products are diverse in nature and include rinse-off, wipe-off or peel-off applications. They include traditional cleansing formats, as well as micellar waters (surfactant-containing waters), cleansing gels and creams, masks and wipes. Sometimes, electrical and non-electrical devices – with or without the use of cosmetic formulations - can also be useful to achieve a good cleansing effect (e.g. sponges, brushes, steamers).
Examples of ingredients
Surfactants, polymers, emulsifiers, oils, active ingredients, washing particles, absorbent or adsorbent substances (e.g. activated carbon).
Examples of claims
- Removes pollutants
- Reduces particle pollution
- Helps restore a healthy and radiant appearance of the skin
- Helps remove fine dust and adhering substances, reducing the negative impact on the stratum corneum
- Removes fine dust particles (e.g. PM2.5), and the percentage of removal can be expressed
Examples of evidence of efficacy / Methods
- Quantification of particle load before and after their removal from the skin (or hair)
- Skin colorimetric measurements
- Skin microscopy
- Araviiskaia E et al., The impact of airborne pollution on skin 2019; DOI: 10.1111/jdv.15583
- EPA: https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics#PM
- Krutmann, J., Luftverschmutzung und Haut 2019 Hautarzt 2019 · 70:156–157; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00105-018-4349-5
- Mehling et al, Multidimentional skin protection 2020 Personal Care Magazine, Nov: 45-50 (Multidimensional skin protection (personalcaremagazine.com)
- Peterson et al, A robust sebum, oil, and particulate pollution model for assessing cleansing efficacy of human skin 2017, https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12378
- Schikowski and Hüls, Air Pollution and Skin Aging, Current Environmental Health Reports (2020) 7:58–64 doi: 10.1007/s40572-020-00262-9
- WHO: https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/air-pollution