Many of us who live in bustling cities love them for their fast pace and proximity to where everything’s happening. But with the perks of the metro come the pitfalls—and if you like being outside, this means a face full of pollution everyday.

While you may have safeguarded your body against its effects via a clean diet and exercise, skincare is part of healthcare, too. But where to start? Well, some digging has turned up these 6 steps that we think every anti-pollution routine needs to be super effective. Scroll for the breakdown!



Regardless of the air quality in your city, sun protection should always rank #1. Global pollution depletes the ozone layer, which leaves us all so much more vulnerable to UV rays. Too much sun exposure can cause premature skin-aging, sunburn, and (in extreme cases) skin cancer. Beyond sun rays, blue light from electronic devices is another point of concern—so be wary of those, too!

LOOK OUT FOR: Sunscreen with at least SPF30 and UV-blocking broad spectrum protection (PA+++ and above). Since pollution tends to feel like a film over our faces, it’s also best to go for options that are lightweight for maximum comfort.

TRY: Dear Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA++++, P1,200, Biore UV Perfect Spray, P385, Innisfree Daily UV Protection Cream No Sebum SPF 35, P494 (limited time only), Happy Skin Ready to Glow Anti E-Aging Liquid Foundation, P1,199


Pollutants tend to increase your skin’s sebum production, so keeping oil at bay is another priority for the pollution-exposed. Oil blots and light powders are essentials that de-slick us well, and the best part is they’re portable. Here’s to staying grease-free on the go!

LOOK OUT FOR: Highly absorbent blotting papers that refresh your skin without disturbing your base or skincare. For powders, you’ll want something silky-smooth and as finely milled as possible, to smooth out your pores without clogging them.

TRY: Leiania House of Beauty YuzuFresh Organic Face Oil Blotting Paper (80 Sheets), P120, Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder, P335 (limited time only), Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder, P599


If you’re out in the big city often, you’ll just feel how the day wears on your skin. Sweat, grime, and oil all build up over a few short hours, and you’ll be itching to double cleanse come nighttime. A good oil cleanser dissolves all surface dirt, while a water-based cleanser takes care of the rest without stripping your skin of essential moisture.

LOOK OUT FOR: Gentle, hypoallergenic cleansers that will refresh your skin without overworking it. Going low pH is also best, as you’d want to keep your complexion as balanced as possible—especially after a run-in with pollution.

TRY: Heimish All Clean Balm, P926 (limited time only), Innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Tissue, P325, Dear Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil, P1,200, COSRX Good Morning Gel Cleanser, P540 (limited time only), ACWELL pH Balancing Micro Cleansing Foam, P900


On top of cleansing, you’ll also want to exfoliate regularly to slough off accumulated dead skin cells. Depending on your skin needs, you could use a physical or chemical exfoliant (or both) at least once a week. The first comes in the form of scrubs, while the latter comes in masks, peels, or toners that are infused with gentle, skin revitalizing chemicals.

LOOK OUT FOR: Soothing, brightening ingredients like green tea and niacinamide to combat dullness and irritation, all while smoothing out your skin. Anything that can help with skin repair will also serve you well, as long as they’re non-stripping.

TRY: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea, P1,100, COSRX Green Hero Calming Pad, P900, ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Toner, P990, Some By Mi Miracle Toner, P890 (limited time only), Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask, P500


Environmental factors like weather and pollution can throw your moisture barrier out of balance. Since it’s your skin’s first line of defense against a whole host of issues, you’ll need to restore that balance with powerful hydrators to keep your skin health up.

LOOK OUT FOR: Deeply moisturizing, nourishing creams, oils, and mists that can replenish your skin’s moisture levels. Star ingredients include collagen and hyaluronic acid, essentials that will plump up your complexion with continued use.

TRY: Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream (60ml), P1,620, Huxley The Anti-Gravity Cream, P1,650, Esfolio Collagen Daily Soothing Mist, P399, COSRX One Step Moisture Up Pad, P950


Pollution’s main effect on your skin is oxidative stress, which speeds up the skin’s aging process. To treat the damage (or get ahead of it), you need to pad your routine with antioxidants and anti-agers. These help restore your glow, targeting issues like dark spots, dullness, and fine lines.

LOOK OUT FOR: Antioxidant-rich essences and serums that can deliver a potent dose of nourishment without fuss. Your skin would especially love a boost in squalene and vitamin E, as heavy pollution tends to deplete our natural reserves.

TRY: Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask, P1,410, Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum, P1,200, By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum, P1,300 (limited time only), The Ordinary “Buffet”, P1,150, The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane, P1,100

Skin ready to brave the outside world? Game face, on!

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