That's right—air pollution could be doing a number on your complexion. Here’s the latest on how to fight back.

By Daley Quinn • Photography Sonja Pacho • Illustrations Oksana Badrak

There’s a sneaky skin saboteur you encounter daily, and it’s pretty potent. “Pollution creates free radicals in the atmosphere, which can literally poke holes in collagen and destroy the outer layer of skin,” says NYC dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. The result: Signs of aging—like fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration—show up sooner and are more pronounced. Poor air quality can also exacerbate inflammation, causing acne, rosacea, eczema and even hives.

Take preventive measures by washing your face in the morning and at night with a gentle, detoxifying cleanser, suggests Henry. For a little extra cleansing, exfoliate once or twice a week with a mild scrub.

Next, shield your face from free radical damage with protective ingredients. Antioxidant-rich serums, facial oils or mists with vitamins C and E, grapeseed oil, green and white tea or argan oil should be applied daily, suggests Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist who’s known for her nature-meets-technology approach. Look for moisturizers with barrier blockers, like glycerin, ceramides and niacinamide, to prevent particles from penetrating your skin.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Detox Cleanser, $12

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, $18 to $58

Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque, $32

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer, $20

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Skin Revitalizer Serum + Moisturizer, $25

Lumene Sisu Recover & Protect Facial Oil, $30

Ren Clean Skincare Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, $38