What Does Pollution Have to do With my Skincare?

Almost everyone who has looked in a mirror has wished at one time or another that their skin looked better. Though most men seem to think that skin care stops when their teenage acne goes away, we’re not most men. We know that skin is our largest organ and one of the easiest ways to do a quick evaluation of our health. We know that using natural soaps with ingredients like pine tar and glycerin can keep our skin feeling supple and smooth, without sacrificing cleanliness. We even do our best to protect our skin from UV light, by using a daily sunscreen.

If you know all this, you’re ahead of 99% of the competition, but did you know the air itself could be impacting your skin health?

The air???

Yep. Since the Industrial Revolution, mankind has been pumping smoke, ash, radioactive steam, and chemical waste directly into the atmosphere. While no one source of pollution is entirely responsible for affecting your skin, the combined pollution results in air quality that exceeds WHO standards for safe air.

The vast majority of people live in regions that suffer from pollution above WHO guidelines, and research indicates that chronic exposure to these levels of pollution can have negative effects on your skin health.

What kind of pollution?

The compounds responsible for these effects are many and varied, but the most common pollutants include volatile organic compounds, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and more. Sources of these compounds are common, such as vehicle exhaust, power plants, and even small sources like cigarette smoke. Regular exposure to these sources can cause early aging, as well as cancers such as melanoma.

In addition to those long-term problems, pollutants can also cause chronic skin conditions throughout your life, such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

How does the air quality affect my skin? I don’t breathe with my pores!

The exact mechanism can depend on the pollutant, but in general these compounds disrupt the normal physiology of your skin. In healthy people, skin protects the rest of their body from infection and helps keep the body in balance through functions like sweat and excretion. The skin can protect you from harmful bacteria not only by providing a physical barrier to prevent bacteria from entering your body, but it hosts a complex ecosystem of good bacteria that also protects you from infection.

Pollution disrupts this process in several ways. It can cause a drying of the skin, which in turn compromises its ability to adequately maintain itself. If you have ever had skin that gets flaky or cracked during winter, you may have experienced this effect. The cold air dries out your skin, which results in skin breakdown. Additionally, dry skin can lose some of the helpful bacteria that protect you from harmful infections. Harmful pollutants can also kill the good bacteria directly, which, in turn, compromises your ability to fight off harmful bacteria that finds a way onto your skin.

Can’t I just use lotion?

Lotion definitely helps, and we recommend using it, but pollution can also irritate the skin directly, as is the case with contact dermatitis. This occurs when the skin is exposed to substances that cause an immune response. This reaction varies between individuals. Some may have little to no reaction to a substance, while exhibiting severe reactions to another. People with conditions like asthma may find themselves more vulnerable to contact reactions from pollutants and struggle with related skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.

These conditions are an overreaction of your immune system to exposure from pollutants. While these conditions can be managed, the only way to avoid them entirely would be to avoid substances that trigger the reactions.

As pollution increases, these skin conditions become much more common, as our immune systems react to harmful substances that pervade the atmosphere. Packer’s Pine helps countless people manage these conditions. Pine tar soap is a traditional remedy for dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. Using pine tar body wash can protect your skin from the harmful effects of pollution and promote skin healing.

Pine tar soap is unique in that it offers natural relief for the itching and irritation caused by common skin conditions, while keeping skin hydrated and ready to protect you. Our pine tar products are made with a traditional formula derived from all-natural pine tar.

Not only do we make our products from the forests, we do our best to keep the forests where they are. Our giveback program supports the National Forest Foundation and One Tree Planted, each of which is dedicated to preserving and expanding forest habitats throughout the world.

With enough support, we may even have enough trees to tackle the air quality across the globe! At that point, we can forget about protecting our skin from pollution and appreciate Packer’s Pine solely for its fragrant, rugged scent and delightfully hydrating feel. Stay clean, friends.


Many have gazed into mirrors, wishing for better skin. While many men believe skincare ends after overcoming teenage acne, we stand apart from the majority. We understand that our skin, being the most extensive organ, serves as a straightforward gauge for quickly assessing our overall health. But did you realize that the air itself can influence your skin's health?

4 Effects of Air Pollution on Skincare Infographic


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