The 5 Best Anti-Pollution Masks

By Marissa DeSantis
Bustle/Amazon

Everyone has their own list of skin concerns, but there are some things that affect us all. Sun exposure is a common example of this, but a less obvious culprit that's completely unavoidable is air pollution (think automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, and smog). The good news is that with continued research, the impact pollution has on skin is better understood, leading to more products being developed that counteract and protect against its effects. Daily serums and creams that shield skin from pollutants are one way to help, but incorporating one of the best anti-pollution masks into your weekly routine is another great measure to take.

Just like with any other type of face mask, pollution-fighting formulas can be found in a range of styles, from sheet masks to clay masks. The delivery method is totally up to your own personal preferences since the real impact here comes down to ingredients. Air pollution negatively affects the skin in all kinds of ways in the long run, from decreased collagen production to even exacerbating skin conditions like dermatitis. Because of this, you'll want a mask that pulls out toxins and pollutants, and, ideally, one that also includes antioxidant ingredients to protect skin from future damage.

To keep your skin healthy and clear, here are five of the best anti-pollution masks to try now.

1. Best Anti-Pollution Clay Mask

For a classic clay mask that you can kick back and relax with, try the L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Mask. This drugstore pick is formulated with charcoal powder, kaolin, and Moroccan lava clay to draw out pollutants as well as trapped dirt and oil from pores. It also contains rice starch, which provides the skin with antioxidants like vitamins C and A to minimize free-radical damage caused by pollution. Because of its combination of oil-absorbing ingredients, it's also a particularly great option for anyone with oily and/or acne-prone skin.

2. Best Anti-Pollution Sheet Mask

Not only do sheet masks feel especially refreshing on skin (particularly when kept in the fridge), but they're also perfect for traveling. The Pacifica Beauty Pollution Fight Facial Mask is a single-use fiber sheet mask that nourishes skin as it draws out pollutants. The key ingredients here are a blend of marine botanicals, including blue algae, chlorella, and kelp, which work to detox skin, counteract the effects of free radicals, and strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier. The formula also contains a few other nourishing ingredients, like chia seed extract and banana fruit extract, plus heavy-duty antioxidants like vitamin C and green tea, which help brighten and even out skin. Plus, like all of the brand's products, this sheet mask is vegan, cruelty-free, and made without most common chemical irritants.

3. Best Anti-Pollution Bubbling Mask

There's something so satisfying about a bubbling mask, like this one from Yes To Tomatoes, especially when removing toxins is the goal. The gentle, fizzing effect makes it feel like it's really working to deep clean and draw out pollutants from skin, but let's face it: it's also just satisfyingly fun. In addition to detoxifying charcoal power, the mask also contains several ingredients that are loaded with antioxidants like tomato fruit extract (hence the name), orange peel extract, and sunflower seed oil, to help strengthen skin and heal the effects caused by free radicals. Yes To is also vegan and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, in addition to being formulated without parabens, SLS, and silicones.

4. Best Anti-Pollution Soothing Mask

For an option that concentrates on soothing ingredients as much as it does on anti-pollution ones, try The Body Shop's Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask. Matcha green tea from Japan is the main multitasking ingredient here, which purifies skin and gently exfoliates to help dislodge trapped pollutants from pores. Green tea also has natural anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness. To further soothe skin, The Body Shop included ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and dandelion root extract in this formula, which all nourish skin while providing it with pollution-combatting antioxidants. This mask is also another vegan and cruelty-free option that doesn't include potentially irritating silicones, mineral oil, or paraffins.

5. Best Anti-Pollution Day Mask

This Allies Of Skin 1A All-Day Pollution Repair Mask is a bit of a splurge, but it doesn't work like your typical "apply and wash off after 10-minutes" mask. Instead, Allies Of Skin created a leave-on formula that acts like a shield to protect your face and neck from pollution all day long. Suitable for all skin types, the mask uses an impressive list of active ingredients to protect skin cells from free-radical damage. In this formula, a blend of antioxidants and ceramides strengthen the skin's protective barrier and help repair damage. Meanwhile, vitamin C — another antioxidant-rich ingredient — helps brighten and even out skin. Finally, hyaluronic acid hydrates skin to leave it moisturized, balanced, and soft.

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