|Experts say the more time spent outside, the worse the skin gets, causing skin aging and various other problems. But with a proper skincare regime, such troubles can be minimized. / Korea Times file|
By Rachel Lee
Even outside of yellow dust season, Seoul's air quality is not great.
Experts say the more time spent outside, the worse the skin gets _ causing skin aging and various other problems. But with a proper skincare regime, such troubles can be minimized, they said.
According to German skin experts, the risk of having spots on the skin for those living in yellow dust were about 20 percent higher than those who did not. Ultra-fine particles also raise the possibility of developing nasolabial folds _ the deep wrinkles or lines that form from the bottom of the nose to the corners of the mouth _ by 4 percent than those living in dust free zones.
Experts say an anti-pollution skincare regime is key to protecting the skin from environmental stressors.
"Pollution causes inflammation and disrupts the skin barrier, so it is vital to choose a gentle cleanser that can help the skin recover from pollution," Sul Yoon-chae, a skin therapist at Gowayo, told The Korea Times.
It is also important to use serums that contain antioxidants to prevent the skin from potential damage every morning, the expert added.
Regardless of the skin type, whether it is dry or oily, harsh rubbing could lead to bad stretching when applying cleanser or exfoliants, experts warned.
"Applying cleanser softly from the neck and moving upward is the best way to treat your skin," Sul said.
Scalp and hair also gets affected by dust, becoming dehydrated and even leading to hair loss.
The first step for scalp care starts from through shampooing before going to bed.
"It's important to use a shampoo made of natural components, which will wash off micro dust and dirt without any stimulation," Sunny Kim, a hair stylist from Juno Hair.
Natural components help balance the scalp to maintain a healthy condition, Kim added.
"Usually wearing a hat is not recommended for those who have an unbalanced scalp, and when the level of dust is high, hair products such as hair wax and hair gel make micro-dust particles stick to hair, so it is better not to use such products."
Experts warned consumers should have an air purifier at home and office to cope with fine dust.
The air purifier market in the country has increased largely due to surging demand as consumers are becoming more concerned about their health.
The market size of air purifiers reached 1 trillion won ($888.4 million) in 2016, soaring from 300 billion won in 2013, according to the latest findings. Last year it was forecast to grow by 50 percent year-on-year to a value of 1.5 trillion won.
Manufactures saw combined sales and rentals of 1 million purifiers, double that of 2014.
The government has asked China, from which almost half of fine dust in Korea originates, to make more efforts to combat air pollution. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that officials from Seoul and Beijing met last week and discussed co-operation on environmental issues.
The move came amid mounting calls from Koreans to confront China about the deteriorating air quality.
A joint monitoring project with the Ministry of Environment and NASA concluded that about a third of the fine dust in Korea originates from China. But critics say the figure is understated, and that the amount would be more if monitoring was conducted in winter or early spring when fine dust levels spike.