What's driving Anti-pollution in Skincare & How will the Coronavirus impact the anti-pollution trend?

When you purchase your skincare products, is anti-pollution something you think about? Or are you a creature of habit; you’ve used the same skincare regime for years; your skin loves it and you’re not willing to risk changing that.

We can all certainly relate to that, but as innovators and researchers at Design Plus, more and more frequently we hear the term anti-pollution and see ingredients that feed into that trend. In fact, for a while now our expert scientists have been using these ingredients and enhancing our innovations and we’re about to tell you why.

The demand for anti-pollution beauty products is soaring due to the three main type of pollutants that can have an impact on your complexion. First, there’s atmospheric pollution such as carbon and fine microscopic particles, then there’s UV and blue light pollution emitted from our screens and finally domestic pollution, which is more commonly known as the chemical substances in our household cleaning products. As both a researcher and manufacturer, we have seen a growing trend towards skincare designed to combat these.

In fact, according to the Guardian online, department store Liberty, online searched for anti-pollution skincare are up 73% since this time last year. Furthermore, online retailer Cult Beauty, has seen a significant rise in searches for anti-pollution products including a 1000% growth for Dr Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Pollution drops. The product is marketed as a booster serum which is designed to mix with a moisturiser and is priced at £105. Co-founder of the online retailer, Alexi Inge, said: “People are only just starting to understand that pollution is everywhere: not just in the toxic broth of the city but in your home, in the air [and] in the water. The beauty industry has been talking about its a while, and now customers are [starting] to catch up.”

That said, it’s worth exploring the types of anti-pollution products. Some products may only physically shield the skin from pollution, whilst others will help to remove harmful nanoparticles. Since most facial masks are washed off within 10-20 minutes of application, it’s possible to question their benefits beyond just deeply cleansing. Although a mask treatment can do a great job at removing some of the toxins from the skin and provide a healthy boost, once removed, the skin can be fully exposed again, so ideally for anti-pollution protection you need a product much like sunscreen; a leave on product.

According to an article on Frontiers in Environmental Science, “exposure of the skin to air pollutants has been associated with skin ageing and inflammatory or allergic skin conditions… the protective ability of the skin is not unlimited, and problems arise when an abnormal exposure to environmental stressors exceeds the skin’s normal defensive potential. (Valacchi et al., 2012).

The problem is that the trend itself is somewhat a slow burner… In reality we all know and understand pollution, but as consumers do we really understand the potential risk of pollutants and the effects on the skin? Unfortunately, many of us will answer no to that question and whilst this also links to Mintel’s beauty and brain trend, (a trend where brands show the science behind the product) what can we do as manufacturers to help both brands and consumers tackle anti-pollution?

At Design Plus Health & Beauty we’ve been utilising various anti-pollution actives and incorporating them into new product innovations. We have rounded up a few of our favourites:

*All information is taken from the manufacturers marketing sheets.

Preparami from Prickly Pear (Alban Muller - Jan. 2018)

An anti-stress and anti-pollution active that preserves skin youth. Not only is it derived from the very much on trend prickly pear, it’s 100% natural. Some of its benefits include:

  • Preparing the skin better to fight external aggression's such as stress and pollution
  • Reduces cell ageing and preserves skin youth
  • Repairs, by activating skin repairing factors

Ideal for leave on products such as anti-ageing and anti-pollution day creams, paired with superfruit prickly pear extracts, to entice the consumer with on trend ingredients and marketing.


Marine Bamboo (Odycea)

A marine plant derived from Himanthaliaelongata. Resembling a brown seaweed, more than 3 meters long rising above the seabed much like bamboo rises from the earth. The marine plant protects the skin from an array of external aggressors such as pollution, IR and blue light offering a well-rounded protection system. Data suggests improvements in firmness, tonicity and skin brightness.

What’s nice about this ingredient is that consumers are already familiar with algae and marine ingredients in skincare products. The Aglenist does this particularly well formulating all products using microalgae technology. By calling out a marine based anti-pollutant product, you provide the guest with some familiarity.

EnergiNius (GatteFosse)

An active with protects skin cells from screen-emitted artificial visible light, an added environmental stress induce by a modern lifestyle. i.e. Your phone, your computer, your iPad.

Derived from Indian Ginseng roots, EnergiNius protects the skin from screen-emitted light, fights against digital pollution and restores skin vitality. The skin is visibly revived, and signs of fatigue caused by blue light pollution, disappears in favour of a healthy glow.

Combined with watermelon extracts, Design Plus formulated an overnight glow, sleeping mask, which helps to rejuvenate and protect the skin overnight. Ideal for daily protective creams and night treatments, EnergiNius can be combined with a multitude of attractive extracts and actives to develop desirable anti-pollution products.


Now more than ever, anti-pollution will become more relevant, whilst consumers become more concerned with environmental stressors. According to WGSN, driven by the Coronavirus, increased health and cleanliness concerns mean that consumers are looking for products which provide greater protection and hygiene. As consumers ourselves, we’ve already seen an increase in the purchasing of soaps, and hand sanitizers, but we’ll also see this mindset shift over into other categories. WGSN predicts that consumers will develop a greater obsession around air quality, pollution and blue light protection, as more people work from home and communicate online.


Design Plus work with many of our customers on a full-service manufacture process, helping to launch new product ranges and enter the market with innovative and high-quality products.

If you would like Design Plus to help you formulate anti-pollution skin care products, please get in touch with our sales team. Either contact your account manager direct or use the contact form on our website.