The Five Worst Cities for Your Skin
By: Total Beauty.com (June 2009)
Before blowing your next paycheck dermatologist’s office or on pricey skin care products, take a closer look at the place you call home. We looked at pollution levels, sunshine and humidity averages, skin cancer, smoking rates, and even tanning salons per capita to determine which U.S. locales could be disastrous for your skin. Did your city make the list?
No. 5: Charleston, West Virginia
West Virginia’s capital city is also the country’s unofficial capital for tanning salons. With a staggering thirty-four tanning salons per capita, Charleston—along with being polluted and stiflingly humid (83 percent humidity on average)—is the U.S. city most addicted to those harmful “UV coffins” (a.k.a. tanning booths). Take a hint from our favorite bronzed celebs and spend the tanning dollars on some self-tanner instead: these tips will show you how to achieve their look, sans skin damage.
No. 4: Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix residents need to beware of the skin damage trifecta: Pollution, sunshine (85 percent of days are sunny annually), and dry heat (only 50 percent average humidity). Lack of humidity can cause skin to dry out, making it more likely to wrinkle, says Bank. If not properly protected, this combo could leave you with dry, deep wrinkles and a high risk of skin cancer. Sounds like Arizonans could use one of these antioxidant-rich sunscreens to protect them from skin damaging free radicals and UV rays.
No. 3: Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City residents are likely committing skin sins on a daily basis, even if they aren’t spending late nights in the clubs and casinos. The stress level and smoking rate are through the roof here, and the year-round sunshine and only 39 percent average humidity doesn’t help the good skin cause. If you call Las Vegas home, slather on an antioxidant infused moisturizing lotion and plenty of SPF daily.
No. 2: Houston, Texas
The Lone Star State’s largest city has very high ozone pollution combined with a high smoking rate and 90 percent humidity (our pores are clogging just thinking about it). And it looks like H-Town wreaks havoc on more than just skin because it also made our list of the worst hair cities.
No. 1: Bakersfield, California
The American Lung Association ranks Bakersfield as the city most polluted by year-round particle pollution. The area’s dry, stagnant weather doesn’t help matters either (nasty pollutants and no fresh, cool air to blow them away). This combined with Bakersfield’s record-high sunshine and heat makes this Cali locale a combat zone for your skin. As Dr. Kunin explains, the actual particle pollution obviously isn’t good for skin, but what’s even more damaging is when the pollution depletes the ozone layer and allows stronger, more damaging UV rays to reach us; Bakersfield is the second most ozone-polluted city.