New data released by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan shows that across all areas of the capital, London now exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) quotas for air pollution levels.
While London only ranked 1389th for air pollution levels of the 3000 cities and towns tracked by WHO annually, recent media attention is raising awareness among the public.
According to WHO, exposure to these harmful air pollution particles also known as PM2.5 have been linked to heart and lung disease, with long term exposure even potentially impacting cognitive function and even causing diabetes.
According to GlobalData’s 2016 primary consumer research, the number of consumers concerned about the impact of pollution on their health and appearance was generally high in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, and India. This is unsurprising given that these regions are home to some of the most (air) polluted countries globally. In comparison, just 35% consumers in the UK shared this sentiment in the same research. Nevertheless, the growing air pollution crisis faced in the UK capital could serve to stimulate demand and create new opportunities for products which can protect from pollution.
The beauty sector is addressing this growing concern with new product launches that specifically combat pollution in urban areas. A trend originating from the pollution concerned markets of the Far East – recognition that PM2.5 particles can damage more than personal health and contribute to aging and unhealthy skin has served to inspire a wave of “anti-pollution” beauty products.
Interest in beauty trends and the innovative nature of offerings from this region, combined with heightened levels of both pollution and awareness of it in Europe, and indeed London means that these solutions are becoming increasingly relevant.
One such brand seeking to tap into this interest includes Sûrface launched in the UK this summer. This unisex anti-pollution facial and body skincare range is designed to target the “harsh environment of the city” by cleansing, protecting, and hydrating the skin.
As awareness of pollution and impact on the appearance grows, there is potential for this claim and such formulations to become as integral to skincare and beauty regimes as SPF has become.
With Europe still being a relatively under-developed market for this claim compared to that of Asia, integrating anti-pollution properties into innovation could benefit beauty players in giving them first mover advantage in a very young category.