Pollution, from exhaust fumes to UV rays, is a big culprit when it comes to premature skin ageing. But while your skin isn’t totally helpless – it defends itself nightly against the free radicals that form from daily pollution exposure – this never-ending cycle isn’t good for the skin.

South Korean beauty brand Hera found that when skin is overwhelmed night after night, it becomes too exhausted to restore itself. Park Seon Mi, senior researcher at Amorepacific Brand Science Lab, says the team studied skin cells carrying three days’ worth of environmental damage and found that they looked like those from an older person. Even the slightest residual damage causes skin to age faster, she says.

In its search for an anti-pollution ingredient, Hera found pyruvate. The chemical compound is found in high amounts in cell culture solutions used to keep cells alive outside the body. Pyruvate, which is also found in the body, is crucial for cell survival. It works like a battery, boosting the cell’s energy so it can function well. When it’s lacking, skin is poorly protected and ages faster.


Pyruvate’s secret lies in how quickly it’s absorbed by skin and boosts cell energy – which means less time is needed to repair pollution damage.

Further research found that the ingredient removes active oxygen by up to 90 per cent, making it a top antioxidant. It’s also an anti-ageing all-rounder – slowing down collagen degradation, encouraging cell production and keeping skin plump, so you look younger.

hera youth activating
Use it in the AM and PM, as the first serum after essence and toner.

The ingredient is the star pollution fighter in Hera’s new Youth Activating Cell Serum ($120 for 40ml; $100 for refill), helping to clear pollution damage and prevent its accumulation in skin, to keep it functioning well.

The serum also contains other Hera signature ingredients that promise to preserve, recharge and rebuild cells to strengthen skin. These help maximise cell energy for better skin repair. To complete, hyaluronic acid and collagen hydrate and firm skin, keeping the complexion looking youthful, healthy and radiant.

This article was first published in Her World’s May 2020 issue.