What You Need To Know About Wildfires, How They Cause Skin Damage, and How To Protect Yourself

By October 12, 2020No Comments

California’s wildfires have devastated the state. Although it’s a problem that happens every year during wildfire season, recent years have had record-breaking numbers and levels of wildfires. Beyond the environmental consequences and impacts on people’s lives, wildfires can actually cause skin damage even if you are far from the fire itself. 

As we navigate this difficult time in California, taking care of our skin and our health is more important than ever. With hotter temperatures, more destructive fires, and the worst air quality in decades, taking care of every area of your health matters. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the skin damage wildfires can cause, and how to prevent that damage from happening whenever possible. Let’s get started.

Wildfires Affect Overall Health

So how do wildfires affect your overall health? Wildfire smoke is completely filled with pollutants, which taint the air quality of the area. One of the most dangerous pollutants is particle pollution. These particles are extremely small, which makes them dangerous to inhale because they lodge themselves deep into the lungs.

The particles in wildfires can cause heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, chronic heart, and lung diseases. People are experiencing coughing, wheezing, colds, bronchitis, and they are having to see a doctor for respiratory problems. Another toxic ingredient in wildfire smoke is carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas affecting those in close proximity to the wildfires.

These wildfires aren’t only affecting physical health. The residents in California are experiencing a decline in their mental health due to stress and anxiety surrounding the wildfires. People are closing their windows and doors and keeping their families holed up inside for weeks to protect themselves. Some people are missing, and others are being evacuated from their homes, forced to leave everything they know.

How Wildfires Affect Your Skin

Wildfire smoke damages your skin just like air pollution. Particles of smoke in the air can settle in your skin, leading to damage and premature aging. Your skin actually absorbs so much more smoke and other pollutants than you might realize. 

Smoke and Ash Cause Several Problems 

There are lots of negative impacts from smoke and ash from California’s wildfires. These pollutants clog your pores as smoke settles on your skin, potentially triggering breakouts. Smoke also dries out your skin because the air becomes so dry—when your skin is dry, it can feel itchy, ashy, and dull, and this can lead to more breakouts because your skin is overproducing oil to combat the dryness. 

Wildfires also damage your collagen. Collagen is the protein that helps keep your skin elastic, youthful, and firm, so smoke and ash settling into your skin increase your risk of prematurely developing fine lines and wrinkles. When a wildfire’s smoke damages your skin’s collagen, wrinkles will naturally begin to form on your face. 

The other major problem from smoke and ash is inflammation. When your skin becomes inflamed, your risk of acne, rosacea and eczema flare-ups, and other redness and irritation increases. 

How Excess Heat Affects Skin

Skin damage from the wildfires goes beyond smoke and ash in the air. The excess heat also negatively impacts your skin. High temperatures let moisture escape your skin through sweat, leaving you dryer. This can lead to the terrible overproduction of oil that leads to breakouts. It’s also a double-edged sword because as you sweat in high heat environments, the sweat mixes with dirt and bacteria on your skin, leading to even more breakouts. 

If you have sensitive skin, heat increases your risk of heat rash and other irritating rashes to show up. This can happen on your face and on other areas of your skin. 

How To Prevent Skin Damage During Wildfires

Taking care of your skin and working to prevent damage is more important than ever during these tragic wildfires. Here are some of the best ways to prevent skin damage.

Wash Your Face

Washing your face is always important for taking care of your skin. However, during a wildfire, you have to clean the dirt, dust, and other pollutants before they clog your pores and cause things like acne and heat rashes. If you’re in a high heat environment, washing your face more than once is a good idea. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser to avoid stripping your skin. The HD Gentle Creamy Cleanser is an amazing product that will help soothe and nourish your skin! 

Make Sure To Hydrate

Water helps your health in every way, especially your skin. Boosting the amount of water you drink will help keep your skin happy, healthy, and hydrated. Water also helps eliminate toxins in your skin, alleviating the effects of the wildfires by flushing out those harmful pollutants. During the wildfires, with more drying environments, heat, and pollutants, getting enough water is more important than ever. 

Avoid The Smoke

Make sure to avoid the smoke as much as possible. If there are wildfires happening near you, try to stay indoors and limit your exposure. You can also consider investing in an air purifier, which will help keep the air inside your home cleaner to protect your health and your skin. 

Clean Pores

If you do have to be outside, you’re going to be exposed to smoke. This means it’s super important to clean your skin thoroughly after being outside. To help clean the soot, smoke, and ash particles from your pores, use a gently creamy cleanser. Using a gentle cleanser helps you avoid drying or stripping your skin. Then, you can follow up with a face mask to help draw out impurities and toxins from your pores. Clay masks are really effective at drawing out impurities from your skin.

Another important step to add to your routine during the wildfires is exfoliation. Exfoliating your skin will slough off the surface layer, getting rid of the smoke and pollutants in those pores. Be sure to avoid using a harsh exfoliant scrub since they increase inflammation and irritation. Instead, use gentle exfoliants or skin brushes to help boost your circulation and clean out your pores.   


With all of the skin damage wildfires can cause, you might need to upgrade to a more nourishing and deeper moisturizer. Smoke dries out your skin, so adding extra moisture is essential. You can add a hydrating skin mask or a thick layer of a nourishing, gentle, and intense moisturizer. Consider using moisturizer more frequently throughout the day, especially if you do end up needing to wash your face more than once. We highly recommend the HD Clarifying Moisturizer! It’s filled with amazing and powerful ingredients that will help address acne and oil while hydrating your skin.

Preventing skin damage from wildfires is really important to feeling and looking your best. In these devastating times, remember to take care of every area of your health. Staying healthy during California’s wildfires is about so much more than what’s happening on the inside. Your skin might seem like a small concern, but the lasting impacts of the fires are worth preventing. Make sure to pay attention to how your skin might be exposed so that you can make changes to your skincare routine as necessary.

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