COSMETICS: Smog Screen For the Skin

Smog Screen For the Skin

The usual selling point of skin-care products is to protect against sun, wind and weather. Now trend-alert cosmetic companies hope to wage a profitable war against an additional foe: pollution. Chanel touts the ability of its new Prevention Serum (price: $50 for 1.35 oz.) to counteract "environmental impurities." Estee Lauder's Skin Defender lotion ($45 for 0.9 oz.) promises to shield against the "onslaught of irritants from pollution." The treatments typically contain sunscreen plus ingredients designed to neutralize so-called free radicals, the highly reactive molecules found in some air pollutants.

Even so, health experts are skeptical. Says Arthur Balin, a dermatologist at...

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