Complexion Capitals: What Are The Healthiest Cities for your Skin?
Lots of factors can affect the look, feel, and overall health of your skin, but how much impact does your location affect your complexion?
No matter how well you look after your skin health, plenty of other factors can affect your complexion, from UV exposure to levels of air pollution. However, these factors can vary a lot depending on where you live.
So which countries are hotspots for healthy skin? We’ve analysed 34 countries for which data was available to find out. We’ve also taken a closer look at 40 cities in the UK to find the country’s complexion capital.
Denmark and Luxembourg Complexion capital score: 7.85/10
Two countries share the top spot, with Denmark and Luxembourg both scoring 7.85 out of 10.
Denmark ranks highly across the board, especially when it comes to its low pollution levels.
The country ranks in the top five for all three pollution factors, scoring 17.4 out of 100 for its water and 17.7 out of 100 for its air pollution. It also ranks second for its low working hours too, with an annual average of 1,363 hours and places in the top ten for its temperatures with an annual average of 8.9ºC.
Luxembourg shares the top spot thanks to its ranking in the top five for five of the factors we looked at. The country scores particularly well for its low average number of hours worked, ranking third for the factor with an annual average of 1,382.
Netherlands Complexion capital score: 7.59/10
Up next, the Netherlands also has relatively low levels of pollution, scoring 17.5 out of 100 for its water pollution levels and 22.1 for its air pollution score. The country also averages 1,417 working hours per year, fewer than most countries on the list, so its workers are among the least stressed.
Austria Complexion capital score: 6.94/10
Austria completes the top three. Like the other nations on our list, Austria places highly thanks to its low pollution score, ranking first for its low water pollution with 13 out of 100 and second for its pollution index score, scoring 20.9 out of 100. The country is also one of the cleanest on the list with a dirtiness and untidiness score of 17.6 taking it to third place for the factor and one of the coldest too, with an average temperature of 7.4ºC.
The countries with…
The lowest average pollution - Estonia (17.2 out of 100)
Factors like air and water pollution, cleanliness, and comfort all affect your skin health. It exposes your skin to harmful chemicals and the stress of being in a dirty environment can lead to issues like acne, and inflammation, and even make skin age faster. When it comes to the overall level of pollution Estonia takes the top spot, scoring only 17.2 out of 100.
The lowest water pollution - Austria (13.0 out of 100)
Harmful chemicals and heavy metals like chlorine and mercury can build up in lakes and rivers from industrial waste, which often leak into the water supply. These can drastically affect the health of your skin, even in tiny amounts. Austria has the cleanest water in this sense, with a water pollution score of only 13 out of 100.
The lowest air pollution - Estonia (12.5 out of 100)
Air quality can have a drastic effect on your skin, with greater levels of air pollution exposing your skin to particulates which can leave your skin inflamed and possibly cause eczema, acne, and even skin cancers. Luckily the citizens of Estonia don’t have to worry too much about their air quality, with an air pollution score of 12.5 out of 100.
The least dirtiest & untidiness - Slovenia (14.2 out of 100)
The cleanliness of a country can also affect the health of your skin as dust in the air can clog pores and increase the level of bacteria on your skin, leading to breakouts. Slovenia is the cleanest country when it comes to land pollution, scoring 14.2 out of 100 for its dirtiness.
The lowest annual temperature - Estonia (6.3ºC)
Hotter weather can make your skin oily, leading to breakouts and leaving your skin looking greasy. So while cold weather might not be something you’d normally want, It’s the best thing for your skin. Estonia takes the top spot for this factor, with its temperature averaging 6.3ºC annually.
The least sunshine - Ireland (60 hours per month)
While we all love spending time in the sun, UV rays can be harmful to your skin if you stay out too long, and even worse if you get burnt. Ireland has the fewest hours of sunshine per month, averaging just under 60.
The lowest working hours - Germany (1,349 per year)
Stress can have a huge impact on your skin and we all know that work is often the biggest driver of stress. Germany has the lowest average working hours per year, averaging just over 1,349, so residents can enjoy a better work-life balance, and better skin too.
The fewest smokers - Costa Rica (8%)
Smoking can seriously damage your skin over time, making skin age faster and leading to wrinkles, crow's feet and an uneven complexion. Costa Rica has the lowest proportion of smokers at just 8% and prohibits smoking in public places.
Edinburgh Complexion capital score: 8.75/10
The Scottish capital takes the top spot as the best UK city for skin health, ranking highly thanks to its low work hours, averaging 35 weekly, placing it joint first for the factor. It’s also one of the coldest cities, with an average temperature of 8.3ºC, and ranks relatively high for its low number of sunlight hours (62) too.
Preston Complexion capital score: 7.99/10
Taking second place is Preston. The city in Lancashire ranks highly across the board when it comes to pollution. It placed in the top 10 for each factor, scoring 18.8 out of 100 for its water pollution, 15.6 out of 100 for its air pollution, 37.5 out of 100 for its land pollution, and topping the ranking for its overall pollution index score with 17.2 out of 100.
Glasgow Complexion capital score: 7.55/10
The second Scottish city in the top three, Glasgow, takes third place. The city ranks high thanks to its weather, as it has the lowest temperature on the list, averaging 8.1ºC annually, and the fewest average sunlight hours with a monthly average of 58. The city also averages 35 working hours a week, sharing the top spot for the factor.
The cities with…
The lowest average pollution - Preston (17.2 out of 100)
Your skin is constantly fighting against harsh chemicals in the environment, from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels to water contaminated with even tiny amounts of pollutants, and too much exposure to these harsh chemicals can damage the skin barrier. However, residents of Preston don’t have to worry too much, as the city takes the top spot when it comes to the lowest average pollution levels, scoring just 17.2 out of 100.
The lowest water pollution - Swansea (10.0 out of 100)
A city’s water quality can have a huge impact on your skin health. Acidic water for example can disrupt the ph balance of your skin, stripping away the protective layers and making it more vulnerable to breakouts. Residents of Swansea don’t have to worry too much about their water quality though, as they have the lowest level of water pollution, scoring just 10 out of 100.
The lowest air pollution - Wigan and Sunderland (12.5 out of 100)
Your skin is the first line of defence against environmental stresses like harmful chemicals in the atmosphere, and long-term exposure to these chemicals can damage your skin’s ability to protect itself, leading to breakouts. Two cities share the lowest air pollution levels, with Wigan and Sunderland both scoring 12.5 out of 100.
The lowest dirtiness and untidiness score - Cambridge (26.7 out of 100)
The general level of cleanliness in a city can impact your skin as this can increase the number of free radicals in the air, causing damage to the skin, increasing the likelihood of breakouts, and accelerating ageing. Cambridge is the cleanest city when it comes to land pollution, scoring just 26.7 out of 100.
The lowest temperature - Glasgow (8.1ºC)
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important if you want to keep your skin glowing, and cooler nights have been proven to help you sleep better, so colder temperatures are very beneficial to the skin. Glasgow has the coldest average temperature, averaging 8.1ºC annually.
The least sunshine - Glasgow (58 hours per month)
While we all need sunlight to maintain our health and well-being, spending too long in the sun can speed up your skin’s ageing process, leading to lines and wrinkles. Glasgow has the lowest average sunshine hours, averaging just 58 per month.
The lowest working hours - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool (35 hours per week)
Working fewer hours can have a huge effect on your well-being, reducing stress which can often have a drastic impact on the health of your skin. Four cities share the lowest work hours, with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool averaging 35 hours per week.
Beginning with a list of OECD countries and the biggest UK cities by population, we analysed each one on the following factors. We then gave each country and city a normalised score out of ten for each of the factors, before taking an average across each of these scores to reach our final overall score out of ten.
Pollution index score: The pollution index score out of 100 for each country according to Numbeo.
Water pollution: The water pollution index score out of 100 for each country according to Numbeo.
Air Pollution: The air pollution index score out of 100 for each country according to Numbeo.
Land pollution: The dirty and untidy index score for each country according to Numbeo.
Average monthly sunshine hours: The average monthly hours of sunshine for the city with the highest population in each country according to Climate Data.
Average temperature: The average temperature in each country according to Trading Economics.
Hours worked: The average annual hours worked in each country according to the OECD.
Smoking prevalence: the percentage of adults who smoke in each country according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory.
Pollution index score: The pollution index score out of 100 for each city according to Numbeo.
Water pollution: The water pollution index score out of 100 for each city according to Numbeo.
Air Pollution: The air pollution index score out of 100 for each city according to Numbeo.
Land pollution: The dirty and untidy index score for each city according to Numbeo.
Average monthly sunshine hours: The average monthly hours of sunshine in each city according to Climate Data.
Average temperature: The average temperature in each city according to Climate Data.
Hours worked: The average weekly hours worked in each city according to the ONS.
Data were collected on: 23/05/2023.