A new study – presented at the 28th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress – exposed cells from the human scalp to various concentrations of ambient particulate matter, or air pollution, like fine dust and diesel particulate.
Results showed that the presence air pollution reduced levels ofβ-catenin – the protein responsible for hair growth and retention. The more pollutants the cells were exposed to, the bigger this impact seemed to be.
“While the link between air pollution and serious diseases such as cancer, COPD and CVD are well established there is little to no research on the effect of particular matter exposure on the human skin and hair in particular," Lead researcher, Hyuk Chul Kwon from the Future Science Research Centre in the Republic of Korea, said.
"Our research explains the mode of action of air pollutants on human follicle dermal papilla cells, showing how the most common air pollutants lead to hair loss”.
Researchers say that further population-based research is needed to understand how exposure affects people day-to-day. Although it can be hard to avoid air pollution, there are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure. Ensure your home is well ventilated, try to limit exercise in high-traffic areas, and limit transit during peak hour.