Does air pollution cause hair loss? How can we protect our hair?
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2020-02-28
Does air pollution cause hair loss? Actually, the relation between pollution and hair loss has not always been clear. The presence of polluting particles in the air has been clearly related to respiratory diseases such as asthma or allergies, and of course it may cause several types of cancer; however, until recent times its effects on skin and hair were not well known.
Many people interested in the hair transplant cost in Turkey also wonder about a possible relation between contamination and hair fall out. Now, new scientific studies have shed light on the direct relationship between the exposure to contamination and hair loss. Let's see how this happens.
How does pollution affect hair?
Both skin and hair are the first barriers that our body has against environmental pollution. Airborne contaminant particles and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), produced by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, organic matter, and so on) and also by asphalt, cause damage and irritation from oxidative stress due to the increase of oxygen free radicals.
More and more investigations carried out in the last years confirm these side effects of contamination in our hair, and a very recent one explains clearly how air pollutants cause directly hair loss. Let´s take a look on it.
Air pollution causes hair loss, research suggests
A scientific study about the relation between pollution and hair loss carried out by experts from the Future Science Research Centre in South Korea, whose conclusions were revealed in October 2019 during the 28th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress in Madrid, clearly confirm that air pollutants affect hair growth and directly cause hair loss.
During the investigation, South Korean scientists exposed scalp cells -called Human Follicle Dermal Papilla Cells, or HFDPC- to various types of PM10 particles concentrations, as well to particles coming from diesel combustion.
The results clearly showed that the presence of both pollutants caused a decrease in beta-catenin levels, a protein responsible for hair growth and hair shaping; in addition, a decrease in levels of cyclin D1, cyclin E and CDK2 proteins -which are responsible for hair growth and hair retention- was also detected. That is, the more pollutants in the air, the less proteins levels and therefore... the greater hair loss occurs.
What are the consequences?
Then, can environmental factors cause hair loss? Can pollution cause hair loss? As we have just seen, the answer is clear: yes!! Air pollution has a direct effect on the health of the scalp and hair follicles. In fact, studies have shown that this hair loss can be similar even to that caused by male-pattern hair loss, or trigger other pathologies such as alopecia areata, scar alopecia or chronic telogen effluvium.
Among the effects that can appear in the hair due to contamination, we have the following:
- diffuse hair loss all over the scalp
- excessive sweating
- dryness and hair fragility
- dandruff or peeling, especially in sweat retention areas
- redness and irritation in the scalp, and also itching
- edema and swelling around follicles
- oily scalp due to an excess in secretion of sebum
How can we protect our hair from pollution?
Since the scalp and the hair are the first to come in contact with air pollution, it is essential to protect them against external pollutants and oxidative stress. In this regard, cleanliness and hygiene in the scalp, hair care and of course a healthy and balanced diet, can be our greatest allies.
However, when it comes to curbing the effects of pollution in our hair, or even reversing its effects, it is necessary to resort to other medical solutions, such as hyaluronic acid, which is an excellent hair protector: not only makes follicles more resistant, but also moisturizes them and prevents their falling out. Hyaluronic acid is part of the treatments used in hair mesotherapy.
Now you have the answer to the question of "Does air pollution cause hair loss?", and the solutions, too. At Clinicana we have long experience in all hair treatments and, the most important, we have the trust of our clients, as you can check by reading the reviews about hair transplant in Turkey. If you wish to ask us about your hair loss problem, simply remember that you have a free consultation service without no obligations... Don´t miss it!