Air pollution is causing baldness and hair loss, scientists claim –

It's feared that pollutants are having a terrible effect on our hairlines as well as our health (Image: Getty)

It’s feared that pollutants are having a terrible effect on our hairlines as well as our health (Image: Getty)

We know filthy air does terrible things to our lungs and poses a major risk to our overall health.

But it’s been claimed air pollution could also be causing baldness and hair loss.

Research presented at the European Dermato-Venereology Society (EADV) Congress in Madrid this week has suggested that exposure to common pollutants is ‘linked to hair loss in humans’.

To discover the bald truth about bad air, researchers exposed cells taken from the bottom of hair follicles on the scalp to ‘particulate matter’ – pollutants produced by cars and industry.

The results showed that the presence of a pollutant called PM10 and diesel particulates decreased levels of β-catenin, the protein responsible for hair growth.

air pollution from dirty and aged vehicle exhaust pipe on road

Petrol and diesel engines are major sources of pollutants (Image: Getty)

The study also revealed that the levels of three other proteins (cyclin D1, cyclin E and CDK2) that are responsible for hair growth and retention were decreased by exposure to the same substances.

Lead researcher Hyuk Chul Kwon from the Future Science Research Centre in the Republic of Korea said; ‘While the link between air pollution and serious illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular diseases are well established there is little to no research on the effect of particular matter exposure on the human skin and hair in particular.

‘Our research explains the mode of action of air pollutants on human follicle cells, showing how the most common air pollutants lead to hair loss.’

The research suggested the risk is ‘dose-dependent manner’, meaning that more pollution will result in greater hair loss.

Particulate matter is the term used to describe a mixture of solid particles and droplets found in the air.

These pollutants are divided into two categories: PM10, which are particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or smaller, and PM2.5 which have a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or smaller.

Both PM10 and PM2.5 are considered to be ‘major pollutants’ and are linked to various serious health conditions, such as heart and lung disease, cancer and respiratory problems.

Sources of PM include the burning of fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel as well as industries such as mining and the manufacturing of building materials like cement, ceramics or bricks.

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