Hair loss is incredibly common– according to the American Hair Loss Association, about 85% of American men will experience thinning hair by the age of 50. Despite its prevalence, scientists are still working to understand all the factors that contribute to hair loss. Interestingly enough, researchers might have found a surprising new culprit: air pollution.
A team of researchers affiliated with the Future Science Research Centre in South Korea recently published a paper looking at the effects of airborne particulate matter (or air pollution) on human hair follicles.
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, particulate matter includes all particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter, or small enough to inhale. For comparison, the average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter. Car exhaust, dust, pollen, smoke, industrial chemicals, and more add to levels of particulate matter in the air we breathe daily.
In their study, researchers found that hair follicles exposed to airborne particulate matter for 24 hours had lower levels of several proteins vital for hair growth. Such proteins include beta-catenin, cyclin D1, cyclin E, and CDK2. The higher the concentration of particulates, the lower the levels of proteins fell. And that’s only after a single day.
The study adds to a growing list of concerns about the health effects of air pollution. However, head researcher Hyuk Chul Kwon cautioned that further study is necessary to aid in reaching more definitive conclusions. Presenting his team’s findings at the 28th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress, he was quoted as saying, “It is possible to hypothesize that at certain levels of exposure this could lead to baldness, but further population-based research needs to be undertaken to confirm this.”
Protecting Your Hair and Scalp
Should city-dwellers despair? Protecting your hair from air pollution is as important and easy as protecting your skin from sun exposure. Shampooing regularly and exfoliating your scalp can help keep your hair follicles healthy and free of damaging pollutants.
However, if your self-image has taken a hit due to hair loss, consider our scalp micropigmentation services. These tiny tattoos are a permanent, nearly painless (really!), and low-maintenance way to regain confidence in your hairstyle. Call Tampa Scalp Ink today for a free consultation!