Research results have been presented at a major conference confirming a cause for hair loss. Korean funded research has shown that hair loss caused by pollution is very real. We take a closer look.

 

Air Pollution

Whether or not hair loss caused by pollution is a real thing seems almost rhetorical. Our hair is sensitive to changes in our diet or environment so it is hard to imagine it would not be negatively affected. But until now nobody had done the research.

We are a busy, messy species. The result of all our activity is evidenced in our air and oceans. The air we breathe contains billions of particulates made of polycyclic aromatic carbons. These soot-like particles are particularly hazardous when they are extremely small, less than 10 microns. Diesel engines spill these particulates along with gases and other chemicals. Then there are nitrogen oxides, from the burning of fossil fuel, and carbon monoxide, from incomplete combustion.

They are firmly associated with a long list of ailments. Top of that list are respiratory diseases, cardiovascular damage. and damage to the reproductive organs. They can also cause harm to the liver, spleen, and blood. Fatigue, headaches, and anxiety are all linked. Then there is irritation caused to the eyes, nose, and throat.

It is understandable, given the scale and severity of the list, that it has taken a while for someone to get around to looking at hair loss caused by pollution. But that is exactly what a South Korean cosmetics firm has funded. The results were presented at the 28th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in Madrid recently.

Hair Loss Research

Hyul Chul Kwok, who led the research team, described what the team had set out to do. He said: “Our research looked at the science behind what happens when the cells found at the base of hair follicles are exposed to common air pollutants.”

Their method was to expose human follicle cells to different concentrations of pollutants. the pollutants were in the form of fine dust particles, 10 micrometers or smaller.  Kwok’s team then measured the presence of four key proteins involved in the hair growth and retention process.

The team observed decreases in all four proteins. Decreases which were more pronounced when the cells were exposed to higher levels of pollutants. As Kwok put it “The more pollutants that the cells were exposed to, the bigger this impact seemed to be. Therefore the results suggest that particulate matter may cause hair loss.”

Avoiding Pollution Related Hair Loss

If you live in a modern city, and most of us do, avoiding pollution is impossible. To give your hair its best chance of coping a sensible hygiene regime is essential. But for many, simply choosing a good shampoo and conditioner might not be enough.

Fortunately, there have never been so many options for treatments that can give your hair a boost. While it is true we are not quite there with a cure for hair loss just yet, modern science-based products and procedures exist. One or more, according to your personal circumstances, will be appropriate.

HIS Hair Clinic

It seems amazing that we have had to wait this long for someone to do some research on hair loss caused by pollution. This small study did not distinguish between age and gender for example. Much more work will need to be done to fully understand the issue. But Kwok’s team has undoubtedly taken an important first step.

If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our friendly team of experts simply complete the contact form at the side of this page, or click here to find your nearest clinic.

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By Ian Watson

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