Why Is It That Pollution Is So Detrimental To Our Hair?
Hair Thinning Is Linked To Exposure To Air Pollution
You did read that sentence correctly. Researchers found that exposure to common air pollutants, also known as particulate matter, or PM for short, decreased the level of a specific protein in hair follicle cells. This protein is the very protein that is responsible for fueling hair growth in the first place. The study was conducted in 2019 and the results were published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. When hair follicle cells were exposed to typical air pollutants, such as byproducts from the combustion of fossil fuels and general particle dust, their capacity to create new hair growth reduced. In other words, hair follicle cells lose their ability to make new hair. And the more hair loss that occurred as a result of their exposure to pollution, the more hair was lost. In a nutshell, an ever-expanding body of studies is pointing to a connection between hair loss and exposure to high levels of air pollution.
Air Pollution Dulls Hair Color
The same way that oxidative stress may cause our skin tone to become less vibrant over time, the oxidative stress that is generated by air pollution can make our hair seem less vibrant. Free radical damage to the hair may appear in a variety of ways, including loss of color, often known as graying of the hair, as well as hair loss, according to research. This loss of pigment occurs naturally as a consequence of the aging process, but the rate at which it occurs accelerates in direct proportion to the amount of oxidative stress that the hair follicle is subjected to. That being said, graying hair is a normal aspect of the aging process.
Air Pollution Can Cause Hair Follicle Damage
This so-called particulate matter, which is made up of the minute particles and droplets that we perceive to be pollution in the air, may also, over time, accumulate on the scalp. Particulate matter is formed of the pollutant-causing microscopic particles and droplets in the air. This buildup can contribute to significant hair follicle damage, lead to issues such as dandruff and irritation, and eventually even lead to hair loss if it is not properly sloughed off, and if the scalp is not properly protected afterward, then this buildup can lead to significant hair follicle damage.
Air pollution does not just have an effect on your scalp; it can also build up on your real hair, which may eventually cause it to experience a filthy, dull, and weighed-down state. The particles of dust, pollutants, filth, and everyday grime that you come into contact with on a regular basis really accumulate on each strand, just as they do on your skin if you don’t properly scrub it off. This is true whether or not you wash your hair. Ultimately long-term these can affect and damage your hair follicles which may result in hair loss and thinning.
Air Pollution Causes Early Hair Aging
Oxidative stress is a factor in the premature aging of the hair, just as it is in the skin. Although a normal part of the aging process for hair, the loss of pigment is not the only thing we are discussing here. Other elements of hair aging are also being explored, such as a general decline in hair production as well as the thinning of hair follicles and hair strands themselves as they age. Oxidative stress, which includes that which results from being exposed to air pollution, is a contributor to all of these factors and, in general, accelerates the process of hair aging.