South Korean study finds air pollution may be causing hairfall

November 11, 2019

Particulate matter (PM) is the term used to denote solid particles/droplets found in the air and their respective diameters. Major pollutants like PM10 and PM2.5, then, would cause serious health conditions – various concentrations of PM10-like dust and diesel particulate has also been recently found to cause hair loss in humans.

Lead researcher, Hyuk Chul Kwon from the Future Science Research Centre in South Korea, comments, “While the link between air pollution and serious diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well established, our research explains the mode of action of air pollutants on human hair follicle cells, showing how the most common air pollutants lead to hair loss.”

In the study, fine cells at the base of hair follicles from the human scalp, known as human follicle dermal papilla cells (HFDPCs), underwent a western blotting process to detect the levels of specific proteins in the cells. Results showed that the presence of PM10 particulates decreased levels of a protein responsible for hair growth and morphogenesis.

The levels of three other proteins, which are similarly responsible for hair growth and hair retention, were also shown to have decreased in a dose-dependent manner, i.e.greater levels of PM found results in a greater decrease in proteins.

Air pollutants are largely concentrated in urban settings, due to vehicle exhaust, construction and more – with this newfound information, it seems wise to avoid long periods in areas with high PM ratings, for our overall health and wellbeing.


Category: Features, Health alert

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