The research was presented yesterday in Madrid at the 28th congress of the European Academy of Dermatology. For the first time in history there is scientific evidence of a constantly increasing phenomenon.
Exposure to common air pollutants (particulates, or fine dust, or PM if you prefer) is linked to hair loss in humans.
The research was carried out by exposing scalp cells positioned at the base of the hair follicles, the so-called follicle cells of the human dermal papilla (or HFDPCS) at various concentrations of powders such as PM10 and particulates produced by diesel engines.
After the first 24 hours, the researchers implemented a biochemical technique called W, to identify specific protein levels in cells.
The results showed that the presence of PM10 and other particulates lower the levels of Beta-catenin, the protein responsible for hair birth and growth.
Pollution also damages hair at all levels
The study also revealed that pollution also lowers the levels of three other proteins (cyclin D1, cyclin E and CDK2) involved in resistance to hair loss.
The effect is proportional: the greater the exposure, the greater the protein deficiency and consequent hair loss.
The PM, silent killer
PM is the acronym that identifies the mixture of fine dust emitted into the air by our internal combustion engines and other polluting activities.
It is divided into two categories: the PM10, which includes particles with a diameter from 10 micrometers down, and the PM2.5, which includes particles with a diameter from 2,5 micrometers down.
Both PM10 and PM2.5 are considered among the major air pollutants and linked to serious physical ailments (cancer and heart attack above all) and also psychological.
It is estimated that thepollution air kills over 4 million people every year.
Hyuk Chul Kwon of the Future Science Research Center in Korea, head of research comments: "The link between pollution and diseases such as cancer has been amply demonstrated. However, there is still little research on the effects that exposure to these agents has on human skin and hair in particular. Our research shows scientific evidence of this. action that the particulates carry out on the cells of the follicle of the human dermal papilla. Common air pollutants lead to hair loss".