Around the world, billions of people are exposed to air pollution. It is estimated that nine out of 10 people in the world breathe polluted air. About 7 million people die every year because of it.
The impact of exposure to air pollution has been well studied. The fine particles in polluted air can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, respiratory infections, and cancer. It can also affect the cardiovascular system, leading to heart disease and stroke.
More recently, the effects of air pollution on the skin are starting to be revealed. Studies have found a link between acne and premature aging with the levels of pollutants in the air. Research has also found evidence that air pollution affects the scalp and, therefore, hair.
Losing Hair Because of Air Pollution
People lose about 200 strands of hair every single day. This is not a cause for concern. You have hundreds of thousands of strands of hair on your head. A few hundred barely makes a difference. However, more than that can be alarming.
There are so many reasons why hair loss occurs. Diet is a common cause; if you are not getting the right dose of vitamins and minerals, you may lose strands of your hair. It is also a symptom of many diseases and a side effect of taking certain medications.
If you live in a city that frequently has severe air pollution, chances are, you are experiencing some level of hair loss.
In one research, scientists found that exposure to common airborne pollutants led to the decrease of the four proteins responsible for hair retention and growth. The effects are more significant the worse the pollution becomes. The study suggests that those who live in cities or close to industrial works — anywhere that frequently experiences the bad quality of air — are at risk of going bald.
More research is needed to explore the link and whether the effects of air pollution on hair are permanent. However, there are a few treatments that can reverse hair loss, especially for women who may experience low self-esteem from losing their hair. Many people find success with hair transplant which involves adding healthy hair follicles to the area of the scalp that experiences thinning.
Air Pollution Behind Recurring Dandruff
Dandruff is not a cause for concern, but it can be embarrassing. Using anti-dandruff shampoo can usually remove the white flakes that fall from your scalp. However, if it is a recurring problem, maybe it is time to investigate why you get it in the first place.
The pollutants in the air settle on the strands of your hair. Eventually, it can build up and cause irritation and dandruff.
While it is not good to wash your hair too often, people who live in urban areas should give their scalp and strands a cleanse more frequently. Experts advise people who live in cities to shampoo every other day. When you use shampoo, try to massage it on your scalp. Let the suds drip down and cleanse the length of your hair to prevent your strands from becoming too dry and brittle.
Blame Hair Pollution for Dull Hair Color
The care that you invest in your hair care should involve avoiding exposure to air pollution.
The pollutants in the air can dull the skin over time. There is evidence that it can do the same to hair, too. The free radical damage caused by air pollution leads to loss of hair color or premature hair graying.
Graying is a condition most known among seniors, but many young people can experience it. Exposure to air pollution impacts hair color the same way as cigarette smoking. There are free radicals released alongside smoke and other particles that are released into the atmosphere. As a result, your hair and you look older.
How to Protect Hair from Air Pollution
You do not have to suffer from the effects of air pollution on your hair. One effective trick to protect your hair from pollution is to cover it with a hair or a scarf when the levels of pollutants in the air are high.
You should also be mindful of the type of products you use on your hair. If you are washing your hair more frequently, you need to pick a gentle shampoo that would not strip moisture off of your scalp and strands.
And, maybe add a few products that contain antioxidants into your hair care. Those that contain vitamin E will fight free radicals and reverse the damage it causes to the hair.
Air pollution affects the body in a lot of negative ways. It is no surprise that it is not good for the hair, either. People should avoid exposure to air pollution for healthy hair and body.