Korean study suggests hair loss linked to air pollution

11 Nov 2019

New research conducted by the Future Science Research Centre based at Korean company Coreana Cosmetic, presented at the 28th EADV Congress, has looked into whether exposure to common air pollutants known as particulate matter (PM) is linked to hair loss in humans.

The research was conducted by exposing cells from the human scalp at the base of hair follicles to various concentrations of PM10-like dust and diesel particulate. This PM is 10 micrometres or less in diameter.

After 24 hours the researchers performed a scientific process, known as western blotting, to detect the levels of specific proteins in the cells. According to the study, the results showed that the presence of PM10 and diesel particulate decreased levels of β-catenin, the protein responsible for hair growth and morphogenesis.

The study also showed that the levels of three other proteins (cyclin D1, cyclin E and CDK2), which are responsible for hair growth and hair retention, were decreased by PM10-like dust and diesel particulate in a dose dependent manner, meaning that the greater the level of pollutant, the greater the decrease in proteins was found.

Lead researcher, Hyuk Chul Kwon commented, “While the link between air pollution and serious diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease are well established, there is little to no research on the effect of particular matter exposure on the human skin and hair in particular. Our research explains the mode of action of air pollutants on human follicle dermal papilla cells, showing how the most common air pollutants lead to hair loss.”

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