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Hair Loss Open Topic

New Study Links Air Pollution to Hair Loss Is It True?

Air pollution is linked to asthma, heart attacks, and strokes. Now researchers are saying air pollution could cause hair loss, according to a recent study that tested the effects of pollution on human scalp cells. This discovery has led to some individuals even quitting their job, from fear that exposure to pollutants could be the cause of their thinning thatch. In this article, we will be discussing whether air pollution can be the cause of androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss).

What Did The Study Say?

Lead researcher Hyuk Chul Kwon - from the Future Science Research Centre in the Republic of Korea-wrote a paper called "effects of particulate matter on dermal papilla"- the study focused on the effects of 'particle pollution' and a potential link between pollution and hair loss.

The study looked at particulate matter (mix of solid particles and small liquid droplets) and the effect they have on the cells at the base of hair follicles. In the study, Kwon and other researchers exposed these cells to PM10 particles and diesel. PM10 are inhalable particles, primarily petrol fuels that are 10 micrometers and smaller. After 24 hours of exposure, researchers used blotting analysis to examine the levels of several proteins after exposure. 

The analysis confirmed that exposure to PM10 and diesel particulate matter lowered the levels of a specific protein that is crucial for hair growth. This protein is called beta-catenin. Moreover, exposure to PM10 dust-like particulates revealed that it also lowered the proteins cyclin D1, cyclin E, and CDK2. These proteins determine hair growth and hair retention. 

Hyuk Chul Kwon had this to say: " Our research explains the mode of action of air pollutants on Human Follicle Dermal Papilla Cells (HFDPCs), showing the most common air pollutants lead to hair loss." Kwon also had this to say: " While the link between air pollution and serious diseases such as cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease are well established. There is little to no research on the effect of particulate matter exposure on the human skin and hair in particular.

Cause of Genetic Hair Loss

The cause of hereditary hair loss has always been a genetic predisposition to the hormone called DHT. DHT is a by-product of testosterone. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT in the bloodstream. For this reason, medications like Propecia (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride) have been effective at treating androgenic alopecia. The reason why hair loss only affects specific individuals is because of the inherited gene that can come from the maternal or paternal side of the family. 

Our Final Thoughts

One study is not enough to disprove years of clinical research and data. Now, that doesn't mean that air pollution helps the situation, but it is certainly not the leading cause of hair loss. There are dozens of studies on male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss that all show a direct correlation between androgens and hair loss. Furthermore, treatments that suppress androgens, also called anti-androgens, are the most effective and proven medical treatments on the market today. Moreover, if air pollution were the cause of hair loss, virtually every single person living in a major city would be bald, which we know isn't the case.