Pollution and Sunlight Synergistically Contribute to Skin Photodamage


A 2012 study summary from Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (vol 76, no 5, p.1013) describing how fine particulate matter from air pollution worsens the skin damage already caused by sunlight. The conclusion calls for increasingly more effective strategies to ward off these effects given the combined attack on the body’s skin.

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Atmospheric pollution is a serious health concern in industrial countries. Particulate matters (PM) are considered highly deleterious as many carry toxic compounds such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Ultrafine particles (less than 100 nm in size) or PAHs might either penetrate the stratum corneum (particularly of damaged skin) or translocate from lung to blood circulation and be distributed in living skin. Some PAHs are phototoxic: sun and pollution might thus synergistically compromise skin health as recent clinical data showed that pollution accelerates photo-aging.

This data demonstrates that pollution aggravates photo-damage and requires a specific protection strategy.

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