Air pollution is present everywhere—even indoors—and exposure to it is beyond our control. Its negative effects on our skin are well established, but a new study shows that it also has a substantial influence on another component of skincare: our scalp and, as a result, our hair.

Air pollution may not only pile up on top of our strands, making them seem drab, lifeless, and unclean, but it may also trigger more significant side effects, such as hair loss. Here’s all you need to know about it.

Why is pollution so bad for our hair?

1. Air pollution can lead to hair loss
It’s true! According to a study done in 2019, exposure to typical air pollutants (also known as particulate matter) reduced the quantity of a particular protein in hair follicle cells—the same protein that fuels hair growth in the first place.

To put it another way, when hair follicle cells were exposed to typical air pollutants (such as byproducts of fossil fuel combustion and general particle dust), their capacity to create new hair growth was reduced. Moreover, the more pollution they were exposed to, the greater hair loss they had. Conclusion: a growing body of evidence suggests that hair loss is linked to air pollution.

2. Air pollution affects our hair colour
How oxidative stress dulls our skin tone over time, air pollution-induced oxidative stress may do the same to our hair. Free radical damage to the hair has been shown to cause colour loss, hair greying, and hair loss, according to research.

Hair greying is a normal part of the aging process, but the rate at which colour is lost is directly proportional to the amount of oxidative stress the hair follicle is exposed to.

3. Air pollution causes buildup
Particulate matter, which is made up of the microscopic particles and droplets in our air that we call pollution, may accumulate on the scalp over time.

If the accumulation isn’t reduced, and the scalp isn’t adequately protected afterward, it may cause substantial hair follicle damage, dandruff and irritation, and even hair loss.

Air pollution does not just impact your scalp; it may also accumulate on your hair, making it feel (and seem) unclean, drab, and weighed down. The dust, pollutants, filth, and filth you come into contact with on a regular basis builds upon each strand, just like it does on your skin if you don’t clean it accurately.

4. Air pollution hastens hair aging.
Oxidative stress causes premature hair aging in the same way that it causes early skin aging. We’re not only talking about pigment loss (or greying), while it is a normal component of the aging process. Other elements of hair aging include a general decline in hair production and the weakening of hair follicles and hair strands.

Oxidative stress, such as that caused by air pollution, plays a role in all of this and speeds up the aging process of our hair.

What you can do to protect your hair from pollution:

1. Starting consuming collagen supplement
Because you can’t fully remove yourself from the effects of pollution, you need to ensure you are neutralizing as much free radical damage as possible from the inside. This involves eating plenty of antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E, and supporting your body through hydrolyzed collagen supplements.

Keratin, a protein, and structural lipids make up the majority of hair. Several kinds of amino acids, many of which are found in collagen peptides, are required for the body to produce keratin. Proline, which is also present in collagen peptides, is one of the most important amino acids in keratin.

Ingesting these amino acids may boost your natural levels of these important nutrients. Amino acids are the building blocks of cell membranes and the stuff that hair is formed of. Collagen supplements may also work as an antioxidant, assisting in the neutralization of free radicals caused by oxidative stress. Following that, concentrate on cleaning the hair and scalp of environmental material.

2. Start using an anti-pollution shampoo
If air pollution is a particular source of worry for you, consider investing in a shampoo system designed to counteract the detrimental impacts of pollution.

The appropriate shampoo will remove any harmful material from your scalp and strands while also leaving behind helpful components (oils and antioxidants, in particular) that will help seal and preserve your hair’s cuticle in the future.

3. Care for your scalp
The appropriate shampoo will remove any harmful material from your scalp and strands while also leaving behind helpful components (oils and antioxidants, in particular) that will help seal and preserve your hair’s cuticle in the future.

According to experts, “if the accumulation is particularly bad, it may even pull the hair down since there’s so much inflammation surrounding the hair follicle,” which will result in hair loss.
In terms of air pollution, applying a weekly scalp cleanse is one of the finest methods to care for your scalp. Exfoliating once a week will assist to remove any buildup of air pollution, dead skin cells, oil, and excess product. But don’t simply grab the first scalp scrub you come across.
Rather, spend a few moments to figure out which scalp scrub is best for your hair and scalp (just as you would when seeking out a new product for your skin).

4. Use topical antioxidants
Because air pollution and its effects on scalp cells are both forms of oxidative stress, antioxidants—which, by definition, alleviate oxidative stress—are one of the most effective strategies to combat both.

Look for hair products that have powerful antioxidant elements like green tea and vitamins C and E.

The Conclusion
Pollution, both indoor and outdoor, has a significant impact on the health of our hair and scalp. Given that you have no control over how much pollution you are exposed to on a daily basis, it is critical that you protect your hair with antioxidants, nutrients, and appropriate washing

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