New research might have found an
explanation for why outdoor air pollution
is likely to cause hair loss.

New research sheds light on what causes hair loss.
Hair loss affects around two-thirds of men under
the age of 35 in the United States, according to the
American Hair Loss Association.

Also, almost 85% of men lose a significant amount
of hair after the age of 50.

Women also experience hair loss. In fact, a
condition called androgenetic alopecia affects
around 30 million women in the U.S., as well as 50
million men.

The causes of hair loss are unclear. Although
researchers think that genes play a key role, there
remain a significant number of unknown
environmental factors that may also affect hair loss
risk.
New research has looked into pollution as a
potential trigger for hair loss. Importantly, it sheds
light on a potential mechanism that may explain
how air pollution causes hair loss.

Hyuk Chul Kwon — from the Future Science
Research Centre in the Republic of Korea — is the
lead author of the study, which the team presented
at the 28th European Academy of Dermatology and
Venereology (EADV) Congress.

This year, the congress takes place between
October 9 and 13 in Madrid, Spain.

It is worth noting that the Future Science Research
Centre is part of a cosmetics company based in
Korea called Coreana Cosmetics. However, the
EADV is a nonprofit organization.

Pollution reduces hair

growing protein
The new paper, entitled "Effects of particulate
matter on human dermal papilla," looked at the
effect of so-called particulate matter on the cells at
the base of hair follicles. These cells are called
human follicle dermal papilla cells (HFDPCs).

"Particulate matter," or "particle pollution," is a term
that describes a mix of solid particles and small
liquid droplets, made of various different chemicals,
that people can inhale. Some of these particles
pose a serious risk to health.

In the new research, Kwon and colleagues exposed
HFDPCs to PM10-like particles of dust and diesel.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), PM10 particles are "inhalable
particles, with diameters that are generally 10
micrometers and smaller."

After 24 hours, the team used Western blotting
analysis to examine the levels of several proteins
after exposure to particulate matter.

The analysis revealed that exposure to PM10 and
diesel particulate matter lowered levels of a protein
key for hair growth. The protein is called beta-
catenin.

Additionally, PM10-like dust and diesel particulates
lowered levels of other proteins that determine hair
growth and hair retention. These proteins were
cyclin D1, cyclin E, and CDK2, and the more
pollution the researchers exposed them to, the more
these proteins decreased.

Kwon comments on the findings, saying, "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
particulate matter exposure on the human skin and
hair in particular."

Around the world, approximately 4.2 million people
die each year as a result of outdoor air pollution,
according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO also estimate that over 90% of the
world's population lives in overly polluted areas.

Heart attacks , aggravated asthma , irregular
heartbeat, and poorer lung function are only some
of the conditions associated with excess exposure
to pollution.