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Pollution and Hair Health: Understanding the Threat, Building Defenses

Pollution and Hair Health: Understanding the Threat, Building Defenses

Did you know? Living in an urban environment can damage the health of your hair and even contribute to hair loss. Environmental stresses such as air pollution can wreak havoc on scalp health, leading to itching and inflammation. They can structurally interfere with hair strength, contributing to hair loss and retention. Read this article from The Dermo Lab to learn about the relationship between pollution and hair health, and how to protect your hair and scalp, and much more.

First of all, what causes air pollution?

Air pollution comes from sources such as fossil fuels, vehicle exhaust, agriculture, construction, industrial manufacturing, and energy consumption at home and on the road. The combustion of fossil fuels such as gas, coal, or CO2 releases chemicals and gases directly into the air. The direct consequences harm the earth and affect global warming and weather conditions.

When air is polluted, it affects a person’s body in different ways: smog, greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and allergens. These types of air pollutants affect the body inside and out, leaving serious health consequences. As hair strands are outside the skin and body, they can affect the health of cells and hair follicles.

How does air pollution affect the health of your hair?

1- Smog and hair follicle health

Smog is one of the most widespread forms of air pollution in the world, resulting from burning fossil fuels in contact with sunlight. Smog contains tiny particles of soot that move through the air. Power stations, factories, and vehicles all contribute to smog and soot. These tiny smog particles infiltrate the bloodstream and affect cell health, causing old hair to fall out and stopping the natural production of new hair.

2- Greenhouse gases and scalp irritation

Greenhouse gases are defined as the energy of electromagnetic waves that absorb and release particles into the surface of the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, methane… and many others. The more frequent the exposure, the greater the risk.

Research shows that greenhouse gas particles can cause dandruff, itching, hair follicle pain, scalp irritation, and oily scalp, which are most often associated with hair loss and baldness. Hair in direct contact with atmospheric pollution also shows signs of breakage, dryness, and premature hair loss, like the signs of male pattern baldness.

3- Atmospheric pollutants and hair health

Air pollutants such as mercury pose serious health risks to those exposed to them. Among the most common health problems are blood disorders and skin conditions, which directly affect scalp and hair health. Scientists also point out that exposure to air pollution often mimics the symptoms of androgenic alopecia, which could have an impact on known treatments.

4- Allergens and hair loss

Allergens such as pollen, mold, or dust can provoke allergic reactions in your body, leading to health-related reactions such as hair loss. Everything from foods that provoke an autoimmune reaction to plants in your garden that cause skin irritation can be symptomatic of airborne allergens when the body comes into contact with them and causes an allergy.

As most allergy sufferers experience symptoms throughout the year, hair loss becomes problematic when you live in an environment that triggers a reaction.

How can you protect your hair from pollution?

You need to protect your scalp and hair, as they are one of the main parts of your body affected by air pollution, oxidative stress, and external pollutants. To do this, you need to keep your scalp and hair hygienically clean. In addition, a healthy, balanced diet can strengthen your hair and make it less vulnerable to the damage caused by air pollution.

However, if the effects of air pollution have already damaged your hair and you want to reverse the trend, you need to turn to medical solutions such as hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is an exceptional hair protector. It works on your scalp by making your hair follicles more damage-resistant. It also moisturizes hair follicles and prevents them from falling out. Hyaluronic acid is also used in hair mesotherapy, a non-surgical substitute for hair regrowth.

People living in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to suffer from hair loss. Remember, a little extra care and effort will protect your hair from pollution and help keep it looking luscious and healthy.

What are some simple tips for protecting your hair from pollutants?

  1. Cover your hair as much as possible

You can use a scarf or hat to cover your hair. This will protect it from direct contact with dust and airborne pollutants.

  1. Wash your hair regularly

Get into the habit of washing your hair regularly to keep pollutants at bay and prevent itching and dandruff. Use mild sulfate-free shampoos for daily hair washing and apply the shampoo to your scalp. Once the shampoo has been applied, rinse thoroughly and always rehydrate your hair from mid-length to tip with a good quality conditioner.

  1. Avoid using mechanical tools

Don’t forget that hair frequently exposed to high levels of pollution is prone to damage, split ends, and brittleness. It is therefore best to avoid using mechanical tools such as straighteners or hairdryers, which can increase the risk of damaging your hair.

  1. Apply a hair serum

If you can’t cover your hair, you should apply a good-quality protective serum before going out. Hair serum will form a thin layer on your hair and protect it from many types of dangerous gases and pollutants.

  1. Be gentle

Because pollution can compromise the quality of your hair, it’s imperative to treat it with the utmost care. When detangling your hair, use a wide-tooth comb and start at the ends, working your way up to the roots. Wherever possible, it’s also a good idea to avoid heating your hair, even if this isn’t realistic for some.


Urban living and exposure to pollution can wreak havoc on hair and scalp, even leading to hair loss and poor hair growth. Pollution and hair health are closely linked concerns in today’s hectic cities, where pollutants can strip away the natural oils and nutrients essential to hair vitality. But armed with the right knowledge and strategies, you can protect your hair from the damaging effects of pollution. By taking proactive steps to minimize exposure, investing in protective hair care products, and adopting recovery strategies to restore vitality, you can ensure that your hair remains resilient and radiant in the face of environmental adversity. So stand tall, protect your mane, and let your hair shine in the fog of modern life.

Last Updated on March 6, 2024

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