Skin Effects of Air Pollution

Skin if the largest organ of the integumentary system. However, air pollution is unavoidable, especially in the urban areas. Although your skin can protect itself from the pollution, if the pollutants stay on your skin for a longer period that can change your skin structure and cause serious problem.

“The skin is a target organ for pollution and also allows the penetration of exogenous agents into the body. About 700,000 new cases of skin cancer were diagnosed in 1993, and 9100 people died of cancer; 76% of the deaths were due to melanoma. Skin cancers are most closely associated with exposure to UVB (290 to 320 nm) irradiation. For every 1% decrease in ozone there is a 2% increase in UVB irradiance, and therefore a 2% increase in skin cancer is predicted. Therefore the atmospheric pollution by ozone-depleting chemicals is a major concern to dermatologists. In addition to being a target organ and site of neoplasms and contact allergens, the skin is the site of significant absorption of environmental pollutants. In the case of chloroform, the percutaneous absorption is equivalent to the respiratory uptake, emphasizing how important it is to recognize skin absorption in toxicologic exposures.” (Goldsmith L.A., Skin Effects of Air Pollution).

Air pollution seriously affects the skin it increases the oxidation of the sebum, causes pimples formation, allergies and rashes. Smoggy air may lack moisture and cause skin dehydration.

The pollutants cause premature aging of the skin as they absorb the oxygen from the skin cells and your skin will look dull and sagging. Besides, pollution can also cause skin allergies, diseases, pigmentation, eczema and even acne. Pollution also damages your skin as it increases the free radicals and the effect of the UV radiation, it decreases collagen and elastin production, resulting in a rough skin texture, clogged pores and fine lines.

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