Does Pollution Damage Hair and Cause Hair Loss?

does pollution damage hair and cause hair loss?

We are exposed to air pollution every single day because dust, smoke, harmful gas and toxins are constantly released into the atmosphere. Numerous research has been compiled on the effect air pollution has on climate, our environment and health, but little thought has been given to the impact air pollution has on hair. Dust, smoke and gas emissions can have detrimental an effect on hair, triggering inflammation of the scalp and hair loss. Research has found that when hair and scalp are exposed to pollutants, protein cells, that are required for hair growth, are reduced, which in turn slows the Anagen stage (hair growth and retention of the hair growth cycle) and increases the Telogen stage (hair loss) of the hair growth cycle.

hair growth cycle

So how does pollution reduce protein cells required for hair growth?

There are lots of individual pollutants in the atmosphere, amalgamating to form free radicals. Free radicals, when exposed to your hair, cause oxidative stress. Because hair is predominately a cluster of protein cells, when exposed to free radicals, the protein cells become damaged, through the process of oxidative stress which erodes at the antioxidant defences. Antioxidant defences are crucial for preserving active, healthy protein cells (hair) and preventing infection and inflammation of the scalp. If the scalp becomes inflamed or infected, this will have an adverse effect on hair growth and potentially trigger hair loss. Oxidation can also cause protein cells to become inactive, in turn, preventing further hair growth and stagnating hair length.

oxidative stress

The erosion of protein cells (hair) due to oxidative stress, damages hair cuticles and the internal hair shaft, making hair brittle, dry and prone to breakage. Hair cuticles assist in locking moisture into the hair shaft (hair strand), so should hair cuticles become damaged due to hair pollutant free radicals, moisture will easily escapes from the hair strand, making hair dry. Hair cuticles also protect the hair shaft, so should this defence become broken, the hair shaft becomes vulnerable to breakage and even more exposed to free radicals.  

damaged hair shaft and cuticle because of free radicals

How can I prevent pollution damaging my hair?

Air pollution causes oxidative stress on your hair’s protein cells and scalp, which neutralises or in some instances, completely eradicates the antioxidant defenses required to maintain active hair growth and prevent scalp infection or inflammation. Therefore, detoxing your hair and scalp with a shampoo which contains antioxidants is the best way to keep the harmful effects of hair pollution away.

pollution on scalp

ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion both contain Rosemary and Nettle. Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and Nettle has antibacterial qualities, when combined serve to purify hair and scalp from free radicals. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Lotion contains the patented Si MATRIX PF an innovative treatment for connective tissue recovery, making hair thicker, stronger and less prone to break or shed, giving the desired effect of reducing hair loss caused by pollution. Si MATRIX is also a fundamental nutrient for the scalp, guaranteeing a balance of good and healthy hair. Si Matrix PF works to re-balance and reactivate the scalp, revitalise hair follicles and restore hair growth, whilst stimulating and strengthening hair.

hair loss caused by pollution
hair loss caused by pollution
association of registered trichologists

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