Air Pollution and Hair Loss

Hair is one of the key factors to enhance our physical appearance. Imagine the horror of waking up and finding a patch of baldness! Scary – right? What if with time the baldness increases? Scarier! Often when you notice hair loss you either Google or consult a hair specialist. The symptoms rarely point towards air pollution being a factor for your hair loss leading to loss of your money and time.

Young people who relocate to metro cities develop itchy and oily scalp, dandruff, redness in scalp, pain in hair roots and massive hair loss. Studies have identified these symptoms as ‘Sensitive Scalp Syndrome’ resulting from high levels of air pollution in these cities. Air pollutants such as particulate matter, dust, smoke, sulphur and nitrogen dioxides, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) settle on scalp and hair. These pollutants then penetrate into the dermis of the scalp through hair follicle conduit leading to stress and hair loss. Now, who could have even thought about that?

Hair loss due to pollution (HDP) can mimic androgenic alopecia (un-patterned baldness) or diffused alopecia. If you notice un-patterned hair loss it is advisable to get evaluated clinically. At a clinic, your genetic hair history, nature of work, location, daily exposure condition will be recorded and analyzed. For example: If you are a Delhi resident involved in outdoor errands you are more likely to be diagnosed with HDP rather than a person living in Sikkim with less outdoor involvement. His hair loss may be due to other factors excluding HDP. If you are diagnosed with HDP, there will be scheduled Scalp examinations, hair loss count by running your finger or combing, etc to analyze and report your progress. The methods of treatment include protection from pollution and promotion of hair growth.

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