Could pollution be affecting your skin?

Depositphotos_11488311_xsI often see our individual skin as a reflection of the condition of the skin on the face of our planet, so a recent article supporting that concept really caught my attention. The article explores the possibility that a form of hyperpigmentation called Melasma and facial hyperpigmentation might be related to pollution. Melasma, sometimes called the mask of pregnancy, is a form of pigmentation of the face that is often seen with female hormones are pregnancy. It is clearly aggravated by sun exposure.

In addition, there seem to be genetic factors that lead to the tendency for this and other forms of pigmentation of the face. What is new and explored in this recent article, Is the possibility that increased pollution is contributing to this hyperpigmentation.

What is not new is the observation that pollution has been increasing on the planet, and especially in more populated and industrialized areas. Pollution involves increased particulate matter and chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These nano-sized tiny particles can get into the skin, and through a series of steps, cause excessive oxidative damage  leading to aging changes including hyperpigmentation.

Dr. Roberts demonstrated here that areas with the highest pollution, including India Southeast Asia, china, and the United States, also had increased melisma. This article focuses more on correlation then absolute proof, and discusses the other factors mentioned above that appear to contribute to Melasma.

Increased pollution in inherently industrialized areas is also being correlated with many serious health conditions. It is both sad and darkly amusing, that putting a dirty face on our planet with pollution maybe contributing to the appearance of a dirty face and women living in that pollution. Maybe it’s time to think seriously about cleaning it up. 

To your health,

Alan M Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

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