"Air Pollution Could Make You Bald"

Pollution could be making your bald by decreasing levels of crucial proteins for hair growth, scientists fear.
For the first time, researchers have shown tiny toxic particles can damage chemical processes within cells that promote hair growth.

This 'could lead to baldness', the scientists claim. However, further trials are needed because their studies were on human cells in the lab. Academics behind the research have now suggested people should spend less time exercising outdoors, if they want to avoid hair loss.

The work focused on common air pollutants known as particulate matter (PM), which are emitted by car exhausts, industry and household heating.

PM is at the centre of a public health storm, having been linked to serious problems including asthma, heart and lung disease. But evidence of its effects on skin is still in its infancy - despite a growing market for anti-pollution cosmetics.

The research was conducted by The Future Science Research Centre in the Republic of Korea, led by Hyuk Chul Kwon.

The team harvested cells from the human scalp at the base of hair follicles, known as dermal papilla cells (DPs).

DPs sit at the base of a hair follicle, underneath the scalp, and work alongside skin surface cells to control the formation of the hair shaft.

These cells are responsible for hair growth and hair retention and need proteins to to function. The DPs were exposed to various concentrations of PM10, which are particles with a diameter of ten micrometres or smaller, including diesel and dust.

After 24 hours the researchers detected the levels of specific proteins in the cells using a scientific process known as western blotting.

The test can identify which proteins are present and in what quantities, depending on how they bind to specific antibodies.  The DPs were exposed to various concentrations of PM10, which are particles with a diameter of ten micrometres or smaller, including diesel and dust.

After 24 hours the researchers detected the levels of specific proteins in the cells using a scientific process known as western blotting.

The test can identify which proteins are present and in what quantities, depending on how they bind to specific antibodies.

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