Growing urbanization, population growth, and modern lifestyles are rapidly increasing pollution levels worldwide.
You are already aware that the air we breathe is filled with invisible particles and toxic chemical substances that can damage our health. These pollutants, also called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can accelerate the aging process of our hair. They can even cause irreparable hair damage.
Excessive dust harms our skin, hair, and nails. If you have oily hair or live in a polluted city, you might know how difficult it is to protect your hair from dust and pollution.
Fortunately, a few simple tricks can protect your hair from pollution and harmful UV rays. The right products, a suitable hair care routine, plenty of hydration, and problem-specific treatments can help you neutralise the effects of air pollution and keep your tresses strong and healthy.
How Does Pollution Harm Your Hair?
Increasing oil production is one of the most common ways that pollution damages your hair. Most people think that having oily hair is a good thing. However, when the oil begins to build up, it can lead to breakage and excess shedding of your hair.
If you have oily hair, then your hair is more likely to be damaged by pollutants like exhaust gases, smoke, and dust. Oily hair is also more likely to trap odor-causing bacteria, leading to scalp infections.
Pollution can also cause dry and brittle hair. The air in urban areas often has high levels of ozone, which can break down the structure of your hair. Dry and brittle hair can result from ozone exposure, particularly if you colour your hair.
Another way that pollution can damage your hair is by triggering allergies that cause dandruff.
Why Is Pollution So Bad For Our Hair?
Causes Hair Fall
A 2019 study found that exposure to common air pollutants (also known as particulate matter, or PM for short) reduced the specific protein level in hair follicle cells. This very protein drives hair growth in the first place.
In other words, when hair follicle cells were exposed to common air pollutants (such as byproducts of fossil fuel combustion and general particulate dust), their ability to produce new hair growth was slowed. The more they were exposed to pollution, the more hair they lost.
In conclusion, a growing body of research supports the link between hair loss and air pollution.
Causes Dullness In Hair Colour
Air pollution can dull our hair's colour like oxidative stress does to our skin. According to studies, free radical damage to the hair can cause colour loss, greying, and hair loss. Of course, hair greying is a natural part of the ageing process, but the rate at which this pigment loss occurs is proportional to the amount of oxidative stress the follicle is forced to endure.
Causes Excessive Buildup
Particulate matter, made up of tiny particles and droplets in our air that we consider pollution, can build up on the scalp over time. This buildup can cause significant harm to hair follicles, dandruff and irritation, and even hair loss if it is not adequately sloughed off and protected afterwards.
Air pollution can accumulate on your hair, making it feel (and look) dirty, dull, and weighed down. Like what happens to your skin if you don't correctly cleanse it, dust, fumes, dirt, and daily grime build up on each strand.
Causes Hair Ageing
Oxidative stress causes premature ageing of the hair, just like it does to your skin. We're not just referring to pigment loss (or greying), a normal part of the ageing process.
Other aspects of hair ageing are also being discussed, such as a general decrease in hair production and thinning hair follicles and strands.
Worsened oxidative stress, including that caused by air pollution, hastens the ageing process of the hair.
Can Pollution Result In Hair Loss?
Pollution can make your hair look dull and unhealthy. If you live in a very polluted city, you might be able to see the effects of pollution on your hair by looking in the mirror every day. Pollution is also a significant cause of hair loss.
One of the worst side effects of pollution on hair is that the pollutants can get trapped inside your hair. Once trapped inside your hair, contaminants are tough to remove. Even regular washing and conditioning may not be enough to remove the trapped pollutants.
When pollution is trapped inside your hair, it can cause damage over time. The most significant cause of concern is pollution damaging the hair follicles. Once the roots are damaged, this can lead to hair thinning and loss. The results can be both temporary and permanent.
How To Protect Hair From Pollution
The best way to prevent hair fall due to pollution is to protect your hair from the harmful effects of pollution. Here are some tips to help you protect your hair from pollution. -
Cover Your Hair
Keep your hair covered when you're outside to protect it from pollution. Caps and hats can help you look fashionable while shielding your tresses from harmful UV rays.
If you ride a bike or are on a pillion, wear a helmet. It not only protects you from accidents, but it also protects you from pollution, dirt, dust, and grime.
However, remember that wearing a helmet should be of high quality and capable of absorbing sweat. Otherwise, too much friction and pulling of strands will accelerate hair loss.
Topically Apply Antioxidants
Because air pollution and its effects on the scalp cells are due to oxidative stress, one of the most important ways to mitigate the effects is to use antioxidants, which are, by definition, anti-oxidative. Look for hair products containing potent antioxidants like green tea and vitamins C and E.
Wash Your Hair Regularly
One of the best ways to prevent hair fall due to pollution is by washing your hair regularly. Shampooing three times a week is a must if you live in a polluted city. People frequently stop shampooing sufficiently out of fear of hair loss. This, however, can cause more hair loss due to pollution affecting the scalp health.
Regular hair cleaning is essential for removing dust particles and pollution. You should also apply conditioner 1-2 times. Use a mild shampoo instead of your regular as they are gentle on the skin.
Use A Pollution-Fighting Shampoo
If air pollution is a significant concern for you, consider investing in a shampoo specifically designed to reduce the adverse effects of air pollution. The right shampoo will remove any harmful debris from your scalp and strands while leaving behind beneficial ingredients (primarily oils and antioxidants) to help seal your hair's cuticle and protect it in the future.
Some shampoos contain ingredients that fight against the harmful effects of pollution. These shampoos are beneficial if you live in a polluted city. Using such a shampoo once a week can help you ward off the damaging effects of pollution.
Protect Your Hair From Heat
Air pollution can damage your hair, but so can the heated air indoors. Using a hair dryer frequently can damage your hair, particularly if you have oily hair. Avoid using heated appliances on your hair, and protect your hair by wearing a scarf.
Take A Collagen Supplement
Because you cannot completely protect yourself from the effects of pollution, you must ensure that as much free radical damage from the inside as possible is neutralized. This includes eating plenty of antioxidants like vitamins C and E and supplementing your body with hydrolyzed collagen.
The main components of hair are keratin and structural lipids. To build keratin, the body requires a variety of amino acids, many of which are found in collagen peptides. One of the keratin's primary amino acids is proline, also located in collagen peptides.
Consuming collagen supplements can act as antioxidants, and these amino acids can theoretically aid in the neutralization of free radicals.
Home Remedies For Protection From Pollution
Now that you understand how dust in hair can affect your tresses and scalp health, let us look at some common yet effective home remedies to protect your hair from pollution.
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect your hair from pollution. Certain foods that can help you protect your hair from pollution are
- Avocados, walnuts, and almonds to get the necessary nutrients to protect your hair from pollution.
- You can also consume broccoli, carrots, and yams to get the necessary antioxidants to protect your hair from the damaging effects of pollution.
- Drinking lots of fluids is another way to protect your hair from the harmful effects of pollution. When your hair comes in contact with pollutants, the liquid in your hair traps the impurities. The more fluids your hair is exposed to, the less likely it is that pollution will damage it.
- Try some natural remedies like massage or aromatic therapy to protect your hair from the harmful effect of pollution. Treat your hair with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and hair oils to keep it healthy and strong.
Protecting your hair from pollution is crucial to keep it healthy and strong. Exposing your hair to pollutants like exhaust fumes can lead to excessive oiliness and breakage.
The best way to protect your hair from the damaging effects of pollution is by following these tips. You can also use hair products that fight against dust to safeguard your hair.
Regardless of the issue, we recommend you undergo a FREE hair test at Traya to understand your scalp issues better. The hair test is an online assessment in which you can fill out all the details and upload images of your scalp.
Our professionals will then provide you with a detailed diagnosis based on your hair type. We also offer a personal hair coach to assist you in consistently meeting your goals. They help you stay motivated long enough to see results.
Do you need help with your hair loss? Visit our website right now for more information and effective treatment!
Q1 - How Can We Protect Our Hair From Pollution?
Ans - Here are some ways you can prevent hair dust:
- Use a scarf, hat, or wrap to protect your hair
- Reduce the usage of heat styling products
- Deep cleanse your hair to combat hair loss due to environmental causes
- Don't try your hair very tightly. Make a loose braid or twist
- Switch to pollution free filter based shampoos and conditioners
- Have a proper diet and active lifestyle.
Q2 - Does Pollution Cause Hair Fall?
Ans - Pollution causes sensitivity, discomfort, and dryness or oiliness on the scalp. Excess sebum production on the scalp results in oily and greasy roots, which can clog pores and block hair follicles, weakening the hair at the core and making it more prone to breakage and fall.
Q3 - Can Your Hair Thin Because Of Air Pollution?
Ans - Yes, environmental stressors like pollution and dust in hair can cause the follicle to weaken. Excess production of sebum blocks the pores and results in damaged hair roots. This makes hair prone to breakage and fall out. In some cases, prolonged exposure can cause hair thinning and even baldness.
Q4 - How Does Hair Become Polluted?
Ans - We already know that the air we breathe is filled with invisible particles and toxic chemical substances in our hair. These pollutants, also called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can accelerate the aging process of our hair by getting trapped inside the hair. They can even cause irreparable hair damage.