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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2016 Jun;38(3):217-23. doi: 10.1111/ics.12270. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Consequences of urban pollution upon skin status. A controlled study in Shanghai area.

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L'Oreal Research & Innovation, 11-13 rue Dora Mar, 93400, Saint-Ouen, France.
L'Oreal Research & Innovation, 188 rue Paul Hochart BP 553, 94152, Chevilly-Larue, France.
L'Oreal Research & Innovation, No. 550 JinYu Rd., Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China.



After preliminary studies aimed at measuring pertinent biochemical parameters, potentially modified in subjects exposed to bad environmental conditions, a dedicated study was performed in Shanghai city to evaluate the effect of Urban pollution upon human skin and to collect feedback from the volunteers under study.


This study was performed during summer 2008 in two different districts of Shanghai, on 159 local residents: 79 subjects from Xu Jia Hui (a centre Shanghainese area), more exposed to pollution, and 80 subjects from Chong Ming, an agricultural region closely located north of Shanghai (<100 kms) and less exposed to pollution, according to official data. Biochemical parameters were measured on skin, and feedback from volunteers was collected through a graduated 'Likert scale' questionnaire under a point scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree and none).


The study demonstrated significant differences in several biochemical parameters measured in Chong Ming area, as compared to Urban area, with an increased ratio of squalene/lipids, a lower level of lactic acid and a better cohesion of stratum corneum. Both sebum excretion rate and sebum casual levels did not differ between the two districts. The volunteer's feedback evidenced a perceived link between pollution and their skin problems.


This study demonstrated a significant impact of the pollution upon the skin status, as illustrated by changes in superficial biochemical parameters and volunteers' perception.


biochemical analysis; environmental pollution; multicentre clinical study; skin physiology

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