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Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017 May 19;10:199-204. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S131323. eCollection 2017.

Pollution and acne: is there a link?

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IUF - Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Düsseldorf, Germany.
La Roche Posay Dermatological Laboratories, Asnières, France.
Department of Dermatology, The General Hospital of Air Force, PLA, Beijing, People's Republic of China.
Dr. Kandhari's Skin & Dental Clinic, New Delhi, India.
Drs. Woo and Hann Skin Center, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea.
Division of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Department of Dermatology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.


In recent years, the critical role that inflammation may play in the development and progression of acne has become increasingly recognized. The prevalence of acne is similar between Asian and Caucasian women, but Asian women have a higher prevalence of inflammatory acne. They also report their symptoms exacerbate during periods of high air pollution. The objective of this study was to review the current evidence that links air pollution to worsening of acne symptoms. Firstly, a group of five Asian and three European scientists with expertise in Dermatology reviewed the current literature and described current acne treatment practices in their countries. During this activity, they identified the need for further epidemiological and clinical research. Secondly, additional studies ensued which provided evidence that acne symptoms might exacerbate in regions of high ambient air pollution. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that people with acne should protect the natural barrier function of their skin with emollients and ultraviolet (UV)A/UVB protection.


Asia; acne; epidemiology; pathophysiology; pollution

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure S Seité and D Moyal are employees of La Roche Posay Dermatological Laboratories, Asnières, France. The authors report no other conflicts of interest in this work.

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