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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Aug;33(8):1496-1505. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15583. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

The impact of airborne pollution on skin.

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Department of Dermatology and Venereal Diseases, First Pavlov State Medical University of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia.
San Gallicano Dermatological Institute, Rome, Italy.
Department of Dermatology and Allergy, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, UFMG Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
Instituto De Dermatologia Integral, Madrid, Spain.
L'Oréal Advanced Research, Aulnay-sous-Bois, France.
L'Oréal Cosmétique Active International, Levallois-Perret, France.
Onco-Dermatology Department, CHU Nantes, CRCINA, University Nantes, Nantes, France.


Indoor and outdoor airborne pollutants modify our environment and represent a growing threat to human health worldwide. Airborne pollution effects on respiratory and cardiac health and diseases have been well established, but its impact on skin remains poorly described. Nonetheless, the skin is one of the main targets of pollutants, which reach the superficial and deeper skin layers by transcutaneous and systemic routes. In this review, we report the outcomes of basic and clinical research studies monitoring pollutant levels in human tissues including the skin and hair. We present a current understanding of the biochemical and biophysical effects of pollutants on skin metabolism, inflammatory processes and oxidative stress, with a focus on polyaromatic hydrocarbons and ground-level ozone that are widespread outdoor pollutants whose effects are mostly studied. We reviewed the literature to report the clinical effects of pollutants on skin health and skin ageing and their impact on some chronic inflammatory skin diseases. We also discuss the potential interactions of airborne pollutants with either ultraviolet radiation or human skin microbiota and their specific impact on skin health.

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