Smoke, dust and fog envelops many of the modern cities as a consequence of human activity. Smoke / photochemical smog is the new living environment for millions of people. Microscopic particles contained in the smoke emitted by factories, thermal power stations, machinery and many other sources are emitted into the atmosphere every day.
Atmospheric pollutants do not damage the skin just by direct action, but also contribute to the erosion of the ozone layer. Cosmic radiation that is normally blocked by the ozone layer infiltrates the atmosphere. Exposure to solar radiation is now more intense and wider than ever in the history of mankind.
The effects of solar radiation on the skin are already widely known, while the effects of pollution are still underestimated. Studies on skin protection means that atmospheric pollution has now become one of the most important causes of premature aging. The effects are skin dryness, pigmentation disorders, skin barrier dysfunctions. A scientific study compared women living in urban and rural environments for 24 years. It has been found that women living in heavily polluted areas show signs of more severe skin aging, especially hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
Solid / liquid pollutant particles suspended in the atmosphere have extremely small dimensions, in some cases 20 times smaller than the pores. Lung, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), metallic organic compounds, are less than 2.5 microns in size; dust, pollen, spores less than 10 microns; sand particles measure about 90 microns. We compare these pore size digits (70-125 microns). The small dimensions of some pollutant particles allow them to infiltrate the depth of skin structures.
The production of free radicals and the initiation of cascade effects in the skin are followed by acute / chronic local inflammation. Deterioration of bipolar lipids in the stratum corneum has the effect of altering barrier function, skin dryness, decreased response to microbes, irritants, allergens, pollutants. Disorders such as acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis are exacerbated in polluted air. Collagen in the dermis is also affected, which translates into a decrease in elasticity and firmness of the skin. Among the most severe effects of atmospheric pollution is the deterioration of skin DNA, genetic mutations culminating in various forms of malignant tumors. There is a link between air pollution and various rashes. It has been reported that in times of high pollution levels in urban environments the number of medical consultations for respiratory problems, rash, headache increases. A correlation between air pollution and non-respiratory allergies is confirmed. Skin rash such as atopic dermatitis, eczema is directly related to the level of ozone and air pollutants.