Is Air Pollution Killing Your Hair?

Is Air Pollution Killing Your Hair?

Can polluted air damage your hair? We worry about breathing dirty air in our cities but forget about the effect it has on our skin and hair. Pollution can have just as profound effect on the rest of our body as it does on our respiratory system.

Air pollution removes much-needed moisture from our hair, damages its texture, and causes scalp diseases, dandruff, and even premature baldness. 

If you live in a highly polluted area, such as a large city, you need to pay special attention to your hair. Without taking measures, you may end up dealing with some of the above issues. If it’s impossible to take your hair away from air pollution, you need to keep air pollution away from your tresses.

So how does pollution damage hair?

In much the same way as pollution damages cells throughout our body, whether they be part of our respiratory system or surface cells like skin. Tiny contaminants such as dust, soot, and grime settle on your skin and scalp and clog the pores.

Scientists are working on new ways to combat hair loss due to poor air quality in our urban areas, as studies show a clear increase in the number of people in urban areas suffering severe hair loss due to higher levels of pollution.

Thankfully, it’s not too hard to protect your hair properly. Most likely, you are already doing something about it. The more attention you pay to your locks, the less likely you are to experience adverse effects of toxic air.

  1. Wear A Hat

A hat is the simplest way to protect your hair from all types of damage, from UV rays and cold air to dangerous contaminants. If you think that a hat is ruining your image, consider what absence of hair can do to it.

Opt for hats made out of natural materials so they allow your scalp to get as much oxygen as possible. This can prevent sweating and keep your sebaceous glands from overacting.

  1. Forget about Heat

When you use styling instruments that involve heating your hair, you are making it more susceptible to pollution. As the hair becomes brittle and develops split ends, you are more likely to notice problems after spending time outdoors.

Keep the heat out of your styling routine. If you can’t avoid hairdryers and curling irons, take advantage of heat protection products developed especially for your hair type.

  1. Invest in an Air Purifier

Air purifiers in your home and office can take care of your hair without you making any efforts. These appliances are equipped with HEPA filters, which deal with 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter. Simply said, they filter out all contaminants that could damage your hair.

Freshairguide recommend buying an air purifier with washable filters so the maintenance of the appliance is much cheaper than normal. Usually filters must be replaced on a biannual basis. Additionally, an air purifier can help you avoid respiratory problems and allergies as well as take care of unpleasant odors.

  1. Reduce the Use of Styling Products

Heavy styling products damage your hair by clogging scalp pores and not allowing the hair to grow properly. Meanwhile, they attract pollutants, worsening the condition of your hair even further.

Consider removing as many styling products as possible from your routine. Try to opt for gels, mousses, and creams that contain as little chemicals as possible.

  1. Shampoo Twice a Week

Some people can’t see themselves going out of the house without washing their hair. Meanwhile, excessive washing doesn’t do you any good either. Just the opposite, it dries out your skin, fooling the sebaceous glands into overacting. As they produce more sebum, your hair seems greasy and looks as if it needs a wash. Looks like catch-22, doesn’t it?

You can force yourself out of the vicious cycle by limiting the number of times you shampoo. If you feel as if you absolutely have to wash your hair, use conditioner only. Try not to touch hair roots when applying the conditioner. With time, you can limit washing your hair to two or three times a week.

  1. Adjust Your Diet

Living in a polluted environment requires a special approach to your health. As your body works hard filtering out the pollutants, you need to give it a hand. Try to take a smart approach to your diet, keep fast food out of your life, and drink plenty of clean water.

All the talk about fruits and veggies being an integral part of a healthy lifestyle is not just a promotional campaign. Vitamins and minerals you find there can help boost your immune system and avoid unfortunate consequences of air pollution.

  1. Get a Head Massage

While you are washing your hair, give your head a good massage. Such massage has numerous benefits, from removing contaminants from your hair and scalp to improving blood circulation.

Regular head massages wake up sleeping follicles and improves the overall condition of your hair. It takes only two to three minutes to achieve excellent results.

Final Thoughts

Is air pollution damaging your hair? If you live in an excessively polluted city, then it definitely is. If you live in a polluted environment, you have to make an extra effort to protect your  hair and skin. Thankfully, you don’t need to do anything hard to achieve healthy hair. The above tips can help you deal with pollution and enjoy beautiful hair for years to come.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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