Pollution and skin: from epidemiological and mechanistic studies to clinical implications

J Dermatol Sci. 2014 Dec;76(3):163-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2014.08.008. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


In recent years, the health effects associated with air pollution have been intensively studied. Most studies focus on air pollution effects on the lung and the cardiovascular system. More recently, however, epidemiological and mechanistic studies suggest that air pollution is also affecting skin integrity. This state-of-the-art review focuses on this latter aspect; it was developed with the collaboration of European and Chinese board of experts with specific interests in environmental health, clinical and basic research in dermatology and cosmetic dermatology. A literature review limited to pollution and health effects and (sensitive) skin was performed using PubMed. Review and original articles were chosen. We summarize the existing scientific evidence that air pollution exerts detrimental effects on human skin, discuss potential clinical implications and suggest specific and unspecific cosmetic protective measures.

Keywords: Arylhydrocarbon receptor; Dermocosmetics; Ozone; Particulate matter; Sensitive skin; Skin aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Ozone / toxicity
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / injuries*


  • Particulate Matter
  • Ozone