Air Pollution and Skin Aging

Curr Environ Health Rep. 2020 Mar;7(1):58-64. doi: 10.1007/s40572-020-00262-9.


Purpose of the review: The evidence on the role of air pollution on skin aging has increased in recent years. The accumulating evidence is based on both, epidemiological and mechanistic studies. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the recent evidence on the impacts of air pollution on skin aging as well as identify knowledge gaps for future research.

Recent findings: Traffic-related air pollution exposure (particulate matter (PM), soot and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)) has been associated with premature skin aging in several independent cohorts. In real life, human skin is additionally exposed to UV radiation, which is known for its effects on premature skin aging. More recent epidemiological findings suggest that (1) associations of PM can be altered by UV radiation with stronger PM associations at lower levels of UV, and (2) there is an association of tropospheric ozone with wrinkle formation, independent of NO2, PM, and UV. The association between traffic-related air pollution and skin aging has been well-established. More recent epidemiological studies focused on the associations with ozone as well as interactions with of ambient air pollution with UV radiation, a research area that is becoming more important with the increase of global warming.

Keywords: Environmental influences; Nitrogen oxides; Ozone; Particulate matter; Soot; Ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / toxicity
  • Ozone / toxicity
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Soot / toxicity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Soot
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide