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A New Intersection: Could Anti-pollution Mean Anti-acne?

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Recent work published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology explored whether a connection exists between pollution and inflammatory acne. According to the report, the role of inflammation in the development and progression of acne is increasingly being recognized—in relation, pollution has been linked to inflammatory processes.

Co-author on the paper, Jean Krutmann, M.D., of the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, stated in a previous webcast that pollution can exacerbate acne. And interestingly, as the new paper reports, while the prevalence of acne is similar between Asian and Caucasian women, Asian women experience inflammatory acne more frequently and report flare-ups during high pollution periods.

This review revealed acne is believed to have multiple causes based on three main observations: increased sebum production, abnormal keratinization and, more recently, inflammatory reactions. And while a need for further research was identified, the authors concluded evidence exists connecting acne symptoms with regions having high levels of air pollution.

As a result, the authors suggest individuals afflicted by acne should protect their skin using emollients and sun protection. They also note that mechanistic studies will provide a better understanding for this link; such as whether pollution exposure may oxidize squalene, or if changes occur in the composition and quality of sebum with pollution.

Research will continue at this interesting crossroads where two major market segments, acne and inflammation, meet. Perhaps the two could forge a new path in a crowded marketplace.

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