How Pollution Affects Your Hair

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From 2020 to 2021, Singapore’s PM10 level of pollution rose by three points to 28 micrograms per cubic metre. This was above Singapore’s aim to reduce the PM10 level to 20 micrograms. PM10 measures small particles found in dust and smoke. 

While the 2021 level isn’t as bad as the 37 micrograms recorded during the 2015 haze season, limiting PM10 levels as much as possible can reduce the impact of pollution on our health.  

You might only be thinking about allergies and respiratory illnesses. But what’s at stake is your hair health, too. Those small particles measured by the PM10 can irritate your scalp and hair follicles. Below, we share more about the effects of pollution on your hair and various solutions, like shampoos and hair supplements.

How pollution contributes to hair loss and sensitive scalp symptoms


While everyone will experience hair loss as they get older, it can be accelerated when you expose your hair to air pollutants such as smoke, dust, and fossil fuels. In a 2019 study, Hyuk Chul Kwon from the Future Science Research Centre in the Republic of Korea, showed that pollution reduced beta-catenin, a protein responsible for hair growth. 

Aside from hair loss, repeated exposure to air pollutants can cause particles to settle on your scalp, aggravating it. This can be bad news if you have sensitive scalp and easily develop symptoms like itchiness, pain, inflammation and redness.


Preventing hair damage from pollution

Now that you know the impact of pollution on your hair, you can take steps to protect your hair, especially if your scalp is easily triggered by environmental changes.

  • Cover your hair

Using hats and caps while going out will not only make you look fashionable and trendy, but it will also keep your hair protected from pollution and shield it from ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

Remember to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.  It prevents air particles and dust from building up in your hair and scalp. And, as a bonus, you’ll protect yourself in the event of an accident.

  • Wash your hair

Regularly washing your hair will not only ensure good hygiene but also prevent hair loss. There is no blanket recommendation on how often exactly you should wash your hair. It depends on your age, hair type,  hair length, and the activities you do on any given day. 

For the average person, though, washing your hair every two to three days is a good rule of thumb.

As part of your hair washing routine, you can purchase shampoo designed to reduce the effects of pollution. Such shampoos contain antioxidants and can reduce colour fade and mineral buildup.

  • Watch what you eat

Air pollution contains free radical chemicals that contribute to hair loss. One of the ways to combat them is by getting enough antioxidants. Besides shampoos, as mentioned above, you can get antioxidants from a healthy diet. Acai, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, for instance, are good sources of antioxidants.

Speaking of foods, you should also limit your intake of fatty foods. According to an article published in Nature, obesity-induced stress can disrupt hair follicle stem cells, accelerating hair thinning. 

Allowing your hair to be constantly exposed to pollution and eating fatty foods can be a potentially toxic combination for your hair.

  • Use hair supplements

Another way to protect your hair from the effects of pollution and other free radical chemicals in our surroundings is to consume or apply supplements. They contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that promote hair growth and slow down the process of hair loss. 

Supplements for hair growth or hair loss can be particularly useful if you have a busy schedule and find it hard to consume all the nutrients you need to protect and fortify your hair. 

Looking for hair supplements in Singapore? Consult us to get recommendations and other treatments

A hair clinic can give you advice on what supplement suits you and how you can best protect your hair from damage. Scalp sensitivity experienced from pollution can also indicate other underlying hair conditions. With proper diagnosis, you can take remedial steps quickly. 

At Terra Medical, we have years of experience in scalp and hair diagnostics to provide you with the treatment that fits your needs. Contact us today.

About Terra Medical

With years of experience and excellent patient care, Terra Medical is a dedicated hair loss clinic that specialises in innovative hair restoration techniques, as well as a holistic approach to overall hair wellness. The hair clinic is led by an internationally credentialed team of doctors, Dr. Joshua Chong & Dr. Jia Cheng Heng, and a team of experienced hair restoration technicians. The clinic aims to provide precision and care of the highest standards to achieve natural-looking and long-lasting results for our patients.

We cater to each of our patient’s individual needs and expectations through comprehensive consultations and personalised treatment plans tailored by the doctors. These treatment plans can be a combination of the following: FUE hair transplant, Regenera Activa (AMT), and more.

Beyond just our clinical expertise, we understand how challenging it is to face hair loss alone. As a leading hair restoration clinic, our specialised team provides compassion, empathy, and ongoing support throughout your journey, ensuring you feel heard, empowered, and informed every step of the way.

Rediscover the joy of fuller, healthier hair. Schedule a consultation with Terra Medical today.