Living in cities makes you look older: Polluted urban air will make you age 10 per cent faster than in the country (?)

This claim is full of holes.  For a start it appears to have been done in China, where the pollution is apocalyptic in many places and includes all sorts of industrial chemicals.  So its generalizability to other countries cannot be accepted.  Secondly, the interpretation of the results is guesswork anyway.  There are many differences between city and country living other than pollution.  A more straightforward interpretation of the results would be to say that city living is more stressful and that produces the differences observed

Women who live in the countryside look younger for longer, a study suggests.  City living makes the skin age 10 per cent faster than a rural existence.

Costmetics firm Procter & Gamble claims that polluted air contains 224 chemicals which damage the skin.  The airborne particles each damage proteins in the skin called keratins, which stop cells drying out.

A study of 200 women aged between 30 and 45, funded by P&G, compared the skin quality of inner-city dwellers with that of women living in the country.

Both groups had similar lifestyles and were exposed to comparable amounts of ultraviolet radiation.

But while those from the country showed higher rates of sunlight-related ageing, overall damage was worse among those living in the inner city.

The research was carried out by Professor Wei Liu, a dermatologist at the China Air Force general hospital in Beijing.

Pollution causes inflammation, disrupts the skin’s barrier, damages the collagen that maintains skin elasticity and accelerates wrinkling and ageing.

Frauke Neuser, scientific spokesman for P&G, which makes Olay and other skincare products, said: ‘In the past it was believed toxic particles in urban dust may stick to the face, but are too large to penetrate skin.  ‘We now know particles as small as 0.1 of a micrometre, many times smaller than a grain of sand, carry a variety of these toxins and can get below the skin.’

Professor Mark Birch-Machin, a molecular dermatologist at Newcastle University, told the Sunday Times there was no dispute that air pollution can damage skin, but added: ‘There are no concrete figures as to how much of a problem this is.’


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