The levels of pollution in the air of our cities is growing constantly and our society is becoming more aware of its negative consequences for our health and skin and hair conditions. Fine particles, specifically those measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, are of particular concern. Researchers have identified correlations between the levels of such particles and skin health.
Some companies, such as Provital Group, have researched the potential for active ingredients derived from natural products to protect and repair skin and hair. After applying one such formulation, based on an extract from artichoke leaves, to tresses in ex-vivo testing, the cuticular scales that make up the outer layer of each hair shaft appeared closed when viewed under a scanning electron microscope.
When exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the hair to which the formulation had been applied suffered less protein and lipid degradation than the untreated tresses, and also damages were repaired, confirming this dual protect and repair effect.
Skin-focused formulations have also been developed. An in vivo test of a blend of ginseng, apple, peach, wheat and barley extracts, which took place in a very polluted Chinese city, associated the formulation with a reduction in yellowish skin tone and excess sebum.
With the United Nations forecasting that 66% of people will live in urban areas in 2050, up from 30% in 1950, the market for formulations that can counter pollutions is expected to grow.