Air pollution damaging to human skin

Kathmandu, February 18

Cases of skin related diseases are increasing due to rising pollution levels in Kathmandu Valley.

Exposure of the skin to air pollutants causes allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, miliaria, eczema and acne, among others. Excessive exposure to air pollutants can also cause skin cancer.

A total of 74 patients were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2016, according to Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital. “Organic and inorganic pollutants in the air have been affecting human skin,” said Dr Amit Amatya, associate professor of dermatology, Patan Academy of Health Sciences.

Inorganic pollutants such as dust particles, hydrocarbon, depletion of ozone layer, heavy metals in the air damage the skin. The pores get blocked with these pollutants and as a result there is a formation of acne in the skin.  “The dust particles in the air block the pores in the skin. People suffer from dryness and sticky skin. The sweat glands too get blocked and as a result people suffer from miliaria,” said the doctor. Not only the skin but the hair too gets damaged with the skin. There is no smoothness in it.

The depletion of ozone layer has increased our exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which is one of the causes of skin cancer and premature skin ageing. People are also likely to suffer from anaphylaxis — a kind of allergic reaction, urticaria, a kind of skin rash with red, raised, itchy bumps.