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How Air Pollution Causes Hair Loss & How to Protect It

Wednesday 26th April 23

hair health
5+ min read

Did you know? Living in an urban environment could be taking a toll on the health of your hair, and even contribute to hair loss.

Environmental aggressors like air pollution can wreak havoc on scalp health, leading to itching and inflammation, can structurally impede hair strength, while also contributing to hair loss and retention.

Shielding our vulnerable strands and scalp-skin from air pollution requires innovative ingredients that deliver protective, repairing and strengthening properties to the entire hair and scalp ecosystem. The MONPURE range features a myriad of cutting-edge active ingredients that have been scientifically proven to defend the hair against the toils of pollution.

The Impact of Pollution on Your Hair

Pollution, most abundantly found in urban environments, is composed of particulate matter (fragments of dust, soot and grime), as well as gaseous pollutants. Pollution refers to inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller. These particles can bind to the hair’s surface, infiltrating the follicle and settling on the surface of the scalp. Severe air pollution can alter the condition of the cuticle, giving hair a rough, brittle and dull appearance.

Recent research has provided strong evidence for the link between exposure to pollution and hair loss. Researchers extracted dermal papilla cells - the cells located at the bottom of the hair follicle and which play a vital role in the formation and growth of hair - to various levels of polluted air (composed of diesel and dust) for 24 hours. The hairs were then tested to investigate if any differences had occurred to key growth proteins that are responsible for new hairs forming.

The results revealed that key growth proteins, beta-catenin, cyclin D1, cyclin E and CDK2 decreased significantly. Beta-catenin is particularly important in the formation of new hairs. Increased exposure to pollution saw a greater reduction in essential hair growth proteins and mechanisms, suggesting that air pollution may cause cell death to follicular keratinocytes (self-renewing cells that cycle and regenerate throughout life in the hair growth cycle). This is brought about by an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation, which can impair hair growth.

Hair fibres exposed to higher average pollutant concentrations also experience increased damage to the hair cuticle, cortex and keratin proteins that make up the hair. This damage can result in breakage, a brittle or straw-like texture, weakened hair strands and overall dryness.

When it comes to scalp health, pollution deposits can contribute to scalp itching, irritation, excess sebum production and dandruff, all of which can clog follicles, weakening the hair at the root and making it more susceptible to breakage and fallout.

Ingredients That Protect Your Hair From Pollution

Vegan Silk Peptides

Vegan silk peptides are a vegan alternative to silk peptides that deliver a physical and breathable protective barrier to the hair and scalp. This delivers a robust barrier function against external aggressors such as pollution. In fact, vegan silk peptides improve carbon particle removal up to 83% with each shampoo wash.

City living and exposure to particulate matter can often leave hair brittle and dull. However, vegan silk peptides also improve the hair’s smoothness and shine, leaving it silky to the touch. This star ingredient can be found in abundance in our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, Strengthening Essence-Conditioner and Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask - all of which deliver strength, resilience and protection to the scalp and lengths.

MONPURE products are formulated with a potent percentage of vegan silk peptides, and we are one of the only scalp and haircare brands to include this groundbreaking ingredient in our formulations. Regularly using products with this ample dosage of vegan silk peptides will provide physical protection against pollution, while rebuilding existing damage.

Vegan Keratin

As the building blocks of the hair strand, this hydrolyzed protein works to protect the scalp and hair from pollution by smoothing down the overlapping layers of the vulnerable cuticle. MONPURE’s vegan keratin, featuring hydrolyzed proteins derived from wheat, corn and soybeans, has an identical amino acid composition to human hair. 

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Its film-forming properties condition, moisturise and hydrate the scalp, while also leaving the hair smooth and silky to the touch. Vegan keratin also works to strengthen the bonds between follicles, allowing roots to grow stronger and reinforcing their structural integrity, which is often compromised by exposure to pollution.


Antioxidants function to protect the hair and scalp from harmful oxidative stress, which attacks healthy tissue and leads to damage. Free radicals form when air pollution and UV radiation enter the body. Introducing a topical scalpcare product that is teeming with antioxidants is an effective way to arm your scalp against these environmental aggressors.

Our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask’s hero ingredient, camellia tea oil, delivers an instant infusion of antioxidants and vitamins that work to neutralise the effects of oxidative stress, ultimately providing protection and nourishment. Multiple studies have illustrated the effectiveness of camellia tea extract against urban air pollutants. For example, recent research showed that this natural extract prevents air pollutant-induced skin ageing, such as the degradation of collagen and other vital proteins.

MONPURE’s Ultralight Healthy Hair Oil is formulated with the powerful antioxidant, Coenzyme Q10, an ingredient that is key for fighting oxidative stress and free radicals on the hair. This unique ingredient is also effective at maintaining youthful, shiny looking hair. 

Many of MONPURE’s products are also formulated with Vitamin C, an antioxidant which is shown to hold anti-pollution benefits and counteracts oxidative stress. Studies have illustrated that topical use of Vitamin C amongst women living in high pollution urban areas improves skin barrier function and reduces the skin’s oxidative stress levels. Discover Vitamin C in the Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum and Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.

City living and exposure to pollution can wreak serious havoc on the hair and scalp, even leading to hair loss and impaired hair growth. With a focus on fostering scalp and hair health from beneath the surface, MONPURE’s solutions work to create an eco-barrier on the surface of the hair and scalp to prevent the penetration and adhesion of pollutants, restore the integrity of the hair from the inside out, and cultivate the healthiest possible dermatological condition of the scalp.


Discover award-winning, scientifically proven solutions that maximise hair and scalp health.

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