Skillman, N.J. — New research suggests that exposure to amounts of pollution commonly found in urban areas may more than double skin damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, Medscape Today reports.
The study also suggests that smoking and extreme weather exacerbate skin damage associated with being exposed to the sun’s rays.
To determine whether exposure to pollution and other environmental factors aggravates damage from UV rays, researchers at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies in Skillman placed skin cells in chambers mimicking different environmental conditions, including:
• UV radiation alone
• UV radiation and cigarette smoke
• UV radiation and temperatures reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit
• UV radiation and below-freezing temperatures
• UV radiation and high winds
• UV radiation and ozone
The researchers then measured key chemicals associated with premature aging of the skin due to sun damage. They found that levels of all the chemicals were higher in skin cells placed in chambers that included a second environmental stressor. Investigators presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held in February in New Orleans.
Medscape Today notes that the study’s findings have not yet undergone the peer review process and therefore should be considered preliminary.