Is Pollution Making Your Hair Frizzy?

how pollution is damaging your hair

You’re probably familiar with anti-pollution skincare. With environments becoming increasingly urbanised and polluted, beauty brands have been launching serums, creams, cleansers and even masks to combat the damage caused by pollution. Even in Singapore, the number two city in the world with the highest Green View Index (a rating that calculates the percentage of canopy coverage based on aerial images), pollution is unavoidable. Just think of all the vehicle emissions and particulate matter emerging from construction sites. Not to mention how the dry season brings along with it the threat of haze from forest fires blowing in from our neighbouring countries.

While we protect our skin, we seldom spare a thought for our hair, which as exposed to the pollutants as our skin. How does pollution affect our hair and scalp? Here are three things that happen:

1. Your hair becomes dull

For one, pollution particles that settle on your hair can cause it to lose its shine. It’s all dirt, but the particulate matter are small enough to embed themselves in the hair cuticles. So if your shampoo is not able to efficiently remove all these particles, they are just going to build up and cause your hair to lose its natural shine. And no amount of hair serum or oil is going to work to restore its shine, because the products are just going to add on to the impurities in hair and weigh it down further, which brings us to our next point.

2. Your hair becomes frizzy and prone to breakage

The pollutants not only make your hair look dull. They may prevent the hair cuticles from closing, leading to frizzy hair. This is because once the cuticle is open, moisture from the environment settles into them causing the hair strand to swell. This is especially likely to happen in a humid climate like Singapore’s. Now you know why your hair just turns into an unruly mop once you step out of the house.

The pollutants also damage hair, weakening it and making it more susceptible to breakage.

3. Your scalp health gets affected

And there’s the problem of your scalp. Your scalp is skin too. So pollutants affect them roughly the same way it affects the skin on your face and body. Particulates can clog up hair follicles and, when not removed properly, this could lead to hair loss. Free radicals from pollutants can also affect your scalp health, causing dandruff and irritation. They can also lead to premature ageing, which can then accelerate hair loss.

So look for hair products that are rich in antioxidants and those that can help detox your scalp to protect your crowning glory from pollution. Here are five we like:

More from CLEO: 
Why You Need To ‘Skinify’ Your Haircare Routine
These Products With Superfoods Will Give You Healthier Hair
12 Shampoos For Asian Hair To Solve All Your Hair Issues 


Text: Kayce Teo 
Image: Shutterstock

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