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Study Shows Diesel Fumes Damage Skin

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Bad news for truckers and people in the city—according to a collection of five studies in Germany and China by Professor Krutmann of the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, fumes emitted by diesel engines can seriously damage your skin.

Rolling Coal

The culprit is the cloud of particulates, microscopic specks of soot, which diesel engines produce. Particulates, which are covered in a slick film of unburnt fuel, are already known to damage lungs and cause asthma, but now are believed to also be able to penetrate the skin’s outer layer, causing an increase in the number of cells called melanocytes, which release skin pigment.

Of the study, Professor Krutmann said, “We found that people living in cities have skin that ages faster, with many more pigment spots over their faces.”

The study also pointed out that this may be a reason why city dwellers normally look older than those who live in the country. “People exposed to high urban air pollution have more pigment spots because the pollution makes their skin age faster than those living in the country,” Krutmann said.

The only long-term solution, Krutmann said, was for governments to institute regulatory changes to reduce pollution. However, he added that there was not sufficient evidence yet to call for people to take direct action to protect themselves by applying barrier creams.