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Traffic air pollution can develop facial Lentigines: Study

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Washington: A new study has revealed a connection between the levels of traffic-related air pollution and air pollution-associated gases which result in the formation of dark spots on the skin, known as Lentigines.

Lead researcher Jean Krutmann, MD, of the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Dusseldorf, Germany said the traffic-related air pollution is characterized by increased concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). While NO2 exposure is known to be associated with low lung function and lung cancer, the effect of NO2 on human skin has never been investigated.

Researchers from Elsevier performed a sensitivity analysis to find out whether it was the concentration of particulate matter or NO2 gas that had a greater impact on dark spot formation.

They found that the NO2 gas had a slightly stronger effect than the particulate matter concentration.

The study found that Lentigines, also known as liver spots, are small, darkened areas of the skin. Although they may first appear small, they may enlarge and separate patches may merge.

Lentigines, which contain an increased number of the melanin-forming cells of the skin (melanocytes), are most commonly found on the face, forearms, hands, and upper trunk. Usually brown in color, lentigines can appear yellow-tan to black.

Additionally, they are more common in light-skinned individuals and in the US, solar (sun-associated) lentigines are noted in 90% of Caucasians older than 60 and 20% of those younger than 35 years.

The study is published in the journal of Investigative Dermatology.(ANI)

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