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Human Skin Fights Pollution

Human Skin Fights Pollution

©istock.com/Manuel Faba Ortega

As a health reporter, I have to follow many studies so I can stay on top of the latest research. The best part of this self-education is reading some of the weird stuff going on in academia. From time to time, I do a column on research about “Silly Science.” Here's another...

Danish researchers report that squalene oil, an antioxidant on human skin, reduces indoor ozone, which is a pollutant that irritates the eyes and mucous membranes.

Humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every two to four weeks. Flakes of skin, which contain squalene, are a major component of dust. 

The researchers examined how squalene from dust in 500 bedrooms affected indoor air pollution. They found that squalene in settled dust reduced ozone levels about 2 to 15 percent. 

Previous studies also revealed that squalene from human skin helped lower levels of ozone from the air in airplane cabins. More than half of the ozone removal measured in a simulated aircraft cabin was attributed to ozone reacting with skin, hair and clothing of passengers.

Fred Cicetti

Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. 

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