Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Study Shows Extreme Weather May Also Worsen Skin Damage From Ultraviolet Radiation

WebMD Health News

Pollution May Aggravate Skin Damage From Sun

Feb. 8, 2011 (New Orleans) -- Exposure to amounts of pollution typically found in urban environments may more than double skin damage from the sun, preliminary research suggests.

Extreme weather and smoking may also increase the skin damage associated with ultraviolent (UV) radiation, the study suggests.

Michelle Garay, MS, of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies in Skillman, N.J., and colleagues presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

It's well known that repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds can cause wrinkles and other skin damage and even lead to skin cancer. But researchers wanted to see if exposure to pollution and other environmental factors, such as extreme temperatures, would further aggravate damage from UV rays.

Testing for Sun Damage

The researchers placed skin cells in a variety of special chambers mimicking different environmental conditions, including:

  • UV radiation alone.
  • UV radiation plus cigarette smoke.
  • UV radiation plus heat reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • UV radiation plus temperatures dropping below freezing.
  • UV radiation plus high winds.
  • UV radiation plus ozone.

Then the researchers measured key chemicals associated with premature aging of the skin due to sun damage.

Levels of all the chemicals were higher in skin cells placed in chambers that included a second environmental stressor than in the chamber with UV radiation alone.

Past AAD president Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City, says that while preliminary, the work generates new hypotheses that deserve testing.

"I don't think anyone has ever looked at this before," he tells WebMD.

The AAD already advises people to use extra sun protection near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun that can increase your chance of sunburn, Rigel says. "It could be that people who live in polluted areas also need extra sun protection, though that remains to be tested."

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

Brush up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices