Skin exposome science in practice: current evidence on hair biomonitoring and future perspectives

B. M.R. Appenzeller, M. Chadeau-Hyam, L. Aguilar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The skin exposome, defined as the totality of environmental exposures from conception to death that can induce or modify various skin conditions, compiles environmental, lifestyle and psychosocial exposures, as well as the resulting internal biological and physiological responses to these exposures. Biomonitoring can be used to obtain information on the internal dose of pollutants. The concentration of biomarkers in body fluids is highly variable over time due to differential elimination kinetics of chemicals, whereas they accumulate in hair. Hair analysis thus provides information on cumulative exposure over a longer period of time, and so can be used for assessing chronic exposure to pollutants. Studies on hair samples collected from 204 women living in two cities in China with different levels of pollution demonstrated that hair damage and the skin microbiome are biomarkers of a polluted city and long-term exposure to pollution and UV can increase signs of facial ageing. Adopting an exposome approach to skin health requires assessing multiple exposures and biological consequences, possibly in relation to longitudinally followed-up health outcomes. Leveraging “omics” data (e.g. metabolomics, proteomics, genomics and microbiome) and big data analytics, in particular multivariate analysis, will help to further understand the impact of pollution on skin and the combined effects with other exposome factors, including solar radiation and other environmental exposures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue numberS4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


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