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† C. Bad Air May Lead to Bad Skin

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you have dry, itchy or scaly skin and live in a big city, chances are ozone, a major air pollutant, may be the reason. University of California, Berkeley researcher Jens (YENS) Theile (TEE-LA) says pollution is already known to cause respiratory problems such as asthma.

Thiele: So we hypothesized that this very strong oxidant, ozone, may also affect the skin. So we started off doing experiments looking at different layers of the skin and looking at anti-oxidants and found that ozone depletes vitamin E and vitamin C only in the outermost layer of the skin.

Narrator: That layer is the barrier between the skin and the rest of the body. In the lab, ozone-exposed mice also suffered damaged lipids, or fatty molecules.

Theile: So, at this point, we have found the first evidence that ozone in addition to UV light may be another environmental source of oxididative stress in the skin.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.