Particulate matter makes our skin age faster.

Whether you're traveling in the smoggy streets of Delhi or just chilling inside your apartment in Hyderabad, chances are you're surrounded by these sneaky little troublemakers called particulate matter (PM). They're microscopic particles floating in the air that you can't see, but they're not exactly harmless. In fact, not only can inhaling them can be dangerous, but they also contribute to making our skin age faster. And living here in India where pollution is at an all-time high doesn’t do us or our skin any favors.

But fear not, there are two very cool molecules called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and coenzyme Q10 (Q10) that naturally occur in our cells and play a crucial role in energizing them. These super cool guys can actually help protect our skin cells from the aging effects of PM. 

Researchers in Taiwan discovered that when human skin cells get exposed to PM, they start having higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and senescent cells. But when they treated these cells with NMN, both ROS and senescent cells decreased. Q10, on the other hand, specifically reduced senescent cells. Talk about a powerful duo! NMN and Q10 also brought down the levels of inflammatory markers and ramped up the activity of an enzyme called sirtuin 1, which is associated with longevity.

To test the impact of NMN and Q10 on PM-induced skin aging, the scientists exposed human skin cells to PM and then gave them a dose of either NMN or Q10. They discovered that the PM-exposed cells had higher levels of ROS, which can be harmful to cells. But when they treated these cells with NMN, the ROS levels decreased, indicating that NMN tackles the oxidative stress caused by ROS.

As we grow older, our cells face all sorts of challenges like oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage. These factors can push our cells into a state called senescence, where they stop dividing and start causing inflammation, leading to age-related diseases. When the researchers exposed human skin cells to PM, they saw an increase in senescent cells. 

But guess what? 

Treating the cells with NMN or Q10 actually reduced the number of these senescent cells.

It turns out that long-term exposure to PM is linked to a higher risk of diseases and even death worldwide. Nasty stuff! Air pollution, which contains high levels of PM, is particularly associated with conditions like a fading sense of smell, memory decline, weaker bones, heart issues, and lung cancer. So, we really need to find ways to protect ourselves, knowing that there’s no dearth of air pollution in our country.

NMN, is a molecule that our cells use to produce something called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is crucial for the functioning of an enzyme called SIRT1. This enzyme is like a shield against cellular senescence, oxidative stress, and DNA damage. NAD+ is also important for energy production and keeping our mitochondria (the powerhouses of our cells) in top shape—just like Q10. So, here's the big question: 

Can boosting NAD+ with NMN shield our skin from PM and prevent premature aging? 

It's worth exploring!

Recent studies have shown that when human skin cells are hit with a combo of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and PM, it triggers more ROS, inflammation, and senescent cells. But hey, there's good news! Applying a mix of vitamins C and E actually reduces these signs of aging. 

Similarly, NMN, has been found to protect the skin from UV damage in mice. And get this—a different study showed that PM actually stimulates the production of skin melanin, which NMN can help reduce in rodents.

So, here’s the deal: While there's a heap of research suggesting that PM speeds up skin aging and affects other organs, there's still not enough on how to shield ourselves from it. 

But based on the available evidence, we gotta ask ourselves if  NMN  can protect us from aging. Animal studies have shown its effectiveness when taken internally, so let's dive deeper and find out.