Children are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution than are adults. Children have increased exposure to many air pollutants compared with adults because children spend more time outdoors than adults, thus they have increased exposure to outdoor air pollution.

There are numerous toxins floating in the air we breathe, which are regularly being produced by motor vehicles, industrial facilities, residential wood combustion, agricultural burning, and many other sources. The levels tend to be highest on warm, sunny, windless days and often peak in mid-afternoon when children are most likely to be playing outside.

Effects of Pollution on the Skin of children:

  • Ozone in photochemical smog diminishes Vitamin E levels in the skin, disturbing wound-healing processes and stimulating oxidative stress.
  • Skin exposed to pollution suffers a higher sebum secretion rate as compared to non-polluted areas.
  • Cutaneous pH tends to reduce when exposed to pollution.
  • Squalene and vitamin E are the main antioxidants at the skin surface. Squalene is reduced in polluted areas because it is mobilized to fight oxidative stress in the skin.

Human skin faces an aerial oxidative environment naturally. The environment presents an unpredictable oxidative potential because it is enhanced by solar rays probably combined with aerial-borne pollutants which most commonly act as catalysts in the diverse oxidative pathways. The human sebum highly present on the upper parts of the body as the face is thus a natural “receptor” of these oxidative actions. 10–20 % of sebum is Squalene which is highly sensitive towards different types of Reactive Oxygen Species. Squalene appears as natural bio-markers of most oxidative reactions on the cutaneous tissue.

Squalene being an antioxidant can act as oxygen supplement. It is highly sensitive to singlet oxygen which is a very reactive oxidative species. It assists the oxygen delivery throughout the body. The antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Increased production of free radicals can result in oxidative stress, causing imbalance and leading to oxidative damage, cell death, tissue damage and finally disease. Inhalation of cigarette smoke and exposure to air pollution contribute a lot to the generation of free radicals.

The intake of squalene as a health care supplement is crucial to deal with the pollution as the levels of squalene gets decreased due to pollution. Squalene can help a lot to deal with pollution by neutralizing the increased production of free radicals. Thus a number of medical conditions in children can be prevented by using squalene as a health supplement, which can occur due to increased free radicals.