Accompanied by a satellite image of the human fingerprint on global air quality, a recent NASA report stated that the United States and Europe are the largest emitters of nitrogen dioxide, “a yellow-brown gas that is a common emission from cars, power plants and industrial activity… [which] can quickly transform into ground-level ozone, a major respiratory pollutant in urban smog,” (December, 2015). Only this past summer, London's air-pollution levels surpassed those recorded in Beijing, resulting in the capital's highest-ever air pollution alert. Other cities on the top 150 most polluted list include: Shanghai (#35), Barcelona (#92), Hong Kong (#100), Paris (#108), and Los Angeles (#136).
Studies have found that living in a polluted area ages your skin by over a year once you reach the age of 40. Afterwards, the effects of pollution age the skin by an additional six months per subsequent decade. As Professor Jean Krutmann, director at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany, stated inThe Guardian: “UV [damage from the sun] was really the topic in skin protection for the last 20-30 years. Now I think air pollution has the potential to keep us busy for the next few decades,” (July, 2016).