Summer is here and so is the monstrous TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss). As the days pass by in summers, people start complaining about very dry, dehydrated, and dull skin. They point out a not-so-strange phenomenon of having their skin oily yet very dehydrated. It is like everyone is worried about their skin as the summer sets in.
But why does it happen at all? Because of Transepidermal Water Loss. This Multisyllabic buzzword sounds dangerous. But it refers to something pretty common and easily understandable.
Let me tell you what Transepidermal Water Loss is, why is it a big word with a really big deal and why do I call it monstrous.
What is TEWL?
In order to get to know about Transepidermal water loss, let us recall a little bit about our skin. Our skin is made up of several layers and is porous like a sponge. The outermost layer is the epidermis. The layer that you get to see in the mirror. Transepidermal Water loss is actually the amount of water evaporated from this layer of your skin into the air.
Here you see how important it is to take care of that water content !?
What causes and increases this phenomenon?
TEWL is something that every one of us encounters almost every day. However, the excess of it is always threatening, and here are some easily ignored Factors that increase TEWL:
Strength of your skin barrier:
I did a whole week on Skin Barrier and you guys should definitely check it out on my Instagram.
The skin barrier is the key. It is a shield between our skin and the cruel external environment. Harsh scrubbing, overuse of acids and actives, and poor products damage it. Now once the strength of the skin barrier is compromised, the pores get larger and these large gaps let anything in or out.
Skin loses hydration quickly due to increased TEWL and hence your skin produces excess oil to prevent it from getting absolutely dried out.
How to Prevent this Loss:
Although as I stated earlier, you just can’t control TEWL, you can tweak your skincare routine and some practices to minimize it.
Barrier friendly cleansers:
Throw away all the harsh cleaners and physical exfoliating scrubs. They are your worst enemy. Choose the gentler hydrating cleansers with lower ph. Heavy-duty cleansers strip off the skin moisture, worsening the Transepidermal water loss.
Take healthy beverages:
Cut caffeine out of your beverages. Add herbal teas and drinks with electrolytes that help retain water content. Caffeine-based beverages dehydrate you from the inside.
Choose your actives smartly:
Overusing some actives like retinol and alpha hydroxy acids damage your skin and shoot the tewl to the peak. Choose gentler actives like mandelic acid instead of glycolic. Scale back the usage from daily to few days a week. Be kind to your skin.
Look for products that help rebuild your skin barrier:
Products containing ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol help build your barrier. Forgo the harsher ones and let the gentler ones in.
Humectants like hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol or sorbitol, are the ingredients that naturally attract water when used in a humid environment.
In dry environments, they draw water from the dermis – lower layer of skin instead. However, no matter how much moisture it brings to your skin, the water content is to evaporate nevertheless. And that is where the occlusives come in.
Occlusives are called hydrophobic ingredients. They repel water. Hence when applied to the skin, they can lock the water content in your skin like a barrier and water can’t escape it. It has been observed that with certain occlusives, TEWL can be stopped up to 98%. Some occlusives are beeswax, petrolatum, and capric triglyceride.
Emollients help keep your skin smooth, flexible, and lubricated. Emollients naturally found in skin oils like fatty acids or lipids, play a vital role in the skin’s architecture. In moisturizers, make skin smooth and lovely and prevent water loss.
Use gentler water or aloe vera-based product. Cut off strong actives and heavy-duty ingredients from your routine. Try to take shorter and cooler showers. And don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Health and Love,
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