TEWL; Transepidermal Water Loss
Is everyone else feeling dry af lately too? You can blame it on TEWL aka Transepidermal Water Loss.
What is TEWL? It’s essentially water evaporating from the deeper layers of your skin through the top layer of your skin, otherwise known as the epidermis. This is a regular function of our skin but certain conditions and environmental factors exacerbate it causing the dry winter skin we all know too well. This is caused by the difference in the water pressure gradient between your skin and your environment.
To improve the hydration and moisture of your skin, you have to first understand what’s happening.
When winter comes around everyone is cranking up the heat, taking warmer showers, and some are flying to warmer weather. All of these factors will speed up the amount of water loss happening in your skin.
Think about when you hop out of a hot shower and steam flows from your skin, if you wait to put moisturizer on it ends up feeling tight and dry. That’s because of water loss and this happens on a much smaller scale on a daily basis;
When you’re going from a warm building to the cold outdoors, blasting the heat in your car while driving, or even just sitting in a room with the heat on.
The best way to combat this is by supporting your skin’s barrier function and keeping your environment humid. Here’s how to do it:
1. Get yourself a humidifier and crank it up. Having more humidity in your environment will slow down the process of TEWL, improve healing, and support cell to cell communication. Your skin's cell turnover rate is the highest at night while you're sleeping, so it's important to use your humidifier each night by your bedside. I recommend getting a couple and putting one in your main living area too. You’ll thank me later!
2. Use moisturizers wisely. I recommend moisturizers that are functional and work to improve your skin's barrier, both in hydration and moisture. Two of my favorites are Dermal Repair Cream and Triple Lipid Restore.
- Dermal Repair Cream works to deliver deep hydration, reduce redness and support the skin’s ability to repair itself with Heparan Sulfate Analog technology.
- Triple Lipid uses a specific ratio of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids to help restore skin's external barrier and support natural repair, while working to improve smoothness and overall radiance.
- I love this occlusive reusable silicone sheet mask to use with your moisturizers and hydrators to seal it all in.
3. Be mindful of habits. Whenever there's a change in your skin's environment such as going from a humid, hot environment to a dry one then there will be an increase in TEWL. This includes taking hot showers, cleansing with hot water, blasting the heat in your car, or putting your mask on and taking it off multiple times (one of the main culprits to maskne). When you do take your mask off, reapply your spf and moisturizer right away to prevent excess water loss.
4. Receive regular facials for a deep clean and hydration. Dehydrated skin often leads to excess sebum production and congested follicles, also known as comedones and blackheads. It's helpful to receive regular facials to exfoliate, extract, and address dehydration and dryness. Each facial comes packed full of personalized information so that you leave with knowledge on how to keep your skin healthy and functioning properly.
When water loss is increased it leads to a multitude of issues like dehydration, inflammation, and it can increase breakouts. Implement these tips and you’ll feel all of the dewy, glowing, juicy skin difference. Follow me on Instagram @kristenmcnary and let me know what you want to learn about next!
Source: G Grubauer, P M Elias, K R Feingold,
Transepidermal water loss: the signal for recovery of barrier structure and function., Journal of Lipid Research, Volume 30, Issue 3, 1989,Pages 323-333,ISSN 0022-2275,