Our skin has amazing capacities and performs some very interesting functions. It forms a protective layer for the rest of the body, shielding it from pollutants and radiation. It regulates body temperature, carries sensations to the brain, rids the body of toxins through sweating, and allows us to move freely and comfortably.
Transepidermal water loss, or TEWL, occurs when water passes through the skin's layers into the air, where it evaporates. Although this is a natural and inevitable process, sometimes it can have negative effects on the skin. As you might imagine, it can cause dehydration and speed up the skin's aging process. There are things you can do to limit the negative effects of TEWL, but a basic understanding of the skin and its functions will help you understand how it can be treated.
Skin Layers and their Functions
The skin is made up of various layers, each with a special function. It is often the case that people aren't aware of many of these layers, and only use skincare that works from the outside in, as opposed to the inside out. It's important to treat the skin as you would any other organ in the body: with proper nutrition, plenty of water and exercise, and the right products.
Human skin is made up of two main layers:
This is the outermost layer of the skin, made up of keratinocytes, or dead skin cells. One of the reasons regular exfoliation is so important is because these keratinocytes build up and cause the skin to appear dry, flaky, and/or dull. The function of this layer is basically to provide a barrier to harmful external elements as well as retain adequate levels of moisture. The epidermis is made up of five different sublayers.
The dermis is the layer beneath the epidermis. This layer is made up of connective tissue, collagen and elastin (which give the skin its strength and flexibility), hair follicles, sweat glands, blood vessels and nerve endings. The dermis is where wound healing begins (via fibroblasts). The primary function of the dermis is to provide optimal support to the epidermis.
The Causes of Transepidermal Water Loss
Although TEWL is a naturally-occurring physiological process, there are certain things that can exacerbate it. Any sort of trauma to the skin, such as a sunburn or a case of eczema, can negatively affect TEWL levels in the body. Things such as metabolism and sweat gland function can also play a role. External things like overly-drying skin care products and low-humidity climates can raise TEWL levels, creating dryness and even dehydration. Dehydration is the result of the rate of water loss in the skin outpacing its ability to replace it, and unlike dryness, needs more stringent levels of treatment, both internally and topically.
When dehydrated, the skin can crack, bleed and feel uncomfortably tight. Dehydration can also lead to premature aging (causing fine lines and wrinkles and dull skin tone). According to Science Direct, "An increase in the TEWL indicates an impaired barrier function. Altered skin barrier and TEWL have been shown to be correlated to skin aging". This makes proper skincare even more important.
How to Address and Prevent TEWL
If balancing transepidermal water loss is such a delicate process, how are we supposed to do it? The first thing you can do is to keep your skin's microbiome, or ecosystem, healthy and hydrated. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, include a high-quality probiotic into your daily vitamin routine, and invest in products that will help you maintain the balance needed for glowing, hydrated, healthy skin.
Probiotic-Derived Bioactives are beneficial to the skin in a number of ways, but perhaps one of the most important healing aspects is their ability to regulate function and maintain the integrity of the skin barrier. PDBs, as they are called, not only strengthen the skin's immune system, but also have been proven to help heal scars and burns, as well as irritation and inflammation like atopic dermatitis, eczema and acne. GLOWBIOTICS products all contain probiotic-derived bioactives, which, just like probiotic supplements, have a number of positive effects on the skin — including increased hydration levels, balanced pH levels, stronger barrier function, redness reduction, and protection against harmful bacteria that can cause damage and premature aging.
Help your skin function properly by feeding it with nutritious food, lots of water, probiotic supplements, and topical probiotic products. Live a healthy lifestyle, and avoid alcohol, smoking, and toxic skin care products that strip the skin of its natural moisture barrier. If you invest in probiotic skincare, you will not only see, but feel the difference!