TEWL stands for Trans Epidermal Water Loss , which we can translate as transepidermal water loss. And what does that mean? Well, it turns out that the skin is made up of several layers. The outermost is called the stratum corneum and is made up of dead cells. The function of the stratum corneum is to be the barrier that defends the body from the entry of irritants and/or pathogens (that is, organisms capable of causing disease). But in addition, it also acts against the loss of water found in the deepest layers of our skin (prevents TEWL).

When the skin barrier is disrupted, not only are we at increased risk of infection, but there is also increased transepidermal water loss ( trans “through epidermis “layers of the skin” ) resulting in a decrease in water content and therefore resulting in dry, rough skin that manifests as flaking and irritation.

There are several factors that can cause TEWL. For example, there are specific areas of our body that have low lipid content (ie, the layers of skin have a kind of brick, corneocytes , which are glued together with something that works like cement, lipids ). These areas are the palms of the hands, the armpits, the forehead and the soles of the feet. Aging, humidity in the environment, baths with very hot water or excessive hygiene are other factors that can cause TEWL.

If you think you are suffering from TEWL, see your dermatologist. In the meantime, if you already use a skin care routine and still have dehydration, you don't need to change it all. Only complement it with lotions, creams or serums that contain vitamin E, vitamin C or retinol as they have antioxidant capabilities and protect lipids. Also, you can use some moisturizers to compensate or normalize the active components of the stratum corneum , and maintain the barrier function, which prevent and correct flaking.

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Renee Rouleau