Transepidermal water loss, the cause for itchy skin

Itchy skin may be caused by TONNES of reasons, but one of the theories that are catching on quickly is Transepidermal water loss or TEWL. When our skin dries, cells shrink up like raisins, leaving gaps in between cells. These gaps will cause further water loss, and may serve as an entrance for allergens originally blocked by our acid mantle, our natural "force field".

Below is a SIMPLIFIED diagram, using grapes to depict healthy, supple cells; and raisins as dried up cells.

Bear in mind this is a VERY simplified diagram, meant to help our customers understand the concept of TEWL better, and is by no means suitable for medical reference.

Our Acid Mantle, or the protective layer on our outer skin is acidic and nature, and can be washed away/corroded by agents such as alkaline soaps or detergents. For a normal human being, the acid mantle can regenerate before significant evaporation happens. Hence the stories of some people NEVER developing skin problems even if they use dish wash for bathing.

However, for those prone to eczema/dermatitis, the rate of regeneration of the acid mantle is a lot slower. Before it regenerates, it's time for another wash. In short, the acid mantle never regenerates.

Some people have "transient" type of skin barrier, where the skin acts normally most of the time. However, during the dry season (etc Cold north wind season in Peninsular Malaysia), the evaporation is much faster than usual, thus making their itch "seasonal".

To prevent this from happening, we recommend the following steps:

1. Lower the temperature of your shower/bath water. If possible, room temperature water works best.

2. Choose a shower gel that is SLS free. If that still doesn't work you can try bath oils.

3. Apply lotion/creams generously over your whole body, or at least all exposed areas. The lotion/cream has to contain both Humectants ( a hygroscopic substance used to keep things moist) such as Urea, and emollients for optimal hydration.

4. If itchiness is still unbearable, try taking some non-sedating antihistamines like Cetirizine.

5. If all the above fails, then it's time to see the dermatologist. More elaborate treatment methods like the Wet Wrap Therapy (Refer video below).