How Does Moisturizer Work? Here's The Surprisingly Interesting Science Behind Our Most Essential Skin Care Product — VIDEO

For those of us who live in a cold climate, winter isn’t only the season of subzero temperatures, unflatteringly huge parkas, and apocalyptic snowstorms. It’s also the season of dull, scaly, cracked skin. When the weather gets colder, we all turn on our heaters, and the air indoors gets dryer. The heat keeps us from freezing to death, but the dry air causes skin to lose moisture and dry out. Fun, right? (Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for summer?)

The feeling of dry, itchy skin has many of us piling on the moisturizer—but have you ever wondered how moisturizers and lotions actually work? Luckily if you have, Reactions, a video series created by the American Chemical Society, takes on this very issue in their new video, aptly titled “How Does Moisturizer Work?” As the video explains, skin dryness occurs through a process called “transepidermal water loss,” or TEWL. TEWL (couldn't stop thinking "kewl" throughout this entire video) happens when moisture travels from the middle layer of skin (the dermis) to outer layer (the epidermis), from which it evaporates, leaving skin sad and thirsty. There are a number of types of moisturizers available, all of which work by either “trap[ping] or replenish[ing] the moisture in the epidermal layer.”

So take a break from scratching your itchy dry skin, do a bit of research, and find out which type of moisturizer will work best for you. The more you know!

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