This large amount of air is also quicker and drier, says board-certified dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, MD, founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care, which can create a perfect storm for dehydration: While loads of dry air pass through your lungs without the need for filtering, research shows that people can experience a net loss of water of 42% when breathing through their mouth alone. Theoretically, this is why you can wake up in the morning with a dry mouth or chapped lips, especially if you’re the type to fall asleep with your mouth wide open.
But let’s step back for a moment. How do we go from losing water all over the body to dehydrating the skin? Studies have shown that internal hydration can affect your skin’s moisture levels and dermis thickness, but the exact relationship remains a bit unclear. (That’s why the advice to “drink more water” causes your eyes to roll automatically; getting the skin hydrated takes a lot more effort).
“While there is no data to directly correlate these particular statistics, we do know that transepidermal water loss (TEWL) impacts skin barrier integrity and function, which may contribute to inflammation, redness and irritation,” says a board-certified dermatologist. Keira Barr, MD is however, there is evidence to suggest that mouth breathing is associated with asthma, skin allergies and eczema – and that people with these conditions are prone to increased TEWL and dry skin, a coincidence that is hard to fathom. ignore. The skin is also more permeable at night, which means it is already vulnerable to water loss; mouth breathing, it seems, only adds more fuel to the fire.
Additionally, “Mouth breathing not only dries out the mouth, but in doing so, it helps to suppress the first line of defense against oral bacteria,” Barr notes. “It’s a problem not only because it contributes to bad breath and tooth decay, but it can also impact the gut microbiome downstream, as the mouth is the gateway to gut health. – and we know how intertwined gut health and skin health can be. .”
Finally, mouth breathing can also contribute to poor sleep quality because it causes your tongue to droop back toward the upper palate of your mouth, obstructing your airways and limiting the amount of oxygen you get. And “beauty sleep” is very important: during the nocturnal sleep cycle, there is a huge increase in HGH (human growth hormone), which helps rebuild body tissues and stimulates increased cell production to replace cells which have been damaged throughout the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, your skin cells don’t regenerate as much during this recovery process. This leads to a buildup of damaged cells, which can make your skin look dull, dry and congested.
So, yes, there is little research on mouth breathing and skin care results in particular, but if you take a look under the hood, it’s not hard to make the connection. As Barr notes, “While serums, lotions, and potions can help, the real healing happens when we go beyond the skin and address what’s going on below the surface.”