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Transepidermal Water Loss and How to Prevent It

Updated: May 3, 2022

Older white woman with loose skin, fine lines, wrinkles, hand covering face

Ever wondered how your skin gets so dry? Behind a seemingly complex name stands a simple concept. Transepidermal water loss is merely referring to the amount of water evaporating through your skin. We hear you asking "is there an easy solution to keep this water locked in?" Yes actually, there is!

What Is Transepidermal Water Loss?

Transepidermal water loss (or in short, TEWL) is the amount of water that your skin loses through a process of evaporation. For an adult, the normal amount you should be losing daily ranges from 300ml to 400ml; this is simply your skin’s way of regulating how much water it stores.

However, different skin concerns or new factors can trigger more water loss than needed. When this happens, you will end up with parched skin, which will give way to dry, flaky patches and fine lines.

Frequent and unnecessary water loss will leave your epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin, more prone to breaking. Some things to look out for that can increase TEWL are harsh scrubs (as they damage your skin barrier, diminishing its ability to lock moisture in) and nature-induced damage (like low humidity, sun damage or even just your lack of hydration in the first place!).

If you have dry skin, this could also be an indication of low ceramide levels which could also affect your skin's ability to retain water. While you can’t (and shouldn’t) completely stop transepidermal water loss, you can minimise the amount of water your skin barrier loses, and alleviate the symptoms of dry skin.

Black woman's moisturised skin, hand touching thigh, healthy looking skin

How to Stop Transepidermal Water Loss

Having plump, hydrated and healthy skin is something no one should have to worry about. However, the skin’s processes can be tricky when so many external and internal factors affect it. To deal with TEWL, the skincare industry relies on a range of ingredients that help hydrate, seal your skin barrier and protect it from losing water in excess.

Hydration is paramount to combating TEWL, so long showers and baths (without super hot water) are a great way for your skin to soak up all it needs. Afterward you should aim to moisturise with something thick or occlusive to help retain and lock in all of that water.

When choosing the right product to minimise TEWL, it’s best to think for the long run. Use products that give long lasting moisture to the skin. Balms, salves, thick creams and petroleum jelly all work to seal in hydration. If you don't enjoy the heavy and sometimes sticky feel of these products, we also recommend oil-based serums and facial oils as a much lighter option.

Products with antioxidants will help build back your skin barrier over time and treat any blemishes or dry patches you might have already gotten, while the oil formula will protect the epidermis and help seal any water-based, moisturising products you used earlier in your routine.

The Superior Complexion Antioxidant Serum contains rosehip, baobab and pomegranate seed oils in a lush, silky formula so you can get the high quality help you need and a luxury pamper session like no other. Did we mention that it’s also got a heavenly lavender and ylang-ylang scent?

If you liked our article, check out these gorgeous tips for a healthy and glowy complexion. And, if you want to see behind the scenes at Jierra Beauty, come visit us on Instagram @jierrabeauty

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