What is Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) + 6 Ways To Prevent It

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. Thank you for your support. This refresher on Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) is dedicated to the person that does not have profound respect for their moisturizer (ie, a whole bunch of you) and the role that it plays in your skincare routine. It’s for the person that washes entirely too much. The person that washes with a harsh soap and does not follow up with a hydrator or moisturizer. Your relationship with moisturizer is vital to your skincare routine for a multitude of reasons, but its most important function is to prevent the skin from losing water. When the epidermis loses water via evaporation, it’s called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL. TEWL accounts for roughly 1 pint of water loss per day. That’s a lot of water! Skin affected by TEWL tends to be dry, rough, itchy, cracked and prematurely aged. Luckily, there’s something you can do about it. Keep reading to learn about 6 ways to prevent TEWL from happening to you. 1. Limit your contact with cleansers As strange as it sounds, contact with water should be limited to avoid skin barrier disruption. Cleaning too often, and using hot water, washes away the skin’s natural oils that hold water in the epidermis. It is important to hydrate and moisturize skin after making contact with water. 2. Ditch the high pH soaps Cleansers with high pH levels strip the skin of its natural oils. Use gentle cleansers and if you have to use a very strong cleanser, hydrate and moisturize skin ASAP. (source) 3. Plug in your humidifier TEWL does not fare well in humid environments. If your climate is dry, help your skin stay hydrated skin out by using a humidifier in your office, bedroom or home to increase the amount of water in the air. 4. Pick moisturizers that include emollients and occlusives Occlusive substances such as Vaseline help the skin retain water by simply keeping water out. It’s why we love slugging so much! Emollients such as jojoba seed oil, keep the skin smooth and moisturized while reducing water loss. source 5. Add products that contain Niacinamide to your routine Niacinamide, a member of the vitamin B family, has been clinically proven to reduce TEWL. In one study, 2% Niacinamide use reduced TEWL by 24%. In addition, fatty acids and ceramides were boosted as well (source). Check out some of these serums available at Ulta. 6. Attract water with humectants Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, glycerin, and propylene glycol, draw moisture from their surroundings to keep skin hydrated.

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