Transepidermal Water Loss 101

This fancy term basically just refers to how much water your skin loses every day. Naturally, your skin has some moisture to it. But, that water content is always evaporating through your epidermis. And, once it does that, it diffuses into the air and leaves behind dry, parched skin. So, transepidermal water loss is basically a measurement of how much water your skin loses every day through the natural evaporation process. This measurement varies depending on how dry or humid the air is around you at any given time, and how fast your skin dries out.

What is Transepidermal Water Loss?

This process is also known as insensible water loss, because we have little control over how much water our skin loses every day. Basically, transepidermal water loss helps evaluate how well your skin barrier is functioning. In other words, if you haven’t had any skin damage, you probably have normal transepidermal water loss. But, clinically, this measurement is used to decide how badly damaged skin is after a burn, injury, or infection. So, it basically helps evaluate how healthy your skin is, and how much moisture it needs daily. Damage to your skin increases transepidermal water loss.

Does Transepidermal Water Loss Affect Aging Skin?

As skin ages, it takes on more damage and loses a greater amount of water every day. Let us explain it this way. Imagine you burned your skin from staying out too long in the sun. Well, that damages the top layer of skin, your stratum corneum. And, that means more water can pass through the top layer of skin and make your skin dry. Well, if you burn your skin every summer, this damage adds up over time. And, by the time you reach age 40, your skin will be dry constantly.
So, why is this bad? Well, multiple studies show that dry skin actually wrinkles faster than moisturized skin. So, when you’re continuously damaging your skin, you’re actually opening it up to more water loss. And, overtime, that means your skin is drier, and it can wrinkle faster. In other words, the more trans epidermal water loss you have from your skin, the more wrinkles can form in your skin. And, as you continue to age, your skin racks up more damage from free radicals. So, it starts losing more and more moisture, which leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.

Can You Stop Transepidermal Water Loss?

When you have a high amount of water loss from your skin, you get that scaly, flaky skin that’s so annoying to deal with. And, many things speed up water loss. For example, washing your face with hot water speeds up the evaporation of moisture out of your skin. And, harsh, irritating ingredients in skin care and face washes can also speed up this natural evaporation process, leaving skin tight, dry, and flaky. Thankfully, we all know that you don’t have to settle for skin that feels that way.
Now, there are multiple creams and moisturizing products on the market specifically designed to keep more water in the skin. But, it’s incredibly important when you’re researching and finding a cream to look at the ingredients. Because, there are many ingredients in skin care that can actually accelerate water loss. For example, surfactants actually strip the skin of lipids, and dry it out faster. That’s why, when you pick out a cream, you should look to avoid those ingredients. And, creams with Hyaluronic Acid in them actually pull water into your skin from the environment. So, they can actually keep skin soft, supple, and hydrated better than anything else.

Todd Ruggets
Todd Ruggets

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