What is Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL)

and How to Treat It

Could transepidermal water loss (TEWL) be causing your skin to struggle? The answer might surprise you.

Although the term itself sounds rather complicated, what it boils down to is actually pretty simple.

Transepidermal water loss - or TEWL for short - is a common condition that many people experience, and it refers to a loss of vital hydration in the skin, due to water evaporation.

To better understand how this happens and how it might be impacting your day-to-day skin, let’s take a closer look.

What is Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL)

What causes TEWL and who does it affect?

What causes TEWL

As you likely already know, water is an important component of skin health, as H2O is one of the building blocks of the skin and contributes to its ability to perform important functions.

Adequate water levels are necessary to keep skin smooth, supple, and glowing. However, for many people holding on to vital hydration can become challenging anytime the skin’s protective barrier becomes compromised.

Due to a number of factors including age, environment, aggressive products and treatments, or certain health conditions, the natural barrier can have a harder time keeping moisture locked in and, as a result, evaporation can start to occur at a rate that’s difficult to combat with even the most diligent care.

So how can you tell if TEWL is a problem?

If your skin is experiencing water loss, you’ll most likely notice that it seems dry or dehydrated, with additional signs of irritation such as flakiness, itching, feelings of tightness, rough texture, and maybe even more pronounced signs of aging - such as fine lines and wrinkles. These can all be symptoms of a damaged barrier.

Additionally, your skin may begin to feel more sensitive or reactive if TEWL goes untreated over time.

The good news, though, is that the sooner you begin to properly address your skin’s hydration and moisture levels, the less likely it is that TEWL will become a chronic condition.

TEWL symptoms

How to Troubleshoot TEWL: Treatments to try and ingredients to look for

Ingredients to treat TEWL

First and foremost, skin that lacks water will need to be replenished with components that both draw water to the skin - known as humectants - as well as those that keep it locked in - also referred to as occlusives.

In particular, look for formulas featuring aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, panthenol (Vitamin B5), niacinamide (Vitamin B3), ceramides and peptides, all of which will help promote better moisture retention.

Using lots of gentle, skin-nourishing ingredients

Using lots of gentle, skin-nourishing ingredients, your skin should start to improve and repair itself from damage related to TEWL.

However, in the meantime, it’s a good idea to avoid aggressive formulas, such as acid exfoliants or harsh cleansers.

Because these types of products can strip the skin water, they’ll work against your efforts to restore optimal hydration, and should therefore be skipped for the short term until your skin barrier is recovered.


Because TEWL tends to come and go over time, your best bet is to stay consistent with supportive products on a daily or even twice daily basis.

Once you notice symptoms improving, you can always start to add back your other favorite products. Just be sure to listen to your skin and prioritize hydration and moisturizer any time your skin starts to show signs of depletion or distress.


EwaliBeauty’s Product Picks to treat TEWL:

1. Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Suitable for all skin types and great for treating dehydrated skin, Hyaluronic Acid serum is boosted with pro-vitamin B5, Cranberry, Grapefruit and Raspberry extracts, this serum helps promote deep hydration and plump the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and supple.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic Acid Serum

2. Hydro Boosting Dual Cream

A cream and serum all in one, this multitasking moisturizer can be used to support dry skin, dehydrated skin or both.

Enriched with concentrated hydrating and moisture boosting ingredients, it has everything skin needs to get glowing.

EwaliBeauty Moisturizer
EwaliBeauty Moisturizer

Hope you find this helpful. Follow us on Instagram @ewalibeauty for more skincare updates.

A driven beauty writer, certified and licensed esthetician with backgrounds in journalism. She has a passion for the science of skin care, and helping people find their beauty, inside and out, to bring their glow to the forefront.

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