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This is something that had passed me by. Other contributors may be aware of it, so apologies if I'm teaching any grannies to suck eggs...
When an image is saved as a jpg, the process involves discarding some image information in order to keep the file size down to a "manageable" level. Contributors may be aware of the problems that can be encountered when trying to upload a good quality picture, caused by large file size.
What I hadn't realised is that the data reduction process happens every time you save the file. So if you edit a picture in stages, each time you save it, down goes the quality.
So it's advisable to always work on copies of an original, and where your program allows it, save in a "lossless" format. Only convert to a "lossy" format like jpg when the program or printer can't cope.