What Is Skin Cell Turnover?

You probably already know that your skin cells are not permanent. Skin cells die and are replaced by new ones during a certain amount of time that varies depending on age. Have you ever wondered why tattoos don’t disappear after years and years of this process? Before we get to skin cell turnover, we first need to understand this question, because it tells us something about skin. The cells in the upper layer of your skin, the epidermis, are the only cells that are constantly being replaced. The lower layer of cells, called the dermis, do not go through the same turnover process, and that is why tattoo dye does not disappear, even after decades. Depending on your tattoo, this may or may not be a good thing.

What Is Skin?

This may sound like an all-too-obvious question to be asking, but it will help us learn more about why skin cells get replaced, and how you can aid this process. Skin is your largest organ. It is essentially a protective layer to keep out free radicals, damaging pollutants, and harmful microbes. Your skin also have nerves that recognize things like touch, temperature, and pain. As I already mentioned, the outer layer of your skin is called the epidermis. This is the layer where skin cell turnover, or cell renewal happens. Then you have the dermis below which contains blood vessels, and finally the subcutis, where fat acts as a cushion between your muscles and bones. We could talk about pores and some of the other aspects of skin, but for now we’ll leave it at that. You can read more about methods for unclogging pores here.

What Is Skin Cell Turnover

This is the vitally important process by which your skin sheds dead skin cells and replaces those cells with younger cells. It is a major part of anti aging skin care, which is why you should be interested in the science of this process. Fast skin cell turnover is a good thing, but as you get older this rate slows down. When you are a baby, the term is usually 14 days. As a teenager it ranges from 21-28 days; as a middle ager it ranges from 28-42 days, and above that it can be up to 84 days. These new cells travel from the lowest layer of the epidermis to the top layer at which point they replace dead skin cells. One of the reasons your skin isn’t as soft, supple, and radiant as it once was is because this turnover rate slows way down. An overpopulation of dead skin cells on the surface of your epidermis is naturally going to make your skin appear grayish, sallow, and dull.

How To Increase Cell Turnover

So, cellular renewal is a great thing for your skin’s health and appearance. As you age you might want to consider aiding this process since it slows down naturally. One of the best ways to increase your turnover rate is to keep your skin nourished. Just like the rest of your body, your skin needs the right nutrients and vitamins to function properly. People sometimes turn to skin care products that contain vitamins like A, B, C, E, and K. These vitamins are essential for repairing and protecting your skin. But you can also eat foods that are high in these vitamins. Another thing to watch out for are foods that are inflammatory, such as dairy and sugars.

If you want a more hands-on approach to anti aging skin cell turnover, you might consider exfoliation. This is merely a way of speeding up the process of turnover by physical or chemical means. It encourages new skin cell growth and makes your skin more receptive to the ingredients in skincare products. Make sure you don’t over-exfoliate your skin, however, or overdo it if you have sensitive skin. Just follow the directions on the product label to avid skin irritation and/or damage. There are a variety of options out there for exfoliation, such as masks, scrubs, and serums. Simply try a variety of them and see what works best for you!

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