I have 13 years experience in skincare and am currently researching advanced skincare techniques, active products and results-driven treatments. The main terms that keep cropping up, as an answer to all our skincare problems, are cell renewal; cell regeneration; cell turnover – but what do these terms mean and how do I achieve them to get great skin?
You see, our skin is constantly producing new cells and shedding old ones. When skincare brands talk about cell renewal, they’re talking about the journey of a baby cell progressing through the layers of the skin and shedding away. This process slows down significantly as we age because we don’t have as much energy to fuel the process.
Complete cell turnover:
- Babies – 14 days
- Teenagers – 21 – 28 days
- Middle age – 28 – 42 days
- 50 and up – 42 – 84 days
The aim is to encourage our cells to turn over on a monthly basis. However, as the process of cell renewal slows down, we can suffer from a build up of old cells on the surface. This is why we should regularly exfoliate. Shedding the old, tired cells will expose the healthy, glowing cells beneath. It also means that any lovely ingredients we apply topically are reaching fresh cells, albeit on the surface of the skin. Products are a great way to remove dead skin cells. Often retinols, fruit acids and chemical peeling agents (such as lactic, glycolic, salicylic acid) are used in small doses on a daily basis to assist in a continual exfoliation. It is also said that certain ingredients, such as Retinol & Matrixyl are key to the regeneration of cells (for more info on this please visit my post Skin Feeling Grey? 5 simple steps to revive dull tired skin )
All this information, to somebody who takes an interest in skincare, is probably quite obvious. But there is so much more to the process that gets overlooked. It’s now considered that the key to treating scarring, acne, fine lines & wrinkles and even (to an extent) pigmentation is increasing this cell regeneration process. The more new skin cells that can be created the better the skin will ultimately look. This won’t be achieved alone through products & exfoliation. We need to give the skin enough energy to produce new cells and, whilst lots of products will claim they can achieve this, it’s unlikely they’ll work deep enough into the dermis (bottom layers of the skin) as the epidermis has natural safety barriers.
So, whilst the use of products can really benefit the surface appearance of the skin, we need something more significant to affect the process of regeneration, which starts from the baby cells. Cosmeceutical & clinical skincare specialists are now promoting the process of ‘controlled trauma’: a method of stimulating the bodies own wound-healing response. Basically we’re tricking the skin into believing it needs to ‘heal’ itself and it then regenerates quicker of it’s own accord. When the wound-healing response kicks-in, the skins creates growth factors and fibroblasts (which then create collagen) and makes lots of new baby skin-cells, which are pushed through the epidermis quickly in order to ‘repair’ it.
The most commonly used and effective forms of controlled trauma are micro-needling and chemical peels (in varying depths). These treatments, not only stimulate cell regeneration, but have the added benefit of giving products, rich with active ingredients, a direct channel to the deepest layers of the skin, allowing skincare specialists to customise their treatment and offer enhanced results.
For more information on micro-needling or chemical peels, please refer to my other blogs. If you’re interested in booking a treatment or would like a free consultation, then why not book an appointment here.