Every time around the new year, we make resolutions to be a new self! Stronger from the battles and wiser from mistakes, we learn to turn over a new leaf.
Similarly, our body is in charge of turning the old skin cells into new ones and rejuvenating the skin to give a brighter, newer and fresher look than before.
This process of replacing old cells with new ones is called cell turnover. The smooth, buttery skin we see is indeed a result of cell turnover!
Cell turnover is extremely essential, but its importance is noticed only when the skin lacks it. Taking care of your skin is as important as taking care of your body.
- Meaning of cell turnover
- Relationship between cell turnover and skin problems
- What helps skin turnover?
- Ways to speed turnover of the skin
Without further ado, let's jump into the topic of cell turnover.
What is cell turnover?
It's time to go back to the basics we studied in school! Our body is filled with cells. Every cell lives for twenty eight days (it slows down as you grow old). New cell babies emerge in our deepest layer of the skin called the basal layer. Next, they travel to the outermost layer of the skin - dermis. During this process, some cells might lose their nuclei and thus become dead skin cells. These dead skin cells, nowhere to go, pile up to form a layer in the skin. Eventually, they slough off and give space to new ones (every cell gets its turn). Now the skin is back to being healthy and radiant.
This procedure of replacing old cells of the skin with new cells is termed cell turnover. It is the holy grail for skin, since it makes the skin firmer, removes fine lines and wrinkles quickly.
The not-so-loving relationship between cell turnover & anti-aging
Both of them have a very friendly, cordial relationship (almost like best friends!). Skin turnover leads to the shedding of old skin cells and giving birth to new ones. What do these new cells do? Well, they basically give a fresh glow to the skin. Since old cells leave, we can say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles, which are mainly caused due to their piling up.
It is a harsh truth that the cell turnover process slows with age.
This means we should take extra care of our skin as we age. On an average, it takes 50-60 days for a complete turnover of the epidermis skin, but this gets slower as we grow up (another reason not to grow up :p). This is because as we grow older, it takes longer for your skin to replace the old cells with the new, a process vital to rejuvenate the skin.
This is bad news, as the chances of having wrinkles and fine lines increase (premature aging). Also, the lingering of dead skin cells makes way for creation of bacteria- blemishes on the skin.
Slowing down of skin cell turnover can also lead to hyperpigmentation, which is characterized by dark patches on the face in areas like chin, eyes and nose.
Oops, acne? The reason might be poor cell turnover!
The body’s skin turnover cycle is a common reason for formation of acne-related problems on the skin. Acne develops when a combination of dead skin cells and excess sebum (a natural oil produced in the skin) are trapped in the hair follicles clog.
Now we know who the bad guy is! It’s the dead skin cells. They pile up under the skin and, if not replaced on time, cause acne and blemishes to hide the natural, clear skin beneath.
Did you know the reason for whiteheads and blackheads? Guess what, cell turnover malfunction!
The reason is the same. It is due to the buildup of sebum and dead skin cells that form these patches around the nose and mouth. Whiteheads are a result of closed pores being blocked by the buildup of sebum and dead cells, while blackheads are caused by surface level blockage when exposed to sun.
Sometimes, cystic acne is formed due to bacteria trapped in the skin.
Just like faster skin cell turnover reduces orprevents wrinkles and fine lines, efficient skin cell turnover is needed to prevent acne issues.
It is also true that skin turnover is not the only factor that causes these skin problems. There are other reasons such as age, hormones, diseases, etc.. That being said, cell turnover plays a major role in keeping skin problems at bay.
What helps skin turnover?
There are ways to speed the process of skin turnover.
Before starting treatment, we should be aware of how these products work on the skin. There are many over the counter products available in the market, but choosing the right one is a difficult task. Go for non-comedogenic products that are free from harsh chemicals. Also, know that changes don't happen overnight which means patience and determination is the key.
It is one of the safest and widely used medications for increasing skin cell turnover. Tretinoin is a compound of Vitamin A that is known for its anti-aging properties. It is a topical cream or gel that you can directly apply on the skin. Since it is topical, the side effects are limited. You can now say goodbye to wrinkles and fine lines!
It works in a way to increase the process of cell turnover and thereby reduce skin blemishes. But this takes time. It is said to be effective only after at least three months of usage. The results are usually long-term in nature — that is, over a year.
Retinol is the standard ‘go to’ golden skin care product for cell turnover. Retinol puts the whole process on a fast-forward mode. It is highly recommended for acne-prone skin, since it opens blocked pores, clearing acne.
Start by using a low percentage retinol and slowly increase it. It takes time for your skin to get used to retinol and since it is concentrated, it might pose some side effects for the skin, including rashes, red spots, burning and irritation.
But this should not stop us from using these magic products as it is super beneficial in treating the skin — acne, and premature aging.
Retinols are recommended for use at night, paired with a moisturizer. Also sunscreens are a must to protect the already sensitive skin.
Another ‘at home’ remedy for speeding up the cell turnover process is to exfoliate. There are two ways to do this. You can either do a chemical exfoliation or mechanical exfoliation. They help your skin shed the dead cells quickly.
Chemical exfoliants contain AHA properties that bond with the dead skin cells and loosen them. On the other hand, mechanical exfoliants are responsible for removing the top layer of the skin - physically taking the dead cells off the skin.
Exfoliate twice a week to start with. Remember not to overdo it, as it can weaken the skin. Always add a moisturizer to your routine for keeping the skin soft.
Now, having looked at the different ways of treating skin cell turnover, let's see some skincare products that can be added to your regimen!
Here are some of the products from Unbottle.co that are known for their ‘skintelligence’ to treat acne and blemishes!
Acne Clearing Face Cleanser Proven To Fight Acne With Calendula & TeaTree Oil
- Calendula oil has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties for soothing eczema
- Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial which reduces acne-causing infection.
To prevent recurrence:
- Glycerin naturally prevents skin from drying out and retains moisture
- Castor oil naturally fights acne and is a natural cleanser.
Age Defence Body Lotion Proven To Fight Fine Lines and Wrinkles with Kojic Acid & Saffron Oil
- Kojic acid treats skin conditions, such as sun damage, scars, and age spots
- Saffron Oil boosts collagen synthesis for brighter-looking skin.
To prevent recurrence:
- Wheat germ oil builds collagen and skin elasticity
- Almond oil preserves skin’s natural moisture.
Choosing the right skin care product is the start to good skin. Apart from skin care routines, also make it a habit to take care of what you eat and how you burn those calories! And most importantly, have a solid eight-hour sleep! All of this together can keep your skin healthy.