How Often Do the Skin Cells Regenerate?
Every cell in the human body has its own life cycle, like any living organism. This lasts about 28 days to a full month. During skin cell turnover, these cells lose their nuclei, meaning they are no longer active and must be replaced with new skin cells.
On average, it takes about 40 to 50 days for the epidermis to completely turn over and go through an entire cycle of skin cell regeneration. This is why babies and young children appear to have healthier, brighter, and softer skin, as they are constantly growing and therefore have a faster skin cell turnover rate. As we get older, the turnover rate gets extended and the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface is what leads to aging signs such as dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Skin cell regeneration, rejuvenation, turnover, whatever you want to refer to the process as is a natural skin cycle that occurs in the body. It involves existing or old skin cells being shed and replaced with fresh, new ones. In doing so, this leaves the skin maintaining a healthy, plump, smooth appearance as well as keeping all important functions in order. This is why as we get older, particularly beginning in our late 20s, users begin to incorporate more products into their skincare routine such as serums and retinoids to further boost and enhance the process to avoid unwanted skin conditions or aging signs.
During the rejuvenation process, skin cells move up from the deepest layer of the skin, the subcutaneous. From there, they make their way to the dermis, ending their journey on the surface of the skin, the epidermis. This is the layer of skin that is constantly exposed to air and other environmental factors such as UV radiation exposure from the sun and air pollution.
Once the skin cells are on the surface of the skin, they begin to harden and eventually die and are shed, creating new skin cells. In fact, a majority of dust you notice in your home is dead skin cells that have left the body. This cycle is always occurring in the body and we often don’t notice it happening.
Lingering dead skin cells can cause several issues aside from visible aging signs. Without proper exfoliation, it is easier for harmful bacteria to accumulate on the skin’s surface, as well as the individual being at higher risk of hyperpigmentation. When excess amounts of dead skin cells pile up on the skin, more melanin is produced, which causes dark patches to appear on the skin.
Depending on the person’s skin type and rate of turnover, they may experience acne flare-ups from dead skin cell build-up. When dead skin cells combine with excess sebum that hasn’t been removed from the sebaceous glands, the hair follicles on the face (and other areas of the skin) clog, which leads to visible acne and pimples. This can also lead to other conditions such as cystic acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. However, dead skin cells aren’t the only major cause of acne presenting itself. An individual may experience acne for any number of reasons, such as genetics, age, lifestyle, diet, environment, and hormones, especially during puberty.