Cellular turnover is a major factor in how our skin looks and feels. In the world of anti-aging skincare, it’s the cause behind products like exfoliants, peels, and even more intensive professional medical treatments like Dermalinfusion. But, what is cellular turnover, what is it doing to your skin, and what can you do about it?
What is Cellular Turnover?
Cellular turnover describes how quickly skin produces new cells, or how quickly new skin cells move from the deepest layers to the top layers of skin. Slowed cellular turnover is triggered by a decrease in collagen synthesis and elastin (the building blocks of healthy, taught skin), which leads to a loss of skin vibrancy, lift, elasticity, and firmness. The natural aging process causes this decrease in collagen and elastin. When we are babies, cellular turnover can happen in as little as two weeks. That’s why a baby’s skin looks plump, radiant, and wrinkle free. As we age, cellular turnover slows and can take anywhere from 45 to 90 days to renew.
But, it’s not just the natural aging process that slows cellular turnover. Lifestyle choices like smoking, or spending too much time in the sun, can cause cellular turnover to slow a lot earlier than our genetics would determine.
What is Slower Cellular Turnover Doing to Your Skin?
Slower cellular turnover means dead, flat, dulling skin cells live on the surface longer and cause our skin to look dull, dry and wrinkled. Slower cellular turnover can also trigger enlarged pores that expand because they are filled, or clogged, with a mixture of dead skin cells and oil. And, clogged pores can lead to acne, which could be one reason why adults can still experience breakouts.
Beyond the visible effects of slower cellular turnover, skin issues like eczema and contact or allergic dermatitis can be more likely and more troublesome. Skin can even become desensitized to the touch and be slower to recover from injury.
What Can You Do About It?
Slowed cellular turnover is remedied by exfoliation, either in the form of physical exfoliation (think scrubs) or chemical exfoliation (think peels that rely on Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid). Whether physical or chemical, exfoliation helps loosen dead skin cells from the surface. This stimulates newer, fresher cells to rise to the surface—and these cells are usually more full of water, which results in an immediate plumping effect and a visible reduction in the depth of fine lines and wrinkles.
Another form of manual exfoliation comes in the form of professional medical devices like Dermalinfusion. Dermalinfusion is a non-invasive, patented skin-resurfacing treatment that combines exfoliation, extraction and delivery of solutions to improve skin health, function and appearance. An exclusive diamond tip exfoliator provides uniform, even and precise exfoliation that clears away dry, damaged and dulling skin cells from the surface. When combined with the extraction of debris from the pores and a simultaneous serum infusion, skin shows an immediate improvement in volume, hydration, tone, and texture.
Because slower cellular turnover is such a factor in the way skin ages, cosmetic scientists and chemists have been actively researching ingredients that can restore a more youthful cell cycle and accelerate it to mimic that of a younger skin. A Vitamin A compound (Retinol) has been a key ingredient in anti-aging strategies. Vitamin A helps speed up cellular turnover by first stimulating the sloughing (or removal) of dead skin cells from the surface, and then acting as a cell regulator, directly effecting collagen production and producing collagen and elastin fibers. Retinol can be a challenging ingredient for mature skin types struggling with a decline in moisture because it can be drying and irritating. For this reason, Envy Medical relies on an encapsulated form of Retinol that ensures its potency and controls penetration of the skin to target the skin cells and stimulate the cellular turnover process. Encapsulated Retinol has demonstrated amazing efficacy on the visible signs of sun damage, lines, and wrinkles, while improving overall skin texture and tone.
Another trusted and well-established ingredient that actively encourages cellular turnover is Glycolic Acid. Commonly obtained from sugar cane, this Alpha Hydroxy Acid is often recommended by dermatologists and medical professionals because it is highly efficacious and delivers dramatic rejuvenating results without intense downtime or recovery time. Glycolic Acid works by dissolving the “glue” between surface skin cells so they can be sloughed off. By sloughing off old skin cells, the skin cellular turnover process is activated to bring fresher, younger lower-level cells to the surface. Glycolic Acid is also a favorite amongst dermatologists because it is highly effective at visibly minimizing a multitude of skin issues including oily-prone skin, clogged pores, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles.