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The Relationship Between Cell Turnover and Acne

Our skin can do some amazing things; it can heal itself after a cut or a burn, and grows with us as our bodies change shape (which is even more amazing when it expands to make room for a little person). One of the other very cool things it does is shed the old skin to make room for fresh, glowy skin. That’s thanks to the skin cycle, otherwise known as skin cell turnover or the skin renewal cycle. If you’re currently struggling with acne or have the scars to show for your past struggles, boosting cell turnover is something that just might change your skin.  

What is Skin Cell Turnover? 

Our skin sheds dead cells naturally every 30 days or so. The fancy dermatologists in their lab coats like to call it desquamation, but because that’s a bit of a mouthful, we’re going to call it the skin cycle. One thing to note here though, is that the 30 day timeline is just a guide, everyone is different and it tends to get longer as we age.  

Every skin cycle, your skin replaces old cells with younger ones to keep up that gorgeous glow, and heal any breakouts or imperfections, all the while removing anything that might be clogging the pores. These new skin cells are created in the deepest layer of the skin (known as the basal layer). Slowly but surely, they move towards the surface until they too are shed when they become inactive, or as it is more commonly known, die.  

Like most things to do with your skin, cell turnover can be helped or hindered by your diet, hormones, sleep, stress, sun exposure and of course, your skin care. 

How Skin Cell Turnover Affects Acne 

If you have oily and acne-prone skin, your skin’s natural ability to slough dead skin isn’t going to be as effective as other people’s. It’s what is known as retention hyperkeratosis. When our skin cells are not replenished and dead skin isn’t removed, this makes for a happy environment for bacteria and dead skin cells to build up and clog your pores, making the perfect setting for acne.  

As the dead skin and sebum become trapped and build up inside the follicle, an ineffective skin cycle struggles to clear them out and the acne problem only gets worse. That’s why stimulating a faster skin cell turnover rate is going to be a miracle worker to help clear pores.  

And let’s not forget about acne scars! Boosting the skin cell turnover will help to lift pigmentation and fade those annoying acne scars. Those younger (importantly unscarred) skin cells will replace the pigmented one for a clearer and more even skin tone.  

How to Boost Cell Turnover  

While your skin will naturally complete a skin cycle with new cells, there are things you can do and products you can use to put a little pep in its step and boost the cell turnover process.  

One of the most common ways to kick cell turnover into hyperdrive is exfoliation. Our Gentle-Foliants contain both physical exfoliants (eg. Polynesian sand) and chemical exfoliants (eg. papaya enzymes). Enzymes help to resurface the skin and promote cell turnover by dissolving keratin and lifting dead skin. This will help to bring new skin to the surface and unclog pores - always a win!  

Speaking of exfoliation, glycolic and lactic acids (collectively called AHAs) are the stars of the cell turnover game. They help to break down and remove dead skin and fade acne scars by brightening your complexion. The Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum detoxifies concerns of congestion and dissolves dead skin by speeding up the skin renewal process. This really is a dream if you’re suffering from acne and blackheads.  

Retinol is another one of those ingredients that works wonders to boost cell turnover. It increases the rate of the skin cycle and controls oil production, which is all very good news for anyone who has acne-prone skin. Our Encapsulated Retinol is unique as it releases the active ingredient deeper in the skin, for maximum results and minimum sensitivity. A bit clever if we do say so ourselves!  

Vitamin C is a brightening favourite in the skincare world as it is a potent antioxidant, speeds up cell turnover, increases collagen production and inhibits melanin - see ya acne scars and dark spots! The Pomegranate Brightening Serum is rich in vitamin C for those skin boosting benefits we all love to see.  

Keep in mind, boosting skin cell turnover can make your skin more photosensitive, which is just a fancy way of saying don’t forget to use your sunscreen every day!   

Yes, it is absolutely possible to speed up skin cell turnover and send acne and scarring packing thanks to a little know-how (and the right products). If you want to know more about how to make your skin cycle work for you, chat to our skincare experts today!