Our skin cells are constantly shedding every day. Scientists estimate the human body is made up of around 10 trillion cells in total. Since the skin makes up about 16 percent of our body weight, this means we have roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells (BBC).
Of course, this number can vary depending on an individual’s size and weight. Over the course of a day, we shed almost a million skin cells, and in a month, we produce a completely new epidermis, or outermost layer of skin (BBC). Better understanding the skin’s life cycle can help us take care of our skin as it undergoes the cellular repair and regeneration process.
What is Skin Regeneration?
When referring to wound healing, there is a difference between skin regeneration and repair. Skin regeneration is defined as “the complete replacement of damaged tissue with new tissue, whereas skin repair is the continued healing process of the existing tissue. Skin regeneration is a renewal of cells that can be attained in two ways:
- restoration, defined as “putting together what is broken,”
- reconstruction, defined as “replacing and rebuilding what is torn down.”
Also, skin regeneration is not typically associated with scar tissue (Healthline). According to Laura Chacon-Garbato, a licensed esthetician and Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, “The epidermis cells, or top layers of skin, continuously replace themselves, and this process of renewal is the process of shedding the epidermis.”
From a 2010 review, the skin is maintained by stem cells in the lowest layer of skin that then generate daughter cells moving upward toward the skin’s surface. Throughout this journey, the cells that produce keratin undergo a series of changes resulting in the formation of various layers of skin, which gives the skin a healthy, youthful glow.
The Skin Regeneration Process
As we age, our skin regeneration process also slows down. Studies show the usual monthly turnover time for skin increases by 30-50% by age 80. For those over age 50, according to Chacon-Garbato, the process can take as long as 84 days.
She says, “The effects of the slowdown cause buildup and an excess of dead skin cells that can make the skin look tired, dull, and opaque” (Healthline). Throughout the skin regeneration process, several things happen on a cellular level — new skin cells are first formed deep in the epidermis. Then, as skin cells mature and die on the upper layer of the epidermis, they naturally fall away.
Boosting Skin Regeneration and Repair: Lifestyle Habits
Although skin regenerates and repairs itself, the process will inevitably decline with age, making healthy lifestyle choices important to ensure your skin still regenerates efficiently.
Some ways for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Staying hydrated
- Minimizing stress
- Protecting your skin from the environment, including UV rays, pollution, and dry weather
The two main types of aging are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is genetic but could increase with stress. Extrinsic aging is a result of outside factors, like where you live and your lifestyle habits.
According to Jennifer Hurtikant, chief science officer at Prime Matter Labs, “Stress causes intrinsic aging and the environment causes extrinsic aging” (Healthline). We also recommend eating enough protein to boost the skin regeneration and repair process, such as:
- nuts and seeds
“Proteins are essential for tissue repair and the construction of new tissue,” Hurtikant says. “Cells need protein to maintain their life, so the body uses protein to replace worn-out or dead skin cells.” In addition, to boost your skin regeneration and repair, you should eat food high in antioxidants, which can help improve your skin’s luster, such as:
Changing Your Routine
According to Ziad Halub, the Founder of Supper Club Skincare, “Each individual requires different things, but there are two constants: The first is anti-inflammatory ingredients and supplements. By calming down inflammation within the skin and body, it relieves the stress on the body and allows for healthier cells.” Halub claims an antioxidant-rich diet and tailored skincare routine will help improve the cell turnover process. She suggests using products with ingredients like:
In addition, Chacon-Garbato says, “Use products with vitamin B as it’s a necessary component of cell metabolism, also known as niacinamide, and is required for many skin processes that help maintain healthy-looking skin.” She also suggests using antioxidants such as vitamin C and E to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Last but not least, you can also use natural remedies to help improve your skin’s health and its regeneration process. Look for natural ingredients such as papaya extract, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, coconut oil, and citrus extracts to help give your skin a healthy boost.