Every tissue in the body needs to go through a renewal process to repair itself. Skin has a youthful, healthy look when epidermal turnover and exfoliation are at their best. Exfoliation, the shedding of cells from the stratum corneum, is part of the normal process of cell renewal in the epidermis. This same term, exfoliation, may be used to describe some aesthetic procedures encouraging cellular shedding. Understanding how and why this process works is helpful for the client and essential for the aesthetic professional performing the procedure. This article will take a closer look at this process to help readers better understand it.
In young adults, the exfoliation process naturally occurs about every 20-30 days but takes much longer in older adults. The cells move up from the basal layer to the topmost layer, making their way through every layer of the epidermis. As people age, their metabolism slows and skin renewal takes longer. Emphasizing a healthy diet, using the right skincare products, and procedures like exfoliation is helpful.
How Metabolism Affects Exfoliation
Older people have a longer exfoliation time. Youthful bodies require less time to replace lost or damaged cells and tissues. Aging is not the only process that impairs metabolic function and repair. When the body is physiologically stressed for any reason, exfoliation is also stressed. Photoaging, the aging caused by sun exposure, is a metabolic stress and accelerates with inadequate sun protection. Smoking causes huge amounts of free radical damage to the skin. This damages natural metabolic processes and harms repair processes. In short, the metabolic process has a significant impact on the natural exfoliation process.
How New Skin Cells Are Generated
New skin cells are generated from building blocks obtained in the diet and even through topical products. A good diet favors overall health as a foundation that also supports the skin. Using high quality skin care products and eating a healthy diet both contribute to the best skin possible.
Accelerated aging impairs the formation of new skin cells. The aging process can’t be stopped, but it can be slowed. Diet, exercise, and a good skin care regimen improve overall health and skin health. Lessening free radical damage through a healthy lifestyle will slow the aging process. Stress should also be limited. Smoking speeds up aging and contributes to health declines.
Topicals for Renewing the Skin
Many ingredients within skin care products can encourage healthy exfoliation and cellular regeneration. Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliators may be obtained from botanical sources. Enzyme resurfacers, like papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple, help exfoliate the skin. Additionally, some topicals are created with antioxidants to fight free radicals. Amino acids serve as building blocks and are contained in products made with metabolic protein fragments from oat, wheat, or soy. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in the skin. Vitamin E is a great antioxidant that also helps maintain the skin barrier. Vitamins B3 and B5 are required for all metabolic processes within skin cells.