Epidermal turnover is a natural process of the body. Every tissue in the body will go through this process in order to repair itself. Skin has a youthful, healthy look when epidermal turnover and exfoliation is at its best. Desquamation is the shedding of skin cells from the stratum corneum, the upper most layer of the skin and is required for the normal process of cell renewal in the epidermis. Exfoliation is the physical process carried out by aestheticians or the use of physical exfoliants to aid epidermal turnover. Understanding why this process works is helpful for the client and essential for the professional performing the procedure.
Epidermal turnover is the natural process in which cells move up from the basal layer to the stratum corneum, moving up every layer of the epidermis as they age. In young adults the full process of epidermal turnover occurs every 20-30 days but can take much longer in older adults. As people age, their metabolism slows, and skin renewal can take anywhere between 30 and 90+ days. This is why emphasising a healthy diet, the right regimen and procedures to support this process is essential.
Older people’s epidermal turnover, however, aging is not the only process that impairs metabolic function and repair. When the body is physiologically stressed for any reason, the skin and epidermal turnover also becomes stressed. Photoaging is aging that is caused by sun exposure and is a metabolic stress that accelerates with inadequate sun protection. Smoking also causes huge amounts of free radical damage to the skin. This damages the natural metabolic processes, such as epidermal turnover and harms the skins repair process.
Accelerated aging impacts the formation of new skin cells. New skin cells are generated from building blocks obtained from our diet and even through topical products. A good diet favours overall health as a foundation that also supports the skin. The combination of high-quality skincare products, eating a healthy diet and exercise work hand in hand to contribute to the best skin possible as well as good overall health.
Topical products to support the renewal of skin cells and supporting epidermal turnover should include ingredients such as:
Enzyme resurfacers, like papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple.
AHA’s/ BHA’s (Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic Acids) from botanical sources.
Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in the skin that act as foundational pillars.
Vitamin E is a great antioxidant that also helps maintain the skin barrier.
Vitamin B5 and B3 are required for all metabolic processes within skin cells.