The body is always in a state of change. In particular, the cells in your skin are constantly replacing themselves.
The skin does this through the process of regeneration and repair.
On a cellular level, the skin cells are constantly shedding, revealing fresh, newly grown skin cells underneath. This is why scars and blemishes may fade a bit with time.
Understanding the science behind your skin’s life cycle can help you to take care of your skin as it goes through the regeneration process. It can also help you boost your skin’s natural regeneration process and give you a fresh glow.
Here’s what the skin care experts have to say about how to speed up skin regeneration.
According to 2015 research, skin regeneration refers to the complete replacement of damaged tissue with new tissue. Skin repair refers to the continued healing process of existing tissue. Skin regeneration isn’t usually associated with scar tissue.
The research goes on to say that skin regeneration can happen in two ways:
- restoration, or putting together what is broken
- reconstruction, or replacing and rebuilding what is torn down
Skin regeneration is a natural physical process that occurs on a cellular level.
“The epidermis cells, or top layers of skin, continuously replace themselves,” explains Laura Chacon-Garbato, a licensed esthetician and director of education at Herbalife. “This process of renewal is the process of shedding the epidermis.”
In other words, skin regeneration is a constant renewal of cells.
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During this journey, cells that produce keratin undergo a series of biochemical and morphological changes that result in the formation of the various layers of the skin.
“This gives skin a young, healthy glow,” adds Jennifer Hurtikant, chief science officer at Prime Matter Labs.
“When we’re young, the process of exfoliation happens naturally, but as we age this process is altered and slows down,” Chacon-Garbato says.
An older 2006 study notes that the usual 28-day turnover time for skin increases approximately 30 percent to 50 percent by age 80.
For people over 50 years old, Chacon-Garbato says, the process can take as long as 84 days.
“The effects of the slowdown cause buildup and an excess of dead skin cells that can make the skin look tired, dull, and opaque,” she says.
Throughout this process, several things occur on a cellular level.
First, new skin cells are formed deep in the epidermis.
Then, as the skin cells mature and die on the upper layer of the epidermis, they naturally fall away.
The skin healing process
If you have a cut or burn, you may be left with a scar.
This is because fibroblasts in scar tissue form collagen differently than in regular tissue. As a result, it’s thicker and less flexible than regular skin tissue.
However, by improving skin regeneration, you may notice that scars gradually fade away as fresh, healthy skin tissue forms beneath them.
As you get older, skin regeneration slows down. This leaves an accumulation of dead skin cells on the upper layer of the skin.
By boosting the natural regeneration process, you can help the skin look fresh and feel elastic, even as you age.
Making healthy choices can help to keep the skin regeneration process functioning optimally.
There are two types of aging, cellular or intrinsic aging and environmental or extrinsic aging.
Intrinsic aging is a genetically predetermined process that occurs naturally, but may increase with stress. Extrinsic aging is a result of outside factors, like where you live and your lifestyle habits.
“Stress causes intrinsic aging and the environment causes extrinsic aging,” Hurtikant says.
Chacon-Garbato recommends eating plenty of protein, such as:
- nuts and seeds
“Proteins are essential for tissue repair and the construction of new tissue,” she says. “Cells need protein to maintain their life, so the body uses protein to replace worn-out or dead skin cells.”
In addition, favor foods that are high in antioxidants, like:
Including antioxidants in your diet may help improve the glow and luster of the skin.
Specific skin care products can also help improve the natural cell turnover process, hydrate the skin, and get rid of built-up dead skin cells. Look for ingredients like:
“Use products with vitamin B3,” Chacon-Garbato suggests. 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.
Try Swisse Beauty Skin Regeneration+, an oral supplement with ALA, and Musely FaceRx Anti-Aging Night Cream with tretinoin, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.
These natural remedies may help boost your skin’s health and promote the skin regeneration process:
A 2022 study found that several plant extracts, including papaya, showed antioxidant, and antiwrinkle effects. Extracts that used ethanol as a cosolvent showed greater effects.
You can look for natural skin care products that contain these ingredients.
Citrus can increase photosensitivity, or sensitivity to light. Use caution when applying citrus in any form to the skin by avoiding direct sun exposure and using sun protection. Never apply citrus oils directly to the skin.
If you want to exfoliate a little deeper, a dermatologist may be able to offer a more intensive skin resurfacing procedure to kick-start skin rejuvenation. Make sure you find a dermatologist who is board certified.
“However,” she notes, “there’s no one-size-fits-all for the skin, so it’s important to check with your dermatologist to help define the best approach for the results you want to achieve.”
Want to know more? Get the FAQs below.
Does aloe vera help with skin regeneration?
Aloe vera encourages cell diversity and helps keep the skin well hydrated and protected.
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“Aloe vera is an excellent ingredient to use daily because it’s well known for its revitalizing and calming properties,” Chacon-Garbato says. “It’s also a hugely effective hydrator and helps to minimize skin dryness.”
She notes that it’s been used for centuries for beauty because of its many benefits, including delivering moisture directly to the tissue and helping prevent water loss due to evaporation.
Hurtikant adds that while aloe vera is great for boosting regeneration, there are other ingredients to try too.
“Trending ingredients for skin regeneration are derivatives of algae and mushrooms, and hyaluronic acid,” she says.
What’s the best cream for skin regeneration?
There are plenty of skin care products that have been shown to improve the appearance of aging in the skin by speeding up the natural skin regeneration process.
One highly rated product is Musely FaceRx Anti-Aging Night Cream, which includes active ingredients such as tretinoin (Retin-A), niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
These three ingredients are all excellent for encouraging exfoliation. Keep an eye out for them on the ingredients list when you’re looking for good creams to promote regeneration.
How long does it take for your skin to regenerate?
For most adults under 50 years old, the cycle lasts between 28 and 42 days. For adults over 50 years old, this may increase to up to 84 days, though the number varies.
The time it takes for your skin to complete the skin regeneration cycle depends on a range of factors, including:
- your age
- your diet
- your skin care routine
- your hydration levels
- environmental factors
How do you speed up skin regeneration?
There are a range of ways to improve skin regeneration.
Simple lifestyle changes like exercise and increased hydration can keep the process working properly.
Skin creams that include exfoliating ingredients can also help to get rid of excess dead skin.
Some procedures can also encourage faster growth of new skin cells to speed up the regeneration process.
Does aging skin still regenerate?
Aging slows down the skin regeneration process, but it doesn’t ever stop it completely.
However, because the process becomes much slower as we age, the skin can appear thicker, less flexible, and more wrinkled or textured.
This is because the slower the regeneration, the more dead skin cells remain on the face.
Skin regeneration is a natural cycle that occurs as the skin cells turn over. In other words, dead skin cells on the top layer of the epidermis fall away, revealing fresh, newly created cells beneath.
By supporting this cycle with a healthy lifestyle and skin care routine, you can encourage a lustrous glow even as you get older.
Just remember: while boosting skin regeneration is possible, it’s natural for the cycle to slow down as you age. A few wrinkles and some texture are nothing to be ashamed of.
You can even think of them as signs of wisdom and experience.
Meg is a freelance journalist and features writer who covers culture, entertainment, lifestyle and health. Her writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Shondaland, Healthline, HelloGiggles, Reader’s Digest, Apartment Therapy, and more. T: @wordsbyMeg W: megwalters.co.uk