Did you know that we shed almost 1 million skin cells per day? That may seem like a shocking amount, but actually, as our biggest organ, our skin needs to constantly regenerate and renew in order to keep the rest of our body protected and healthy. Those in the know call this clever process, ‘skin renewal,’ and boy are we grateful for it. We can thank this natural wonder for helping our skin stay fresh, luminous, and oh-so youthful (along with melanin, of course!), but only when it’s working efficiently. Colder climates, hormones, and vitamin deficiencies can slow down this process, causing a whole myriad of skin complaints. We’re here to shed light on this process, and how it relates to our skincare.
When we start a new skincare routine, we often expect to see immediate results within the first 24-hours of use. If we don’t, we’re often left disappointed and dejected. But slow down there, you haven’t waited for a full skin cycle yet to see your results! Here’s how to play the patience game when it comes to skincare, so let’s talk about ‘skin renewal.’
What exactly is skin renewal?
The process of renewal involves healthy cells replacing old, dead ones after the skin cycle is complete, before starting again, and again, and again! New skin cells are formed deep within the epidermis, and then continue their life towards the skins’ surface until reaching complete maturity. It’s at this peak maturity that they flake off, and the cycle renews.
As we age, our skin cycle slows down and dead cells can accumulate on the surface, leading to a dull appearance of the skin. Also, this decrease in the speed of the skin cycle causes blemishes and hyperpigmentation to persist longer. Our healing agility can also become slowed as we age, meaning that any cuts, bruises, or trauma to the epidermis will take longer to fully repair. These side effects are all the more reason to choose skincare products that help to normalise cellular turnover, and keep new and healthy cells at the surface.
How long does each cycle take?
As with most things, skin renewal cycles can vary from person to person depending on age, hormones, skin conditions, and stress levels. We can offer a rough guideline though; those between the ages of 19-21 can expect a cycle duration of 3 weeks, ages 25-39 may take upwards of 28 days, and those in their 40s and 50s can take around 45-60 days. As we age, this timeline only expands; and those who are in their 60s and higher, can expect theirs to last 60-90 days in total.
Melanin-rich skin renewal; how’s it different?
The skin renewal process can be a little slower for darker skin tones, leading to a dehydrated and ashy complexion as dead skin cells accumulate on the surface. Cell shedding also occurs 2.5 times more than those who have lighter skin, which can result in skin that becomes more fragile, compact, and dry. Coupled with a vitamin D deficiency, melanin-rich skin can become sensitive, and the skin barrier can even become impaired. And in colder climates? Well, let’s just say the dry winter months don’t help. Melanin-rich skin thrives in wonderfully hot and humid conditions, which is where cellular turnover rates are at their best and most efficient. Another fun fact about melanin-rich skin, is that it’s naturally denser, while containing more collagen and elastin than lighter skin tones.
Spilling the tea on collagen, elastin, and melanin-rich skin.
Collagen is among the most important (and plentiful) proteins found in our dermis, and one that we can directly thank for keeping our skin looking youthful and supple. As we age, our collagen production slows and depletes, accelerated by harmful environmental factors, such as pollution, drinking, or smoking. Elastin co-exists with our beloved collagen in the dermis, and helps our skin retain its elasticity and structure. As these essential proteins diminish, skin will tend to sag, and fine lines and wrinkles will become more pronounced.
Getting to the heart of our skin.
You may already be familiar with the term ‘epidermis,’ and how it relates to our surface layer of skin. But what about the other two layers below? Let’s get acquainted!
- Our outermost layer of skin (also known as the epidermis), protects us from the elements and environmental aggressors. Even though this layer is also our thinnest, it hosts a number of crucial cells, including UV-protecting melanocytes, strengthening keratinocytes, and foreign substance-repelling Langerhans. But that’s not all; millions of bacteria and microorganisms live on the epidermis, which are necessary to maintain proper functioning of the skin.
- The second layer is known as the dermis (additionally named the corium), which contains our nutrients and oxygen-carrying blood vessels. This particular layer of skin is highly complex, and contains our sweat glands, nerve endings, elastic fibres, and collagen reservoir. It’s in this layer that you’ll experience pain delivered by nerve endings.
- Lastly, the third layer of skin is called the hypodermis, which comprises large nerves, blood vessels, and connective fatty tissues. Think of this layer as your body heat regulator, providing additional help to your sweat glands to maintain your core temperature, as well as protecting your inner organs. When we age, the amount of fatty tissue reduces, causing our skin to sag.
Make sure to keep all three of these layers in optimum condition, not only for youthful vigor, but to also keep the rest of your body safe and healthy.
The importance of buffing, sloughing, and brightening.
To keep your cell renewal up, help your skin stay in peak performance-mode by gentle exfoliation with a chemical and enzymatic exfoliation treatment regularly, coupled with regenerative cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturisers with potent hydration properties. Make sure to consume plenty of vitamin and nutrient-rich foods containing vitamins A, C, and E, the daily recommendation of water intake, as well as wearing sunscreen adapted for your melanin-rich skin. This combination of skincare and healthy lifestyle choices will ensure your skin stays healthy, glowing, and youthful.
Star ingredients for your renewal needs.
We love using gentle chemical and enzymatic exfoliation combined with nutrients and emollients, along with botanical extracts that grow in the same climate conditions that melanin-rich skin flourishes in. These particular plant extracts contain proven regenerative and micro nutritive properties that help to seamlessly buff away dead skin cells, and naturally boost cellular metabolism and radiance.
- Our To Be Clear Exfoliant Mask uses a combination of (AHA’s) Glycolic and Salicylic Acids to ‘unglue’ accumulated dead skin cells, before using Pumpkin Enzymes to consume and disperse them. This powerful synergy of ingredients helps to unveil a newer, brighter, and more radiant complexion with ease, while noticeably minimising pores, fading hyperpigmentation, and diminishing small blemishes.
How to use: Twice weekly after double cleansing in the evening.
- Restore your delicate pH balance and microbiome by regularly toning after cleansing, with a non-drying toner like our nutrient-dense Tonic Oh! Treatment Lotion. Boasting a variety of performative actives that directly accelerate wound healing and pore cleansing, this breakout-busting elixir uses D-Panthenol, Mint Hydrosol, and Rice Ferment Filtrate to gently exfoliate away dead skin cells.
How to use: Apply twice daily, directly after cleansing.
- Caring for your skin has never been easier than when using our Sevenly Delight Brightening Concentrated Serum. Enriched with a unique blend of Azelaic Acid, Niacinamide, and Ginger Root Extract, this potent cocktail of a treatment serum has the power to maintain healthy cell renewal by replenishing the skins’ water reservoirs. The addition of vitamins C and B6 only make this serum even more powerful, and gives it the ability to keep skin looking uniform.
How to use: Twice daily after cleansing and toning, but before moisturising.
For the full-spectrum treatment, try our all-encompassing All-Star Set that covers all your skincare bases. Armed with a makeup-melting oil cleanser, re-energising gel cleanser, radiance-boosting exfoliant mask, clarifying toner, brightening serum, and balancing moisturiser; this routine is all your skin cells need to restore their own natural collagen and elastin levels. Each formulation is not only specifically designed for darker skin tones, but is also uniquely customised for you based on your skincare needs.
Starting your new skincare routine…
When starting a new and exciting skincare regime, we advise waiting approximately 1-3 cycles (around 6-18 weeks based on your age and other lifestyle factors), to see results. This timeframe gives the new formulations a chance to improve cell health, vitality, and strength throughout the entire cell lifespan. Newer cells make skin feel soft and supple, so it’s important to be consistent with a skincare routine that addresses the basics, as well as applying healthy lifestyle choices. While you may see immediate changes when using surface-focusing over-the-counter skincare, cosmeceutical skincare focuses on the deeper layers of the skin where the cycle starts. Long-term results can only be gained through ongoing practice. So be patient with your routine, and give it time to make the real magic happen!