As we grow older, like many other things, cell turnover becomes slower. The skin cells that renewed themselves within 21 to 28 days a few years ago, now take more than double that time. By the time you are 50+, it can take anywhere between 42 and 84 days for cells to renew. The repercussions? Potentially dull, dry skin, lacking radiance and brightness. And the solution? Investment in products that exfoliate and peel our skin.
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Simply put, we lose our “glow” as we age. Pigmentation marks get darker, and lines and wrinkles are more pronounced as old layers of dead skin fail to move off.
“The skin is continually undergoing natural exfoliation. As one ages, the epidermal cell turnover slows down and one’s skin becomes dull because the topmost layer consisting of dead cells becomes too thick,” explains Founder of Skin Renewal, GP specialising in aesthetic medicine, Dr Maureen Allem.
“This dead layer can stress the skin, causing whiteheads, blackheads, rough texture and uneven appearance of the skin tone. The dead layer can also hamper the penetration of your products (that we spend a fortune on!). It is also a fact that this build-up of dead cells causes a cascade of challenges in the skin, especially with age. The bigger the build-up, the slower and slower the skin renews itself, resulting in a vicious ageing spiral.”
IT’S ESSENTIAL TO EXFOLIATE AND PEEL
The purpose of regular exfoliation at home, be it with a facial scrub, cleansing brush, washcloth or an enzyme-exfoliating formulation, is to get rid of dead skin cell layers. These help to expose the fresh new cells underneath.
“If one exfoliates regularly, new healthy skin cells are exposed to nutrients from the air, water and daily skin products,” says Allem. “These nutrients are then transported to the deeper skin cells where they are needed, improving circulation, texture, stimulating healthy collagen and elastin production, and evening out skin tone and colour.”
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SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO VISIT THE DOC
There are some amazing home products available. Yet, sometimes, DIY exfoliation and peels simply cannot do the job effectively, especially in cases of stubborn pigmentation and other marks or scars on the skin. And the wrong products can actually make these worse!
At times it may be wise to call in some professional help: chemical peels and/or other topical exfoliations at the doctor’s rooms. You will be doing yourself and your skin a favour, but do take care, some skins, like mine, can be sensitive to harsh peels. Your skin doesn’t need to come off in sheets to see a benefit. Be sure to get good advice and rather err on the side of caution.