Our skin is pretty amazing, isn’t it? We bump it, bruise it and often abuse it, but there it is, always our number one protector. But as like everything else, as we get older it can get a little sluggish. To explain, when we’re young our skin has the natural ability to renew itself roughly every 28 days. That’s why it’s able to do miraculous things like quickly heal itself when injured. But the older we get (starting sometime around our late 20s, give or take), this renewal process starts to slow down. That means a buildup of dead cells that can clog pores and give skin a rough, flaky texture.
The good news is that you can kickstart this process by exfoliating (aka removing) the dead skin cells to allow the new, fresh cells to move up to the surface like they did in the olden days. This process occurs in the outermost later of the skin known as the epidermis. Think of it as layers that kind of look like a little brick wall. Cell renewal begins at the bottom (known as the basal layer) of the epidermis and then the cells migrate upward, pushing the cells above them closer to the surface. Eventually these cells live out their life expectancy and die, flattening out and sticking to the surface (the stratum corneum) of the skin. And then this cell circle of life repeats itself. These flat, dead cells aren’t necessarily a bad thing. You want some of them sticking around to help guard your protective barrier below and keep you healthy and happy. The problem comes when the natural sloughing off process slows, and the cells pile up on the skin’s surface like a traffic jam at commute time. But there’s hope. Just like the feelings of joy when a lane begins to clear and your speedometer accelerates above 30 mph, your skin can be relieved of that heap of congestion.