- HEALTH & NUTRITION
How to support your skin cells
The skin you’re looking at today is in a constant state of regeneration. Every day, you shed over 30,000 skin cells which are swiftly replaced with new ones through a process called cell regeneration.
Nov 6, 2023|
Nov 6, 2023
Each and every day your body is repairing, recycling and replacing damaged cells and tissue. On a cellular level, your skin cells are constantly shedding and revealing fresh, new cells – which is why blemishes and scars will fade over time.
While some cells have a longer lifespan (like red blood cells that turnover every 120 days, or liver cells that take up to 3 years to regenerate), the cells that make up your skin are replaced every 2 to 3 weeks. It’s no surprise then, that the body’s largest organ requires plenty of cells to sustain it! Your skin is one of the first lines of defense against your environment (UV rays, pollution, wind damage, bacteria, infection, etc.), and to defend itself against the potential damage of these external factors - it needs a high turnover of cells to keep this protective layer healthy.
Your largest organ is made up of three layers. The epidermis, dermis and the subcutaneous layer, or the fatty layer, of skin that is found deeper beyond the epidermis.
The epidermis is the surface layer of your skin – the skin that you can see and touch. It acts as a protective barrier, shielding the body from bacteria and protecting us from the elements. It also continuously produces new cells. Around every 28-40 days, a new skin cell is born in the deeper layers of the epidermis. It then makes its way to the surface of the skin and appears as the dry, flaky skin we that we consider to be “dead” skin. The epidermis also contains melanin, the pigment that gives skin color.
The dermis layer sits below the epidermis, and it contains collagen and elastin that keep the skin strong and flexible. This layer makes up around 90% of the skin’s thickness, and it supplies blood and nutrients to the epidermis to keep the skin layers healthy. The dermis produces sweat to be released through the skin’s pores, and it also houses nerve receptors that signal when the body feels pain to protect it from any danger from the external environment.
The fatty layer below the dermis, AKA the hypodermis, is the shield between our skin’s surface layers and our muscles, bones, tissues and organs. The hypodermis is packed full of connective tissue to cushion muscles and bones to protect them from any injuries.
When it comes to supporting your skin cells, there are a few key things you can do to protect these important layers that make up your skin – from eating a whole food diet and getting plenty of antioxidants to staying hydrated and always wearing sunscreen. But if you want to cover all your bases, there are a few key supplements that can help you reach your skin goals.
3 ways to support the renewal of your skin cells
As you age and as the body produces less collagen and elastin, the thickness of each of layer of skin can start to decline. In order to optimize and support cell turnover, it’s crucial to feed the skin with the right nutrients – both internally and externally.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant found within the body. It’s a fundamental coenzyme that is vital for cellular energy production. While it’s naturally produced by the body, CoQ10 is an antioxidant that declines as we age. Starting from our early twenties, the production of CoQ10 decreases and by the age of 80 – the natural production of CoQ10 is reduced by half. As our largest organ, the skin is directly exposed to our external environment and the stress that it brings in the form of free radicals. CoQ10's main purpose is to neutralize free radicals.
- Antioxidant protection: CoQ10 plays a significant role in helping to support our cells and mitochondria from internal and external free radical associated cell damage.
- Skin cell renewal: CoQ10 provides cells with the critical energy they need to repair and regenerate, which makes your skin cells work more efficiently better and look younger.
- Repleting your CoQ10 stores: as our levels of CoQ10 are depleted with age they are less able to control free radicals and the body is less able to produce collagen and elastin, which in turn can lead to wrinkled, sallow, and less firm skin. An increase in CoQ10 can help with the production of both, as well as stimulate cell activity in general.
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. It's made up of the amino acids like glycine and proline, and provides structural support for our connective tissue, skin, tendons, muscles, bones and cartilage. Collagen also plays a crucial role in cellular processes including cellular communication, and tissue repair.
- Top up your collagen stores: Like CoQ10, as you age – your normal production of collagen naturally declines. Because collagen is typically found abundantly in the important layers that make up our skin layers, a decline in collagen can compromise the integrity of our skin. Collagen loss can lead to dry skin, loss of skin elasticity and increased signs of aging – which is why it may be important to increase your intake and top-up your levels as you age.
- Increase collagen and elasticity at a cellular level: Increasing your intake of collagen may stimulate tissues to produce more collagen, which in turn may support the foundational layers of your skin. One review including 11 studies found that when women who took 3-10 grams of collagen each day experienced improvements in skin elasticity and hydration after an average period of around two and a half months.
- Encourages skin cell renewal: collagen encourages skin cell renewal by stimulating the proliferation of skin fibroblasts (cells that contribute to the formation of connective tissue) and keratinocytes (cells that play an integral role in skin repair).
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning that the human body doesn’t produce it on its own, so we must obtain it from our diet. This potent antioxidant is found at high concentrations in both the surface layer (the epidermis) and the deeper layers (the dermis) of normal healthy skin. This supports important functions like collagen synthesis, UV defense and antioxidant protection. Vitamin C is a nutrient that is easily depleted by stress, so in order to meet our daily requirement we need to maintain adequate levels.
- Support collagen production: As an essential nutrient for collagen synthesis, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the production and maintenance of healthy collagen. Because of its role in producing collagen, vitamin C has been shown to protect the skin from signs of aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Aids tissue repair: Vitamin C is directly involved in wound healing and also influences tissue repair.
- Protects against free radical damage: oxidative stress from free radical damage plays a major role in the aging process – particularly when it comes to our skin. A prolonged state of oxidative stress can contribute to a loss of collagen and elastin fibers and speed up the signs of aging. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help provide protection against free radical damage to protect the skin.
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