Did you know that when we are young, our skin cells slough off or turnover every 14 to 21 days?
Let me explain what those terms mean:
Our skin is made up of layers. The inner layer is the dermis, which lies on top of the subcutaneous layer or your fat. The dermis layer is the layer that receives the blood, oxygen, and nutrients. It is also where the hair follicles, sweat glands, and oil glands are. The next layer, the epidermis, lies on top of the dermis.
Depending on the location, the epidermis can be made up of 5 layers. The 5 layers of the epidermis are the following:
1. Stratum Basal or Germinativum (think of a seed germinating)
2. Stratum Spinosum or Spiny (these cells are spiny in appearance)
3. Stratum Granulosum or Granular
4. Stratum Lucidum (only on palms of your hands and soles of your feet)
5. Stratum Corneum or Horny layer (the outer most superficial layer we see and it can be 15-20 layers of dead cells)
It is in the stratum basal or geminativum layer where your cells are dividing, making new cells every day. As more and more new cells are created, the older cells are pushed up toward the stratum corneum layer where they eventually are slough off. It is this journey that takes the older cells to reach the stratum corneum, where the term “cell turnover” is coined. The cells at the stratum corneum layer are flatten, dead cells, filled with keratin. As previously stated, when we are younger the “cell turnover” is about 14-21 days. As we get older the “cell turnover” coincides with our age; so, if you are 40 years old, cell turnover is 40 days, 50 years old, cell turnover is 50 days, 60 years old, cell turnover is 60 days and so on. This is why our skin loses its glow, and resilience. Dead skin cells build up on the surface of the skin, and the skin becomes thinner due to collagen bundles being loose instead of tightly packed as it is when we were younger.
The sloughing off of the accumulated dead cells from the surface of your skin (removing the cell congestion) leads to a healthier glow. In addition, by removing the cell congestion, the skin is more readily able to absorb serums and other skin products producing optimum results. This is why chemical peels became popular; they force “cell turnover.” There are aggressive medical grade peels and there are lower grade peels.
The medical grade chemical peels can be very invasive, with downtime (several days to weeks) and usually with prescribed antibiotics. The skin is the first line of defense from the environment and when extreme layers are removed infections can occur.
The lower grade chemical peels can be so mild there is no downtime or redness and can be performed every 14 to 21 days mimicking the cell turnover as when we were younger. They can also be a bit aggressive with shorter “downtime” usually 3 days to 1 week, accompanied with some redness, visual flaking or peeling of the skin similar to a snake shedding. In the long run, the benefits outweigh the unpleasantness. Chemical peels minimize pores, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, reduce sun damage discoloration/hyperpigmentation, helps clear up acne, some scarring, and evens out skin tones and texture. If you do not want the long downtime as with the medical grade peels, then scheduling the lower grade peels more frequently may be the best option.
The recommendation of which peel to do should be determined by a Florida licensed dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or Florida licensed facial or full specialist after they have professionally evaluated your skin. Please note that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) does not license medical estheticians. We are either licensed full specialist or facial specialist but not licensed medical estheticians. Please contact me for more information or to book a free consultation, and “Let’s Talk Skin.”
Sandi Brooks, Spa Owner,
Esthetician/Full Specialist (FL License #FS873055)
813.239.4090 (text is best)