What does Skin Cycling mean?
Skin cycling, also known as epidermal turnover or skin cell renewal, refers to the continuous skin cycle of cell growth, differentiation, and shedding (you're basically exercising without exercising). It is an essential process for maintaining healthy skin and promoting a youthful appearance, and you don’t even pay for it (wait, what?). The duration of a complete skin cycle can vary, but it generally takes around 28 to 40 days for a new skin cell to make its way to the surface and shed off - our skin cells are precious cargo!
Understanding this process can help us optimise our skincare routines (think Tailor), address specific concerns (think Tailor), and maintain healthy, radiant skin (think Tailor).
What are the phases of skin cycling?
Skin cycling / growth phase
The skin cycle begins with the growth phase, during which new cells are generated in the basal layer of the epidermis. This layer contains stem cells that divide and differentiate into keratinocytes, which are the primary cells of the epidermis. As they mature, keratinocytes gradually move upward through the layers of the epidermis (you can almost feel that, right?).
Skin cycling / differentiation phase
During the differentiation phase, the newly formed keratinocytes undergo a transformation. They start to produce keratin, a fibrous protein that provides strength and structure to the skin (it sounds that much better knowing it’s free). Additionally, the keratinocytes acquire lipids (AKA fats) and other substances to form a protective barrier against external factors, because, precious cargo.
Skin cycling / migration phase
As the keratinocytes mature, they migrate towards the skin's surface, a process called desquamation. This movement is facilitated by cellular adhesion molecules and the action of enzymes that break down the connections between cells. During migration, the keratinocytes flatten and become tightly packed together. It really takes a village, that's for sure.
Skin cycling / shedding phase
The shedding phase is the final step of the skin cycle - time to freshen up. The mature keratinocytes reach the outermost layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum. At this point, they are no longer viable, so they’re off the roster. They shed from the skin's surface through the process of exfoliation. Shedding occurs naturally and is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier (yes, please) and promoting the growth of new, healthy cells (double yes).
How can I support my natural skin cycle?
This is where you come in. While the skin cycle is a natural process, various factors can affect its efficiency and balance (yes, we do have to actually do some work ourselves). Here are 5 tips to support your skin throughout its cycling journey:
Start with gentle cleansingCleanse your skin with mild, non-irritating cleansers. Harsh cleansers can disrupt the skin's barrier function by stripping natural oils, which interferes with the skin cycle. Tailor Oil Cleanse is a 100% natural nourishing makeup removing cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Hero ingredients include NZ hazelnut & kanuka oils to reduce impurities, sunflower oil to feed your skin and antioxidant-rich vitamin E to reduce inflammation.
Exfoliate to boost skin cell turnoverIncorporate exfoliation into your skincare routine to help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. However, be mindful not to over-exfoliate, as it can lead to irritation and compromise the skin barrier. Tailor Polish is an exfoliating scrub (use regularly), detox mask (try weekly) and overnight spot treatment (as required). Hero ingredients include 2% salicylic acid and pumice powder to gently break down congestion and buff away dead skin cells, and bentonite clay to absorb impurities and oils.
Keep your skin hydratedKeep your skin hydrated by using moisturisers that are suitable for your skin type. Well-hydrated skin is more pliable and allows for smoother cell migration during the skin cycle. Tailor Hydrate is a hyaluronic acid plumping serum, oil-free moisturiser, eye gel, primer serum, and facial hydrator. Hydrate has hyaluronic acid which actively draws water into the skin and niacinamide to keep skin hydrated for longer. Tailor Moisture is a lightweight protecting and hydrating daily lotion, body lotion and BB cream (try mixing with foundation). Moisture has polysaccharides to hydrate without clogging pores and a natural alternative to silicone, Milk Thistle Ester to protect skin and lock in moisture. Both Hydrate and Moisture are suited to all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Always use sun protectionProtect your skin from harmful UV rays by using broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. UV damage can accelerate the aging process and disrupt the skin cycle, leading to uneven pigmentation and premature wrinkles.
Maintain a nutritious diet for optimal skin healthEnjoy a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A well-nourished body supports healthy skin function and helps optimise the skin cycle. Read our blog on Chew The Good Fat for more on this.