Lab notes  /  Skin  /  What Is The Skin Cycle?

What Is The Skin Cycle?

Renude expert Amelia deep dives into everything you need to know about the skin renewal cycle

Start your 2 minute skin quiz today and one of our aestheticians will create a personalised skincare routine for you!Take the skin quiz
What Is The Skin Cycle?
Written byAmelia HudsonRenude Skin Expert
Start your 2 minute skin quiz today and one of our aestheticians will create a personalised skincare routine for you!Take the skin quiz

What is the Skin Cycle?

The skin cycle is a natural and vital process of skin cell renewal in which the skin generates new, young healthy radiant skin cells to replace the matured, dull, damaged skin cells which naturally shed over a period of time. Our skin is made up of many layers, imagine a brick wall where there is a base layer and a top layer, with many layers in between. 

How Does The Skin Renew Itself?

Our skin produces new healthy skin cells in the basal layer of the epidermis. These new, young healthy cells then go on a ‘journey’ travelling upwards through the ‘in between’ layers and as they are journeying upwards, they grow and mature where finally they reach their final destination the topmost outer layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (aka the skin barrier) where they have fully matured and then they naturally shed away. This ‘journey’ from start to finish is known as the skin cycle. 

Why is the Skin Cycle Important?

Apart from looking beautiful, your skin actually has many vital functions to perform to keep us safe and healthy. One of the many functions of the skin is protection. Protection from UV radiation, pathogens/infections and our environment. Hence why optimising skin health is vital. 

If you have a healthy, hydrated, nourished skin barrier with a healthy turnover, you will have radiant, plump, youthful skin. However, in the world of skincare, we are currently seeing an obsession with achieving a radiant glow. We are seeing a trend in overusing certain skincare ingredients to speed up the natural cycle and obliterate the protective skin barrier. 

This approach of stripping the skin of its essential barrier and hydration is actually detrimental to skin health and actually achieves the opposite results. This constant excessive exfoliation causes inflammation and sensitivity, dehydration, dull, rough-looking skin and can cause breakouts and can actually worsen existing skin conditions. Ensuring a healthy, balanced skin cycle is essential for healthy, radiant-looking skin. 

How Long Does The Skin Renewal Cycle Take?

The average length for a full skin cycle to occur is 4-6 weeks. However, there are many varying factors that come into play that can affect an individual's skin cycle such as age, as we age our natural cell turnover naturally slows down. 

Hormonal health, medications, stress levels, age, inflammation, gut health, environmental factors and even skincare ingredients all have an impact on our individual skin cycle. 

Are There Any Ingredients That Speed Up Skin Cell Renewal? 


The ‘holy grail’ of skincare ingredients. Retinol is a superhero ingredient with many skin benefits, it is your ultimate multitasker and is a fantastic ingredient to boost dull, sluggish skin. 


Chemical exfoliants work differently from physical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants are also known as scrubs and work with a buffing effect or sandpaper effect on the outermost layer of the skin. Physical exfoliants are detrimental to barrier health as they cause microscopic tears on the skin barrier which leads to inflammation and compromised barrier health. 

Chemical exfoliants work by dissolving the intracellular ‘glue’ that holds the skin cells together. Imagine a brick wall which is held together by cement. However, chemical exfoliants have far more benefits than just exfoliation.


Glycolic acid and Lactic acid. These are best suited for brightness, pigmentation, collagen boosting and less sensitive skin. 


Salicylic acid. This is best suited for oily, acne-prone skin, large pores, blackheads and sensitive skin types.


Gluconolactone and Lactobionic acid. These are best suited for sensitive skin types.


Vitamin C works oppositely to chemical exfoliants and works by stimulating the production of new, healthy, radiant skin cells. Ascorbic acid is the most popular form of vitamin C used in cosmeceutical skincare, however, ascorbic acid can trigger sensitivity and breakouts in more sensitive skin types. Sensitive skin types are best using either magnesium ascorbyl, ascorbyl glucoside or ethylated L-ascorbic acid.

Wondering if these ingredients are right for you?

If you would like support from Amelia, or one of our other clinical experts, join Renude's membership today. For just £20/quarter (100% redeemable on product), you will receive a professional skin analysis, seasonal skin check-in and routine updates, and unlimited messaging in-between. 

Amelia HudsonRenude Skin Expert
Share this article on social
Amelia HudsonRenude Skin Expert
Share this article on social

Your personalised skincare routine in 3 simple steps
Tell us about your skin

Complete our quick quiz, then upload photos or book a video call (priced at £20 or £35)

We’ll personalise your routine

Our award-winning AI analyses your skin before your aesthetician creates your personalised routine

Begin your skin journey

Message your aesthetician with any questions and check-in as your skin changes for ongoing advice