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What Is The Skin Cycle?

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

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 are growing and maturing where finally they reach their final destination being the top most 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 obliterating 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 individuals 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 Which 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 skins. 


Chemical exfoliants work differently to physical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants are also known as scrubs and work by 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 skins. 


Salicylic acid. This is best suited for oily, acne prone skins, 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?

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Amelia Hudson
Amelia Hudson
Renude Skin Expert