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Break the difference

“No need to be too complicated, think of exfoliating as a way to actively remove the top layer of dead skin,” said the council-certified dermatologist. Flora Kim, MD, FAAD. “While cell turnover is related to the life or journey of skin cell maturity from birth to death, when cells move upwards and up until desquamation.” Basically: Exfoliants slough off dead skin cells, but replace them with younger and faster skin cells.

That is why exfoliants tend to bring out brighter skin immediately, as they dissolve excess dead skin on the surface in an instant. While ingredients promote cell change (eg retinoidsoptimizes the skin cell life cycle and pushes young, fresh cells to the top – when this happens, those old cells will eventually flake off, but it will take a little longer . And because the cells are react more slowly to wound healing As you age, increasing the rate of cell changes can give your skin the boost it needs to help reduce hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, as well as stimulate collagen production.

Even so, you should know that exfoliation and cell changes are not mutually exclusive: Many exfoliants (like AHA and BHAAt the same time encourage cell change in addition to exfoliation of dead skin cells; and as a result, cell changes lead to dead skin peeling off as younger cells are pushed to the surface. However, some exfoliants can dissolve dead skin cells at the top, but they don’t exactly promote cell turnover for the living cells underneath – so the nuance is It is important to note.

Pick enzymes, for example: “Enzymes are great for sensitive skin because they break down proteins present in dead skin cells but don’t cause any cell death or metabolism like acids,” says surgeon. and a certified clinical director Rory Melynda Barnes, MD, told us about enzymes versus acids.

In other words, cell changes can lead to exfoliation, but exfoliating doesn’t always mean you’re encouraging new skin cells to grow.

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