Can You Naturally Rejuvenate Skin Cells? Here Are 5 Proven Ways
You hear the claim on many treatments and tonics: "This will rejuvenate your skin!" It's an attractive claim. Take all the skin damage of yesterday and magically transform it into healthy new cells today? Yes, please. But many products and treatments fall short. Why? Because what is masked as "rejuvenating" is really just superficial dressing.
Here's the thing: Your skin "rejuvenates" all the time: Your body is constantly creating new cells to repair past damage. In fact, this happens every 27 days in the epidermis. However, there are science-backed ways you can—and should—support that process. By giving your body the tools it needs to help heal itself, you can keep your skin cells looking vibrant and healthy for longer. That's the wonder of cellular beauty.
Here, five ways to harness your body's power of rejuvenation:
1. Enter the REM cycle.
For years, scientists have known that sleep is a vital part of overall body rejuvenation. When you enter the REM cycle, cells throughout the body are able to repair and restore themselves. This happens in your skin cells, too. And recently scientists have found that this rejuvenation process is especially important for collagen and collagen production. When we enter the REM cycle, our body naturally repairs its collagen layer in the skin. This happens because we have two collagen fiber structures: One structure is our skin's permanent collagen, or the scaffolding that keeps our skin in place. The other is thinner and more transient; these collagen fibers repair and then bind with the permanent collagen fibers as we sleep. Essentially: Whatever damage your collagen took throughout the day—sun, pollution, inflammation—your body restores that damage by using these "helper" collagen fibers.
2. Take a target supplement.*
If beauty starts at the cellular level—which we believe it does—then you must give your skin cells all the tools possible to rejuvenate from the inside out. You want to give your skin cells the proper tools so that they can function optimally. For example, phytoceramides help to reduce dryness and wrinkles while significantly improving skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.* Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, protects the skin's collagen layer and has been shown to help reduce fine lines and age spots and support skin hydration.*
3. Use a serum with both vitamins C and E.
As far as healthy skin goes, there's a reason vitamin C is continually on the top of the list for derms' recommendations. The antioxidant has been shown to support collagen in two ways: first by promoting collagen production, and second by stabilizing the collagen your skin already has. This means your skin is able to rebuild its internal structure with collagen—and keep it there for longer. What you might not realize is that using vitamin C topically is most effective when paired with vitamin E. To understand why, you have to get down to the cellular level.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, whereas vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. When formulated together, the vitamin E helps the vitamin C better penetrate the skin cell's lipid layer into water inside the cell, where it can work its antioxidant magic. But that's not all: Vitamin C is a very unstable antioxidant, and it loses its free-radical-fighting power once it neutralizes a free radical. However, vitamin E is actually able to "hype" up vitamin C again so it can continue to fight oxidative stress for longer.
4. If you can tolerate it, use a retinol or retinol alternative.
Retinol, and its alternatives like backuchoil, are not for everyone. For starters, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use retinol (they can use bakuchiol). But some skin types just don't tolerate it as well, and it can be irritating for those with certain inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea. However, if you can tolerate it, there is significant evidence that you should incorporate it into your nighttime routine.
Retinols work by increasing the rate at which your skin cells reproduce and cycle out. Essentially it takes that 27-day cycle and shortens it. This helps the skin, making it look younger, brighter, and healthier. It also helps those with acne, as increasing the turnover rate of cells means they are less likely to get stuck in pores. (This is also why there's a lengthy "adjustment period" of retinol—your skin needs to get used to its new turnover cycle.)
It helps skin in other ways, too. For years people assumed that retinol made your skin thinner as your cells were shedding faster—however, research indicates that it actually helps thicken the dermal layer over time. However, it does make your skin extra sensitive to photodamage, so be sure to practice proper sun care if you use this active.
If you're interested in trying, look for one of our favorite retinol products here.
5. Consider PRP injections.
Sure, this is the most extreme of the recommendations here, but if you are serious about helping your skin cells function at their peak, platelet-rich plasma injections are the most sophisticated (and natural) integrative treatment available. You might hear "facial injections" and immediately think of filler or Botox, but these injections are entirely natural—because it comes from your own blood.
A vial of your own blood is drawn, put in a machine called a centrifuge, which separates the platelets from the rest of the blood cells (white and red). Platelets, which contain growth factors, are in charge of recovery and inflammation in the body. When an area of the body is damaged (i.e., premature aging from oxidative stress or environmental aggressors, like pollution), that area needs more repair cells, but sometimes it's hard for the body to get those cells to said location. So that's why you inject (or use acupuncture or via microneedling) a concentrated amount, so the platelets can hyper focus on damaged and aging skin cells. The result is skin that is better able to heal itself—resulting it smoother lines, more even texture, and improved tone.
And do you want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.