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Truth about Death...Skin Cell Death

In recent years, there has been much discussion about how our skin cells are constantly dying and must be replaced in order to maintain optimum health, as well as the importance of cell turnover. The implication is that if we fail to keep up with cell turnover, this will accelerate aging and lead to more visible signs of aging. In fact, whenever we read about skin care products with claims such as “boosts cell turnover” or “increases cell renewal”, almost always these properties of skin cells are attributed to skin cell death. So what is the truth about skin cell death? Should we be worrying about replacing dying skin cells or not? If so, how can we do this? This blog post demystifies these concepts, so you can feel confident in understanding all you need to know on the subject.

What is skin cell death and why is it important?

Cell death is a natural process of all living organisms, and refers to the death of one or more cells. Unlike apoptosis, which is programmed cell death, necrosis is when cells die but don’t go through apoptosis. Instead, they die by being “blown off” or being devoured by other cells. Necrotic cells are a sign of unhealthy skin, and are involved with the process of inflammation and infection. Cell death or apoptosis to be exact is important because it’s how our skin cells go through their natural life cycle, which helps to maintain optimum health. Healthy cells should be able to reproduce and divide naturally according to their own DNA.

Skin cells don’t die continuously in order to be replaced – they are constantly regenerated through a process called “differentiation”.

Most cells in our body, including skin cells, are alive and constantly growing. However they don’t just continue growing and never die. Instead, they go through a process known as differentiation, in which they change from one type of cell into another. Skin cells are constantly being regenerated from your basal layer, with new cells being pushed to the surface every 30 days (or 4 weeks). During the process of differentiation, your skin cells move up through the layers of your skin until they reach the surface. Once there, they are shed and replaced with new cells.

The importance of differentiation: Why it matters, and why you shouldn’t worry about skin cell death.

The important thing to remember is that your skin cells are constantly being regenerated from your basal layer. This means there is no need to worry about aging due to skin cell death. While the idea of skin cell death may be scary, healthy skin is a constant process of renewal and regeneration. That being said, you should always be careful about the products you use. Exfoliation is fine in small doses, but if you overdo it, you can damage your skin. This can have a negative impact on the process of differentiation, meaning your skin cells don’t have time to properly regenerate. If you notice your skin is red and irritated, or you are seeing signs of dryness, it could be a sign that you are exfoliating too much.


The need to continuously replace your skin cells is a myth. In fact, it is a natural process that is happening right now as you are reading this article. Your skin cells are constantly being regenerated from the basal layer, and they don’t need to be replaced every 28 days. The idea that you must continually replace your skin cells is both misleading and unnecessary. Instead, you should be focusing on keeping your skin healthy so that it can properly regenerate. This means using gentle nourishing products, as well as protecting your skin from the sun with sunscreen.


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