Cellular Renewal

Written by Serena Berger
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When we are young, our bodies find it easy to regenerate most cells in abundance. Our nutrition is typically sufficient, we get enough sleep, and we haven't been exposed to any environmental factors which alter our biochemistry. Unfortunately, over time, all of these ideal conditions give way to the conditions and demands of the real world, and we simply can't take such good care of ourselves. We find that our skin does not renew itself the way that it used to, and we want it back.

Vitamins and Cellular Renewal

Skin care products will often tell you that they "stimulate" cellular renewal. This is a very misleading word to use. Consider, for example, skin care products which boast cellular renewal properties because they are replete with vitamins like A, C, and E. Vitamin A (Retinol) is an antioxidant which is essential to the renewal of skin cells. It does not, however, cause the body actually to produce collagen, elastin, or new skin cells. It is simply used when the body undergoes the regenerative process. If your body were trying to re-grow skin cells and it did not have enough vitamin A, it could not make the cells--but no amount of vitamin A will start the process. The same is true for C, E, beta-Carotene, and lycopene, as well as many others. For that reason, it is wise to take a dietary supplement (i.e. a multivitamin) which will make sure that you have all the components you need to build healthy skin, but a general nutritional supplement will suffice.

You may have heard or read that exfoliating will encourage cellular renewal. You also need to know how to decipher this statement. Using an alpha or beta hydroxy acid exfoliating cream or wash will get rid of old, dead skin cells. This will then send a message to your body that it would be nice to have fresh skin, collagen, elastin, and all of those good things--but it will not make your body better able to produce them. Their emergence is dependent on your internal biochemistry, not the product.

Your body's ability to replace skin cells and proteins to keep everything fresh, young, and healthy is an internal matter. Cosmetics will not change it. You have to take care of yourself physically--especially in terms of avoiding sun damage, dehydration, malnutrition, and sleep derivation. Cosmetics can prep the palette, so to speak, but only a healthy body can actually renew cells.

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