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Skin regeneration is the renewal of the surface of the skin. Every day, the body produces new skin cells. They start in the deep layer of the dermis and eventually move to the epidermis, which is the surface of the skin. Over time, they are shed and fall off. Skin cells can regenerate and move to the surface layer within two weeks, but this is typically only true for younger skin.
The skin never stops regenerating, but some factors can slow this process down. As a person ages, the production of collagen in the skin slows down. Collagen is responsible for keeping the skin firm. Without it, cell production slows down and the skin can become saggy and more susceptible to wrinkling. Pollutants in the air can also slow down the skin regeneration process.
Sunlight is healthy for the skin because it provides vitamin D, but too much sunlight can damage the skin irreversibly. This also slows down collagen production and causes the skin to become dry. Moisture is needed for improved skin regeneration, especially when it has been exposed to excessive sunlight. Keeping the skin hydrated can reduce wrinkling and speed up the regeneration process.
There are instances when the skin will simply not regenerate. If the dermis or epidermis is severely injured, it will not grow back. Skin grafts can be used to cover an injury when it is too large to be sutured. An injury such as a deep and wide cut that penetrates the dermis, or a burn that destroys the upper layer or epidermis can also produce scarred or uneven skin layers.
Steps can be taken to help with skin regeneration. Certain vitamins and foods contain antioxidants that fight against the aging of skin. Antioxidants can also help to eliminate free radicals that cause certain types of cancers. These antioxidants can not only help to speed up the skin regeneration process, but they can also produce younger and healthier looking skin.
Chemical peels can also be used to rejuvenate the skin. This treatment involves putting small amounts of acid on the skin to remove the top epidermal layers. There are different types of chemical peels used, depending on how damaged the skin is. Some chemical peels only remove a small amount of skin, while others penetrate the skin and remove more.