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Why Is Exfoliation and Cell Turnover So Important?

Exfoliation is supposed to be an integral part of your skincare regimen. And as you age, skincare products that encourage cell turnover, like retinol, should also be staples in your medicine cabinet. We accept these things as skincare truths, but have you every stopped to wonder, “Why?”

Exfoliation and skin cell turnover are essential to maintaining healthy skin that exudes a youthful glow.

The Difference between Exfoliation and Skin Cell Turnover

Exfoliation and skin cell turnover are closely related, but they’re not the same thing.

Exfoliation is the chemical or mechanical action by which you remove the uppermost layer of (dead) skin cells—the stratum corneum.

Skin cell turnover is the natural process by which skin cells mature, migrate to the surface and die, creating a protective layer against the environment…which is (or should be) regularly shed to prevent excess buildup.

If skin cell turnover did not happen, exfoliation would be damaging and painful. But because your body continually produces and repairs skin cells, gentle exfoliation simply maintains an adequate layer of protection while preventing clogged pores and dullness.

The Benefits of Exfoliation and Skin Cell Turnover

Both skin renewing processes are vital to achieving and maintaining healthy, beautiful skin. Think about it…

Skin cell turnover:

  • Enables your body to get rid of cells that are beyond repair, including pre-cancerous cells
  • Ensures your skin has adequate protection—both in thickness and resistance—from environmental toxins
  • Improves appearance by allowing young cells that are better hydrated (i.e. plumper) to rise to the surface for a fuller, more youthful appearance
  • Improves skin tone by promoting the natural loss of skin cells over-saturated with pigment


  • Removes excess keratinous cells that impede absorption of skin health-enhancing nutrients in your serums, moisturizers and other treatments
  • Stimulates skin cell turnover

Gentle exfoliation and natural skin cell turnover allow you to remain comfortable and confident in your skin…and to get the full benefit of your carefully chosen skincare products.

The Importance of Not Overdoing Exfoliation

Exfoliation is very important, but there is a such thing as too much of a good thing. Over-exfoliating can strip your skin of natural protection, leaving your skin raw and vulnerable to over-dryness and damage.

For best results, limit exfoliation to:

In early spring, fall and winter, you may accentuate your exfoliation practice with a professionally-applied chemical peel (recommended no more than once per month).

You can also encourage natural skin cell turnover by infusing your daily skincare routine with vitamin A, shown to encourage cell reproduction. For that, Hale Cosmeceuticals recommends Re-Fine Milk Lotion. For more personal recommendations, take our Personal Skin Assessment and contact us to speak to a knowledgeable representative.

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