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Cellular Turnover and Collagen: What’s the Connection?


Here at Qyral, we know a lot about cellular turnover. In fact, our entire skincare line is based on stimulating this cycle. It’s the solution to almost every skincare issue that people face. But there is more to healthy skin than a robust cellular turnover cycle. We need collagen for beautiful skin, especially as we age. Does the cellular turnover cycle also help us in the collagen department? 

Let’s find out!

What is the Cellular Turnover Cycle?

We have put out a lot of information about this very important biological process. If you want the fine details, we have a great article here. 

The short version goes a little like this; our skin is made up of several layers. Each layer is made up of skin cells. The top layer sheds and is replaced by lower layers. The process repeats throughout our lifetime, but as we age, this cellular turnover cycle slows down. A baby’s cells turnover within days. By your twenties, it takes weeks. An in your fifties, we’re talking about three months! That’s why a baby’s skin is soft and plump and a middle aged person’s skin is, well… not so much.

That top layer, the epidermis, tends to thin as we age. When it hangs on, the skin looks dull. The dead skin cells that accumulate make wrinkles look deeper and can clog pores. This is why exfoliation is so important. 

Stimulating the cellular turnover cycle is doable with both prescription and over the counter products. Here are just a few popular and widely used ingredients:

  • Retinoids: Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A. The most effective retinoid available is retinoic acid, which is a prescription strength topical that serves as a chemical exfoliant and stimulates cellular production. Retinol is an over the counter retinoid that is effective, though not to the degree as its prescription strength counterpart.

  • AHA/BHA: Alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acids are non-prescription strength products that work as a chemical exfoliant. They come in varying strengths. AHA has the benefit of helping the skin to hold onto moisture. BHAs are usually recommended for oily skin.

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen that can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles. This powerful antioxidant is available in a variety of strengths.

Collagen and Elastin 

The cellular turnover cycle is obviously very important, but the skin’s cells also need structure. Collagen and elastin are both proteins that provide shape to the skin. Collagen maintains strength and firmness while elastin provides flexibility and stretch (like elastic!). These proteins are plentiful when we’re young but as we age, we produce less, causing sagging and wrinkles. 

Think of collagen and elastin as the fibers in a piece of fabric. Over time, the fibers loosen and get weak. That’s exactly what happens with our skin. There are things that can slow the production of collagen even faster like sun exposure, diet, and smoking. 

There are a lot of collagen supplements available over the counter that make big claims. Topical creams, supplements, and even drinks are sold. But, studies show that not everything works. Topical creams containing collagen are a waste of money. That’s because the collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed. 

The jury is still out on collagen supplements. Most of the scientific studies center around joint health and there are positive results. There are a few studies that show that supplements can provide some cosmetic benefits. A 2019 study showed increased skin firmness, density, and hydration when taking collagen supplements, along with other factors, such as good nutrition. 

When you take collagen supplements, your digestive system breaks the molecules down into amino acids. You can get collagen from protein rich food such as meat, eggs, dairy, and beans. Supplements really don’t seem to provide any more benefit than what regular nutrition can, but taking them won’t hurt, especially if you don’t eat a lot of protein.

The Perfect Combination

It would seem that combining the stimulation of the cellular turnover cycle with collagen supplementation would yield better results than just doing each one individually. Using quality products is key and if those products are formulated for your skin type, you’ll see even better results.

In order to get the most out of your skincare routine, you need to take a holistic approach and consider both what goes into your body, as well as the outside environment. In other for the cellular turnover cycle and collagen production to best benefit one another, you can do the following:

  • Wear sunscreen religiously!!! Harmful UV rays are the number one cause of skin damage. Sunscreen is inexpensive and readily available. Some products are better than others of course (pssst, try our Protect product for both sun protection and as a makeup primer). 

  • Eat a healthy diet. We know, this is a no brainer. Lots of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins is good for your skin and your health in general. Great skin starts from the inside out. You can take a million supplements but if your diet is still poor, you’re canceling out their effects.

  • Don’t smoke. This is another no brainer. Cigarettes contain carcinogens that can cause cancer and harm your entire body.

Consider Customization

You know that the cellular turnover cycle and collagen are important for the best skin possible, but it’s confusing with so many options available. Everyone is screaming “TRY ME!”. You can waste a lot of time and money trying to find what works best for you. 

Qyral can help by individually formulating your skincare routine, taking the guesswork out of the whole process. You’ll take a skin assessment quiz and answer questions about your skin, your environment, and some of your habits. For the best results, go through our telederm consultation with a licensed dermatologist. They will prescribe ingredients that will address your concerns and recommend a customized formulation that will work for you. The skincare products will stimulate your cellular turnover cycle and adding our Sustain Cellular Supplement with collagen will give you support from the inside. 

And don’t forget to add Protect to your cart for crucial sun protection!

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