How Skin Cell Turnover Works and Why it Matters for Skin Health

A scroll through your social media feed for “healthy skin” will definitely turn up some interesting results, and you’re practically guaranteed to see the term “cell turnover.” 

It seems that cellular turnover might just be the holy grail of getting healthier, younger-looking skin, but what does it actually mean and how can you make it happen? 

At One Ocean Beauty, we’re committed to getting you the healthiest skin possible, and part of that journey is providing you with products that encourage cell turnover. We’ll talk about cell turnover and how it helps keep your skin healthy.

What is Skin Cell Turnover?

Your best friend says she got microdermabrasion to help with skin cell turnover. While you’re pretty sure that means she received a heavy exfoliation treatment at the aesthetician’s office, you have no idea what skin cell turnover is and why she needs it. 

You also aren’t ready to consider an invasive treatment like that yourself. 

Cell turnover refers to the constant and continual shedding of dead skin cells and the creation of new skin cells. How does it work? Here’s a little Biology 101 refresher.

  • Your skin (as well as everything else in your body) is made up of cells. Each cell has a lifespan, and for skin cells, that span is around 28 days or slower, depending on your age. 
  • New skin cells are created in the deepest layer of your skin, called the basal layer. It’s the bottom part of the top part of your epidermis.
  • As a new skin cell matures, it travels up through the layers of your skin, getting fatter and plumper with collagen and nutrients, until it reaches the top.
  • When the fat, plump skin cells get to the top layer of your skin, the party is over and they die. Ideally, they have sloughed off the surface of your skin, revealing the next layer of fat, plump skin cells. 

This entire process is what makes up cell turnover, and it’s what makes our skin look and feel more youthful. When we are young, the process of cell turnover happens rapidly; as quickly as 14 days in babies. 

As we get older, that rate of turnover slows significantly, with the average adult skin cell lifespan around 28 days, slowing to over 40 days as we enter our fifties and sixties. 

Why Does Cell Turnover Matter?

Cell turnover is important because it’s what keeps our skin healthy and youthful. It’s also what heals our skin and helps fade areas of hyperpigmentation and heal blemishes over time. 

Obviously, new skin is going to look healthier and more radiant than a layer of dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin, but unfortunately, the process of skin cell turnover doesn’t always happen with textbook perfection. 

When cell turnover doesn’t go as planned, the result is skin that is irritated, dull, and blemish-prone. Here are few side effects you can experience if your cell turnover isn’t working properly, or as quickly as it should.

Dull, Lackluster Complexion

You feel healthy, but your skin looks dull and tired. You miss the radiant, glowing skin you had when you were younger. The problem is likely that your cell turnover rate has slowed, and you aren’t proactively trying to speed it up. 

When your cellular turnover slows, you’ll end up with skin that is covered in a layer of dead skin cells that can seriously muddle your complexion. Newer, healthier skin cells (remember the fat, plump new skin cells) will give your skin a glowing, more radiant look.

Bumps and Blemishes

People who suffer from acne usually have cell turnover rates that are much slower than people who don’t have acne. 

Blemish forms because the follicles beneath your pores get clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. How does that happen? When new skin cells begin pushing up through the hair follicle to be excreted by the pore, they can sometimes get stuck. 

They can get stuck if your skin produces an excess amount of sebum. Sebum is your skin’s natural oil that also helps move skin cells up through the hair follicle to be released onto the surface of your skin. If your skin is producing too much sebum, it can cause skin cells to clog the pores, where they die and form blemishes. 

You can also develop bumps and blemishes from dead skin cells that are stuck to the surface of your skin and haven’t been sloughed away. Piles of dead skin cells can mix with dirt, oil, sweat, and makeup, clinging to your skin, and seeping into your pores to clog them and cause bumps. 

Signs of Aging

When your skin cell turnover slows, it means newer, younger skin isn’t showing up as fast. When that happens, you’ll begin to notice more lines, wrinkles, sagging skin that has loss of elasticity, and a natural thinning of the skin that happens with aging. 

New skin cells help heal and restore the visible portion of your skin. In fact, all age supporting products have the same goal: to increase cellular turnover to promote the growth of new skin. 

How to Increase Cell Turnover

Increasing cell turnover is a great idea at any age in adulthood, but if you’re in the over 30 crowds, it’s absolutely vital. Cell turnover is like your skin’s metabolism; you have to take care of it and use products to encourage it or it will continue to slow.

Thankfully, there are ingredients derived from nature that can help you ignite your cellular turnover and uncover healthier, happier skin. 

Exfoliating (The Right Way)

Anytime we talk about cell turnover we’re going to discuss exfoliation. Exfoliation is the process of removing that top layer of accumulated dead skin cells to reveal the fat, plump, healthy skin cells below. 

Exfoliating not only eliminates the buildup of dead skin cells but also helps encourage your skin to quicken its cell turnover rate. 

However, exfoliating is only beneficial when it is done correctly, in a way that is gentle, yet effective, for your skin. Many abrasive scrubs can actually cause microtears in your skin, which can leave it irritated and make your skin situation worse. 

The best way to exfoliate your skin is to use an all-natural scrub to gently lift dead skin cells from the surface of your skin so they can easily be sloughed away. To do this, you’ll need a product that has a mild exfoliating ingredient that won’t cause damage to your skin. 

Product to try: One Ocean Beauty’s Blue Algae Exfoliating + Detox Mask. Made with the shells of discarded coconuts (a byproduct of the food industry that would normally be wasted), our exfoliating mask also contains marine silt to help dive deep into pores and remove built-up impurities like dead skin cells, dirt, and oil.


Your skin needs hydration in order to produce new skin cells. If your skin is dehydrated, your skin cell turnover slows. Hydrate your skin with products containing ultra-moisturizing ingredients that both replenish your moisture levels and help lock it in.

Product to try: One Ocean’s Replenishing Deep Sea Moisturizer. Our moisturizer doesn’t just hydrate, it soothes irritation, restores moisture balance, and stimulates the production of collagen which helps your skin cell turnover rate happen faster. 

The secret is the balance of clean, 100% non-toxic ingredients that have been clinically proven to work effectively. We source our ingredients from marine actives that offer a cryoprotective shield against cold, dry climates and help stimulate the production of protein. 

Our moisturizer helps hydrate your skin at the cellular level, giving your skin the vital nutrients and minerals it needs to function properly and keep skin cell turnover rate as fast as possible.

Why Choose One Ocean Beauty?

When we began our skincare journey, we wanted to help people improve their overall skin health with the best ingredients possible. That led us to research and understanding that it really is all about skin cell turnover. 

Keeping your skin healthy and your skin cell turnover functioning properly is why our products were created, and we chose marine active ingredients because they’re pure, clean, and incredibly effective for human skin. 

Our commitment to health and wellness doesn’t stop with your skin. We’re committed to preserving and restoring the source of our skin-healthy ingredients. 

By partnering with Oceana, we make sure that a portion of all our proceeds goes back into the sea, ensuring it is available for generations to come. 



Does The Human Body Replace Itself Every 7 Years? | Live Science

What Kids Should Know About Skin Grows | AAD 

Cell Turnover | Very Well Health