How Does Skin Repair Itself?

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Over time, our skin suffers from the damage of use and abuse. Whether it is damage from the sun, injuries, or through the aging process, skin slowly takes damage over time. However, our bodies are incredible pieces of machines that are able to self-repair over time. This process can help to keep skin healthy, intact and even young looking. 

A Little Bit About the Skin

Skin is the largest organ of your body. Acting as a barrier, source of temperature regulation, and an athletic way to keep everything inside your body safe while keeping out the threats of the outside world. Composed of layers that help to keep your body warm and safe. 

  • Collagen is found within the dermis, the second layer of skin, and is responsible for a large portion of skin repair and keeping it young and healthy-looking. 
    • Collagen is a protein that makes up 75% of the dermis!
    • Collagen plays a major role in skin repair that we’ll talk about later. 
  • Elastin is the protein that keeps the skin able to stretch and return to the original form, literally elastic. 
    • Elastin is also found in the dermis. It gives your skin shape and support. 
    • Over time, levels of elastin decrease and skin can sag. 
  • Keratin is another protein found within the dermis. This gives the strongest protein in the skin and gives strength and rigidity to the skin. 
    • Keratin is hard, and the main components in hair and nails. 

There are three main layers to the skin that give your body protection. 

  • The epidermis is the outer layer that keeps out the gems and threats from the world around you. 
  • The dermis is the middle layer that contains blood vessels, nerves, some fat, and tissue to give your skin protection, insulation/warmth, and structure. 
  • Subcutaneous fat is the innermost layer making a thin water-resistant layer of fat that keeps you warm and keeps water from freely moving in and out of your skin. 

Wound Healing

With the basic structure and components of the skin explained, let’s go into a little more about what happens when there is an injury or the skin is damaged. 

Bleeding Control. The first step of the wound healing process is to stop any of your blood from leaving the body. Red blood cells rush to the area to form a clot- that later becomes a scab. It fixes the leak and makes a patch to keep your blood in and germs out. This also prevents germs from getting into the body and causing infections or illnesses

Swelling. Also known as inflammation, once the leak is patched, the cleanup work begins. Your body sends white blood cells to clean the affected area and kill any bad bacteria that may have entered the body. Blood flow is increased to the area to get more healing blood cells- hence why it may appear red or swollen. 

The proliferation or repair stage begins next. Your body sends the various components that makeup tissues to the area. Fibroblasts- or the cells in the dermis- flood the area and begin to make collagen and elastin. After the new tissues are formed, blood flow to the area is re-established and the tissues are healed. This gets the blood, oxygen, vitamins, and minerals to the affected area to finish healing. 

The final phase is for touch-ups. The fresh skin is transformed from the newly made collagen. This causes the skin to be firmer and makes the skin stronger in that area. Your body heals itself to where the damage isn’t noticeable or has a faint scar to the site. 

Aging

As we age, our bodies lose the ability to heal as quickly or efficiently as they once did. The process can take longer, the skin is more fragile, and can be more difficult to heal. 

The levels of collagen and elastin lessen as we age, which is what causes fine lines and wrinkles. Just as with skin healing from wounds, there are various products to jumpstart the healing process and regenerate collagen. You can try novathreads, microneedling, or other procedures to spark the healing process and regeneration of collagen and elastin. 

FAQ

How long does it take for skin to regenerate?

On average the skin will heal itself and shed dead skin every 20-30 days. This depends on your skin care routine, your overall health, and nutrition levels. 

How does skin grow back?

When the red blood cells clot under the skin, it pushes its way up to fill the gap where a wound was. After a while, it dries up and becomes a scab. Your body heals from the inside, and the new skin pushes the old scab out until it falls off and new skin appears underneath. 

Why do scars not go away?

Scars are a collection of the collagen fibers and skin cells. They don’t receive blood flow to the area and the skin remains pink due to lack of nutrients and blood flow to finish the healing process. 

How do I make my skin grow back/heal faster?

Ensuring that you have a proper diet with all the vitamins and minerals, keeping the wound clean from infection, and keeping it moist after the scab forms can help the skin to heal a little faster. 

Our bodies do an amazing job of healing from injuries to make them become as though they were never even there. Through a complex process, healing starts on the inside of our bodies in a complicated cascade until we see the final results above. While the process can be slowed if you have a medical history of diabetes, are immunocompromised or suffer from other conditions, it is possible to help the healing process along by taking care of yourself and the wound