Dead skin may sound scary, but the truth is it’s not a bad thing. “The outermost layers of the skin are made up of dead skin cells,” says NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, Hadley King, M.D. “This is the normal structure.” In fact, every minute of every day, we naturally shed between 30,000 and 40,000 dead skin cells. Thankfully, this process is not visible to the human eye, and the epidermis constantly makes new cells to eventually replace those you lost.
King says that living skin cells are found at deeper levels of the epidermis, and those newly birthed cells migrate towards the surface of the skin as others die. In fact, the epidermis uses dead skin cells as a layer of barrier and buffer. So don’t be fooled: These dead cells have a purpose. In a perfect world, this natural shedding process would happen without a hitch, but problems may occur if this process is slowed down, halted, or even sped up. And that, folks, is what we’re discussing below.