Are You Over-Exfoliating?

Contrary to popular belief, the more you exfoliate the worse it is for your skin. You’ve been told to wash your face twice a day, once when you wake up and once before going to bed – especially if you are wearing makeup – but this is false. The more you wash your face and exfoliate, the easier it is for your skin to breakout.

If you suffer from acne-prone or oily skin, incessantly washing your face will more likely make it worse than better.

“Exfoliating every day can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can cause breakouts,” says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas in an interview with Glamour.

Signs of over-exfoliation 

Some signs that you’re over-exfoliating your skin include puffiness, breakouts, tightness, peeling or flaking and a shiny forehead. If you are experiencing any of the above, it is best to completely stop using any skin care products until your skin returns to normal. Repairing your skin can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Exfoliation can occur not only because of the over-washing of your face, but can also be the products you are using. Not every product is suitable for every skin type.

Effects of over-exfoliation

Long term effects of over-exfoliating are the thinning of the skin, ultimately causing premature wrinkles and accelerated aging – and who wants that? Like anything else, your skin requires a daily routine. An imbalance of that routine can cause unwanted breakouts.

Those with normal and combination skin (oily and dry) should exfoliate two to three times a week. If you have dry, sensitive skin, once a week should suffice. For those with sensitive skin, a very gentle, smooth bead exfoliant or a non-foaming cleanser is recommended since they aren’t overly harsh. For those of you with normal or combination skin, a versatile exfoliant – one that removes dead skin but doesn’t over dry the areas of skin already lacking in moisture – would work best for you. After a good exfoliation session, serums and moisturizers are the way to go, especially if you are suffering from over-exfoliation. They can help to replace any oils lost during the exfoliating process, and are essential to curing over-exfoliated skin.

Quick tips to avoid over-exfoliating
  • Keep the exfoliating to a minimum. Over-exfoliating can damage the skin’s barrier.
  • Use chemical rather than manual exfoliants.
  • Look out for gentler ingredients when purchasing your exfoliants.
  • Make sure the product you are using is right for your skin type.

Avoiding over-exfoliation is easier than you think. By following these simple rules and quick tips, your skin can be as flawless as you’ve always wanted it to be.


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