You Might Be Over-Exfoliating: Here’s How to Exfoliate Properly

Imagine this: you’ve just exfoliated your face and body and you are feeling on top of the world. Your skin is as soft as a baby’s bottom (or maybe even softer) and you can’t stop touching your face. Is it possible for your skin to be this smooth?

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That’s the advantage of exfoliating your skin – your skin cells get refreshed (exfoliation removes dead skin cells and other impurities that sit on the skin’s surface revealing the fresh layer underneath). BUT what if you end up over-exfoliating your skin. 

If you wish to learn how to exfoliate properly, you are in the right place. Keep reading for exfoliating dos and don’ts. 

Don’t Exfoliate More Than 1-2 Times a Week

You might assume that if exfoliating once a week makes your skin so smooth, exfoliating 3-4 or more times a week would make it even better.

It is possible to over-exfoliate your skin, so watch out for that. Do not exfoliate your skin (face or body) more than 1-2 times a week, because that could result in skin damage. Your skin doesn’t turn over as often as that, so you don’t really need to clean out dead skin cells that frequently. 

Also, be careful with the kind of exfoliating products you use. Every skin type needs to use a different kind of exfoliator to ensure that you take care of the basic structure of your skin. Someone with oily skin shouldn’t be using the same exfoliating products as someone with sensitive skin, and so forth. 

Finally, don’t exfoliate your skin too roughly. You are not giving a deep-tissue massage here. Be gentle with your skin, and it will reciprocate that back in good measure. 

Watch Out for Signs of Over-Exfoliation

Annoyingly enough, the same issues that exfoliation helps treat are the ones that end up persisting when you are over-exfoliating. These are:

  • dry and peeling skin
  • breakouts
  • dull and lackluster skin
  • and so on

That’s why you need to be careful not to over-exfoliate in the first place. 

You will also notice that skin that’s over-exfoliated will start displaying signs of redness, irritation, and inflammation. Your skin will become dry and flaky and you might even develop a rash-like texture on your skin with red patchy blotches. Your skin could also start breaking out with small, rough, bump-like pimples.

Be careful because if you are over-exfoliating, your skin can start looking waxy from peeling away too many layers of skin cells revealing the skin underneath prematurely. This might look like you have radiant and shiny skin, but that’s just a misnomer. Do not be fooled.

Healthy skin will always be plump and moisturized looking, not dry, waxy, or shiny. 

Heal Your Over-Exfoliated Skin

As you can imagine, the first thing you need to do for over-exfoliated skin is to STOP exfoliation immediately and let your skin return to its baseline texture. This might seem annoying to you, but it’s a necessary step to help your damaged skin recover. And no, you can’t hurry up this process by willing the Gods or praying to the skin fairies.

It could take as long as a month for your skin to return to normal (that’s your skin’s entire life cycle). 

Keep your skincare regime simple for the month that your skin’s healing. No harsh foaming cleansers, no retinol products, and no physical or chemical exfoliators (of course). This way you will give your skin a chance to recuperate on its own.

Of course, you can also use some natural, gentle, and healing products on your skin like aloe vera gel (use the real plant if possible) and cold compresses using refrigerated cucumbers to help soothe that redness and irritation. 

Also, ensure that you eat lots of delicious and healthy vegetables and fruits that have lots of Vitamin A, and Vitamin C in them. Green leafy veggies, citrus fruits, and carrots would be a great addition to your diet, so you can heal your skin from the inside out. 

Once you notice that your face is going back to its normal texture, then you can start slowly by adding in a gentle exfoliator once a week. Don’t go too crazy too fast. If you notice that your skin doesn’t react well to the exfoliation, stop right away and wait for a few more weeks.

Your Skin Knows Best

Don’t ignore your skin’s wisdom. It’s letting you know every day in not-so-many words whether it’s healthy or not.

Your skin actually exfoliates itself – it’s called desquamation, and it happens in 28-day cycles. BUT in the modern-day environment with pollution galore and terrible diets, it’s harder for the skin to manage this process in the perfect fashion.

That’s why you are giving your skin a gentle nudge using exfoliators to help it with its cleaning and renewing process. The most important thing to remember here is ‘less is more’ when it comes to exfoliation. 

How to Exfoliate Properly 101: Don’t Overdo It

Your skin requires a delicate touch and sensitive handling, especially when it comes to exfoliation. If you wish to learn how to exfoliate properly, think of how you put eye cream on the most sensitive part of your face, i.e., the skin around your eyes.

Follow the same tension and pressure when exfoliating the rest of your skin. Don’t rub too hard, don’t use too much product, and don’t exfoliate more than once or twice a week.

If you follow these rules, you will never have to worry about over-exfoliated skin. Check out related articles on skincare and more on our website and keep learning.

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