Here's how to properly exfoliate your skin without damaging it

Here's how to exfoliate without causing damage to your skin

Why You Should NEVER over-exfoliate
© Getty Images
Why You Should NEVER over-exfoliate

Exfoliation is a key part of any well-rounded skincare routine. It’s essential to regularly clean those impurities to keep your pores clean and skin radiant. However, even too much of a good thing can actually be the opposite! Yes, it’s possible to over-exfoliate, and it comes with some less-than-pleasant consequences for your skin.

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So, what is the best way to ensure you’re doing so healthily? Here are our tips on exfoliating your skin and how to avoid the consequences of overdoing it.

How often should you exfoliate?

Especially for those with oily skin types who are prone to getting clogged pores more easily, exfoliating regularly (2-3x per week maximum) is quite healthy for the skin. There are 2 main ways to exfoliate, and they both have plenty of benefits, but also a host of aspects to be wary of!

Chemical exfoliants

This style of exfoliation comes with a bit of science! The name of this method says it all, as it uses chemicals like alpha and beta hydroxy acids and retinoids to dissolve any impurities, smooth out the skin, and improve new cell growth. However, while these chemicals may work wonders, slathering a slew of acids on your face every day can over-sensitise your skin leaving it inflamed or with a broken skin barrier.

Physical exfoliants

Could this practise be ruining your skin? Getty Images

Unlike chemical exfoliants, physical exfoliation relies on tools to scrape away at the dead skin and grime resting on the surface. A variety of tools are available and can range from anywhere from using a simple washcloth, to special exfoliating brushes, all the way to facial scrubs with abrasive particles that slough away impurities. Obviously, this method is less gentle on the skin, and using these tools too hard and too often can lead to tears, inflammation, and even infection.

How to tell that you’re over-exfoliating

Ironically, some of the symptoms that you are trying to avoid with healthy exfoliation can be the same things that are the main symptoms of over-exfoliation!

  • Irritation, burning or peeling of the skin
  • Skin is more red and inflamed
  • You notice more breakouts, especially small pimples
  • You now are feeling more sensitive to other products in your routine
  • A tight, wax-like shine can develop from premature overexposure to your underlying skin

How to treat over-exfoliated skin

If you’ve noticed that your skin has been irritated in any of those ways, it is advised to stop exfoliating until your skin has healed and is back to its baseline texture. Then, to keep your face clean use a mild cleanser and preferably a fragrance-free moisturiser or emollient to lock in moisture and help heal any raw patches.

Take care of your skin and treat it well, just be sure to heed this guide to not over do it!

Sources used:

Healthline: 'Halt the Face Acids: Here’s How to Know If You’re Over-Exfoliating'


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