What to Do If You Over-Exfoliate Your Skin
It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. While exfoliation may feel like the perfect way to punctuate a thorough facial cleansing, it’s easy to go a little overboard.
If you’ve been noticing any persistent irritation, or if your skin has been painfully dry, it could be a sign you need to adjust your exfoliation routine. We’ll take you through the signs of over-exfoliation and guide you on the right way to use your trusty face scrub throughout the week.
Benefits of Exfoliation
When you understand the many benefits of regular exfoliation, you'll be much more motivated to stick to it and enjoy the results.
Prevents Acne and Inflammation
Should you exfoliate or cleanse first? Exfoliation is a necessary part of skincare that, when done correctly, will elevate your shaving game and keep clogged pores at bay. Physical exfoliants, like our Renewing Face Scrub, use tiny granules such as jojoba beads and pumice to buff away dead skin and lift debris from your pores. Routine exfoliation will soothe skin irritated by dirt and other unwanted particles, leaving you with clear skin and the appearance of smaller pores.
Evens Out Complexion
Removing dead skin cells from your face will also make dark spots and other marks less noticeable. With the right exfoliation routine, you can free yourself from hyperpigmentation insecurities and feel comfortable showing off your skin.
Promotes Collagen Production
With time, men tend to lose collagen at a faster rate than women. That means it’s essential to have a few anti-aging products in your arsenal starting from a young age. Exfoliation stimulates collagen production, making it an easy and cost-effective way for men to slow any potential loss of skin elasticity.
Preps Your Skin for Other Products
Your products require a clean base for application, and exfoliation leaves plenty of room for your creams and serums to sink into your skin properly. Tons of facial products piled on top of clogged pores will only make breakouts and irritation worse, so it’s important to properly cleanse and clear your face before progressing with the rest of your routine.
Signs of Over-Exfoliation
So, how exactly do you know when you’ve been using a little too much face scrub? The symptoms can range from:
- Mild redness
- Super flaky skin
- Sudden Breakouts
- A persistent burning sensation
If you’ve been using products with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) such as glycolic acid, or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid, you might assume that any of the above symptoms may be directly related to this. While there may be some truth to that, the main cause could be rooted in combining of these active ingredients and your face scrub.
Alternating chemical exfoliation treatments that contain AHAs and BHAs with granular scrubs is safe when executed properly. But combining the two on a near-daily basis is a recipe for disaster.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid mixing multiple types of exfoliation products at once. You may think you’ve found the recipe for uber-clear skin, but the reality is you could be causing lots of damage to your skin barrier.
Treating Over-Exfoliated Skin
Thankfully, there is a relatively easy solution to over-exfoliation. As soon as you experience an adverse reaction, you should:
Take a Break from Exfoliation
Have no fear, your pores will not immediately become corrupted with loads of dirt if you’re on an exfoliation hiatus. Sixty seconds of gentle face washing will work just fine in your face scrub’s absence.
Be Consistent with SPF
Sunscreen is a multifaceted product that both heals and protects your skin with consistent use. Irritated and over-exfoliated skin can be subject to photosensitivity, so regular SPF application is an unquestionable must during the daytime. For mineral-based, broad spectrum UV protection with natural moisturizing ingredients, try our Daily Defense Face Moisturizer with SPF 20.
Hydrate Day and Night
Over-exfoliation weakens your skin barrier, causing you to lose much needed moisture throughout the day. Using a lightweight moisturizer with SPF in the mornings and a rich night cream in the evenings will ensure your skin is getting the nourishment it’s been missing.
Following these steps should steer your skin back on track, but if you’re noticing little to no improvement, it’s always best to consult your dermatologist!
How To Prevent Over-Exfoliation
Over-exfoliated skin can certainly feel like a long-term problem when you’re experiencing it, so figuring out the right amount of face scrub to use is key. A quarter-sized amount is more than enough to buff your skin to greatness, and you don’t need to apply your scrub every day either.
Our Renewing Face Scrub is gentle enough to use up to four times per week, but those trying to gauge their skin’s sensitivity should start off at 1-2x per week to be safe.
Another helpful tip: set a schedule for your skincare actives. For example, when using potent ingredients such as vitamin C, it’s best to do so on an exfoliation off-day. Keep a small journal or take note of your product usage on a calendar to show you what works and help you pinpoint the products that may be exacerbating your skin issues.
Remember, just because exfoliation is a friend to your skin doesn’t mean you should be attached at the hip. Feel free to scrub away every other day if your skin can handle it, but a break from the buffing is healthy and recommended.
Naturally, a face on the fritz can be a huge downer, but it’s never the end of the world. If you’re ever experiencing any of the over-exfoliation symptoms listed above, don’t be afraid to take a second to recalibrate. Your complexion will thank you for it.