The beauty industry has worked very hard to ensure that we understand the virtues of exfoliation, but can there be too much of a good thing? Can you over-exfoliate?
Exfoliation is necessary to remove dead, dry skin cells that make skin appear drier, more wrinkled and older. Regular exfoliation can also help the boost the skin’s ability to absorb moisture and stay hydrated. And, beyond a dull and lack lustre complexion, dead skin cells can also block pores and cause breakouts, which are particularly problematic if you have oily or acne prone skin. If dead skin cells are not removed, they can block bores, trapping excess oil and bacteria.
If exfoliating is good, then surely more exfoliation must be better. The converse is true; experts are concerned that many beauty-conscious individuals are now over exfoliating their skin – stripping away layers of healthy skin and reducing the skin’s natural defenses. Whether you opt for using an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) , a scrub or a hand-held device, the problem doesn’t stem from exfoliation per se, rather the way in which we incorporate it into our skin care regimens. There can be drawbacks from overdoing it.
Some of the telltale sign of over-exfoliation? Excessive dryness, irritation, redness and sensitivity. If you notice any of these after exfoliating, it is probably wise to stop using the product or at least take a break from it. In general, chemical exfoliators like AHAs, which work by dissolving the ‘glue’ that cements dead skin cells together, are safer than manual exfoliators like scrubs and hand-held devices. Chemical exfoliators can only penetrate so far down. Scrubs and hand-held devices, on the other hand, make it easy to scrub too vigorously, thereby damaging skin. If you do opt for a scrub, choose one with spherical beads vs nuts, seeds or pits, which can cause small tears in the skin.
If you’re exfoliating every day, you’re exfoliating too much. Strive for 3 to 4 times a week (once or twice if your skin is sensitive). If you have over exfoliated, there are some ways to undo the damage. Apply a calming treatment containing ingredients like green tea extract as in Reversa Antioxidant Booster Serum.
Too much of a good thing is never truly good, even in the world of beauty.