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How Do I Prevent over-Exfoliation?

By Nicky Sutton
Updated May 21, 2024
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Prevent over-exfoliation by being gentle and kind to your skin. Avoid excessive scrubbing with exfoliating facial scrubs and cloths by limiting the time and frequency of exfoliation sessions. Do not scrub your skin when it is vulnerable, for example after a soak in the bath. Prevent your skin from drying out after exfoliating by applying a quality moisturizer.

Exfoliation is necessary to remove dead skin cells, stimulate new skin growth and keep a smooth complexion. Over-exfoliation however, can damage skin and cause redness and soreness. It can also bring on premature aging because the skin’s natural defenses are continually being stripped away.

Having a hot shower or bath softens your skin and removes the natural top layer of oil. Avoid exfoliating your skin during or directly after a hot shower or bath because your skin is vulnerable to over-exfoliation. Do it at the start of your wash or leave some time afterwards. Use a good moisturizer after exfoliating to prevent dryness and to introduce some surface level skin protection.

Exfoliating scrub products can be excessively harsh on the skin because they contain rough particles that are purposefully abrasive to remove dead skin cells. These are beneficial to use in moderation but over-exfoliation with these scrubs can be damaging. Rub the exfoliating facial scrub into your face with your fingers, because too much pressure can applied when cloths or sponges are used. The scrub can do its job sufficiently, aided only by gentle hand massage. Do not rub vigorously or soreness and redness will occur.

Limit the time you scrub your face with exfoliation products and how hard you scrub. Always follow the instructions on the exfoliation product. Use an exfoliating scrub that contains moisturizing ingredients as this will prevent your skin from drying and cracking when the skin’s protective oil barrier is removed.

Avoid over-exfoliation by exfoliating only once or twice per week. Exfoliating more frequently is not necessary because dead skin cells take time to build up. Your skin requires time to heal and perform its natural rejuvenating processes.

An alternative to a scrub is to use an exfoliating cloth or sponge on its own. Limit the use of these cloths because of their potential to quickly remove the top layer of skin. A few sweeps with the cloth is sufficient for any area of skin.

Do not perform skincare aggressively. Understand that skin is an organ, naturally evolved to be self sufficient and provide you with protection. Improve the appearance of skin with moderate exfoliation but avoid excessive exfoliation. Your skin is delicate and prone to damage if it is interfered with excessively. Exfoliation should not cause you pain, so if you are experiencing pain, stop exfoliating immediately. Apply a soothing topical cream such as aloe vera to sore skin, to relieve the burning sensation.

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