Exfoliating: How Much is Too Much?

ExfoliatingI’m sure all of you have heard about or experienced the amazing effects of exfoliating.

It’s personally one of my “must haves” in my beauty regime.  When I go too long without it, my skin looks tired and dry patches become way too noticeable.

Exfoliating can invigorate your skin by improving skin tone, reducing acne, removing dead skin cells and leaving your skin with an absolute spa day glow.

Nothing unclogs pores better than a great facial scrub and it may help the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles because it can facilitate the production of collagen.

But could too much of a good thing be a bad thing?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Our body has a built-in exfoliating system called desquamation.

Through this process, older skin cells are pushed to the top layer and eventually shed.  New skin cells will replace the old and this system cycles through on a daily basis.

When we use chemical exfoliators (containing enzymes or fruit acids) or physical exfoliators like facial brushes or scrubs, we greatly speed up this natural process.

These products are meant to intentionally irritate our skin so the skin cells are forced to repair faster.

How to Reach the Perfect Balance

 Everyone’s beauty routine is different along with their individual skin needs.

Reaching the perfect balance has a lot to do with the particular product you’re using (gentle or harsh) and if you’re using additional exfoliation methods with it such as cleansing brushes, loofas, or washcloths.

Those with mature, sensitive, or dry skin may be especially susceptible to over-exfoliating.

Be sure to protect your skin by moisturizing and using sunscreen while doing any kind of exfoliating.  Your skin is much more sensitive and susceptible to sunlight and other daily factors and exposures like weather, facial products or make-up.

Always follow the directions on your particular exfoliator and keep in mind that most scrubs should not be used daily, but more like 2 to 4 times a week.

Some things to keep in mind are that different areas of the body require different treatment.  Areas like the neck, face and chest are thinner and get irritated much quicker, so be gentle on those areas.

The key to effective exfoliating is to gently massage the product in circular motions.

Even though they are called facial “scrubs” this doesn’t mean you need to rub your face raw.  Let the product work it’s magic.  It’s a gentle art of “wax on, wax off”.

How to Tell if You’re Over Exfoliating

 Your body will have physical signs if you’ve over done it with the exfoliating products.

Keep an eye out for these signs.  If you experience them, stop the regime completely, try a gentler product, or exfoliate less frequently.

The physical signs include:

  • Tautness of the skin
  • Tender skin
  • Redness
  • Overly dry or rough, flaking areas
  • Burning
  • Stinging

While exfoliating, make sure to keep these signs in mind, follow the individual directions, and exfoliate responsibly!

If you’re looking for a new favorite exfoliator for your particular skin type, check out our list of the 10 best exfoliators.

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About the Author

About the Author: Brittney Fox is the Editorial Director and all-around beauty maven here at Exfoliate.com. When she's not searching for the next big skincare breakthrough, Brittney loves Mexican food and salsa dancing.
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