ARE YOU OVER-EXFOLIATING?
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past 15 years you'll know all about the importance of regular facial exfoliation, but with many of us dedicating more time to at-home skin treatments this past 12 months, it's just as important to know when to stop.
Exfoliating your skin once or twice per week helps to remove the dead outermost layers of the skin (Stratum Corneum) that build-up to suppress your skins glow. Purely by removing the dry, flaky skin cells from the surface of the skin it gives a more radiant complexion, allowing more light to reflect.
Regular exfoliation also provides a super deep-clean and clears out clogged pores that can lead to blackheads and spots.
Removing the build-up of dead skin cells can even help your other skincare products work harder. It enables products such as serums and moisturisers get down where they need to in order to stimulate fibroblasts in the dermis, producing increased amounts of collagen to firm skin and tackle fine lines or wrinkles.
So, How Much Is Too Much?
Over-exfoliating is easily done. There's a satisfaction in scrubbing away, feeling like your renewing your skin, but exfoliating 2-3 times a week should more than enough to get results. Your aim is to increase cell turnover, collagen and elastin production, not to over-stimulate and irritate your skin.
Signs Your Over-Exfoliating...
These tell-tale signs could indicate over-exfoliation:
- Redness or inflamed skin
- Increased breakouts or spots (caused by over-stimulating oil glands)
- Irritation or peeling
It's hard to believe but if you over-exfoliate is can actually result in drier skin. Removing the naturally occurring lipids and prematurely exposing new skin cells can also leave a "waxy” texture to the skin's surface. The epidermis (the outermost layer of your skin) contains the moisture barrier, and when this is compromised you can get invisible cracks or micro-tears in the skin and mantle resulting in moisture escaping and irritants penetrating.
What To Do If You Think You've Over-Exfoliated?
It's obvious to say but stop exfoliating until your skin has returned to a normal - no waxy texture, no dry/flaking skin, no increased sensitivity. Give the facial scrubs and AHA or BHA cleansers a rest for about 6-weeks. Switch to a milder, less aggressive cleanser if necessary and use a deeply-hydrating cream or mask to restore moisture levels.
Be sure to protect over-exfoliated skin by avoiding sun exposure and wearing a daily sun protection cream (Minimum SPF30) to prevent further damage.
Once your skin has recovered and appears to have healed, reintroduce exfoliation once per week, gradually increasing to 2-3 times per week.