Exfoliation is the removal of excess dead cells on the skin. When done correctly, exfoliation leaves your skin feeling nourished, plump, and healthy. It also allows your beauty products to penetrate the skin more efficiently. While exfoliating is considered a crucial step in any skin care routine, overdoing it is highly discouraged.
When exfoliating skin, less is always more. Your skin is made up of dead skin cells, which are held together by an oil-based substance. This structure assists in locking moisture to provide natural lubrication. If you exfoliate too much, you end up removing too many layers of natural protection, which causes problems for your skin.
How often you exfoliate varies from person to person. To avoid over-exfoliated skin, always adhere to the labelled instructions of your exfoliant and build your skin rejuvenation routine from there. To help you learn more about skin exfoliation, Beauty Med has prepared a guide about the six warning signs of over-exfoliated skin:
Sign #1: Skin Irritation & Redness
Skin irritation is one of the earliest over-exfoliation signs that you may encounter. Typically, it is normal for your skin to turn slightly red after exfoliation. However, if your skin remains red for hours or days after you exfoliate, it might be time to stop.
When using a chemical exfoliating product, you might experience a slight burning sensation or itchy skin, which usually means that your skin's barrier has been broken down. The barrier's function is to protect the skin from allergens and irritants. Once this barrier has been penetrated, drying your skin with towels and washcloths might cause it more irritation.
If you continue to aggravate your skin, you might increase the risk of contact dermatitis. To remedy this situation, you should change your exfoliating product or reduce the frequency of exfoliating.
Sign #2: Skin Acne
We want to emphasize that skin exfoliation treatments like chemical peels are beneficial. Moderate amounts of skin exfoliation will clear the debris from your pores and prevent pimples. However, too much exfoliation will have negative effects. When you over-exfoliate, you weaken the skin and damage its defense. This makes it easy for acne-causing bacteria to get into the skin and cause pimples to breed.
Over-exfoliating active acne spreads the bacteria to the rest of the face, causing stubborn acne that lasts a long time. Over-exfoliation also causes inflammation, which keeps the existing acne from healing and triggers the formation of even more acne. If you notice developing breakouts, you need to reduce the amount of exfoliation to prevent your acne from worsening.
Sign #3: Flaky Skin
Over-exfoliation can lead to rough, dehydrated, patchy, and flaky skin. This usually means your over-exfoliated skin has lost its ability to absorb or retain moisture. When this happens, the effects of your beauty routine and skin care products will severely diminish.
Most people continue to exfoliate after seeing flakes on their skin. Doing this only makes the over-exfoliation even worse. Dehydrated skin shows all the fine lines and wrinkles, which are tell-tale signs of over-exfoliating. If you have rough, flaky skin, use hydrating and moisturizing products after you exfoliate. Also, reduce the number of times you subject your skin to exfoliation.
Sign #4: Increased Oil Production
Oily skin is another common over-exfoliation sign. Sometimes, your skin might produce excess oil as a way of compensating for lost oils during exfoliation. Your skin does this to hydrate and protect itself from natural elements. Every skin type is prone to damage if its natural oils are lost. Always hydrate after exfoliation to prevent the loss of these oils.
Sign #5: Shiny Skin
If you have shiny, translucent skin after exfoliating, it may mean you inflicted damage to your skin. The shininess shows after your skin has been stripped of its original texture. It is also an indication that the skin barrier has been weakened, making its appearance seem unnatural. This over-exfoliation sign is particularly common among prescription-strength retinoid users.
Shiny skin is desirable only when it comes from the positive results of your skin care routine. To achieve dewy, shiny skin that has a natural glow and highlight, use hydration products (such as moisturizers and essences) rather than exfoliants. Minimize the number of times you exfoliate per week or use a chemical exfoliating product that contains fewer acids.
Sign #6: Tight and Dry Skin
Once your skin is stripped of its natural oils, it might lose its natural lubrication. This will make your skin feel tight and dry, especially after cleansing. In some cases, it may feel like your skin is cracking whenever you smile. All skin types experience oil deficiencies at one time or another, making your skin feel tight. Over-exfoliating the dry skin may just worsen the situation.
Be careful about finding the right balance in your exfoliation routine. Combining scrubs, retinol, AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids), and other active ingredients can be too aggressive for most skin types. In the warm, humid months, your skin might tolerate frequent exfoliation. During winter, your skin becomes dry and dehydrated easily, making over-exfoliation more common.
Most skin problems are caused by a neglected or damaged skin barrier. To achieve your skin goals and have beautifully glowing skin, you need to take care of your skin barrier. Consult with Beauty Med to develop a skincare routine that focuses on keeping this barrier healthy!