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How to tell if you're over-exfoliating your face

How to tell if you're over-exfoliating your face

When done with care, exfoliation is a real gift. “Exfoliation, whether chemical or physical, is an important part of a skin-care routine because it helps maintain a dewy, hydrated glow, can even skin tone and texture, and can unclog pores,” explains New York City board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein. "It also makes all other skin-care products and ingredients absorb better."

As Marchbein pointed out, there are two types of exfoliation, both of which are great for eliminating dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt. There are physical exfoliants, which are grainy products like face and body scrubs (if a product contains coarse sugar, coffee grounds, or anything similar, it's a physical exfoliant). 

Chemical exfoliants 

On the other hand, are acid-based — think alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid, beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid, and so on. Those "exfoliate the upper layers of the skin while also hydrating and helping your skin retain moisture," said New York City board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry.

New York City board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner said exfoliating too much can "create tiny cracks in the skin barrier that lead to more loss of hydration and inflammation."

Thankfully, there are expert tips you can use to figure out if you're going a little too hard on the scrubs, toners, and peels. All you've got to do is listen closely to your body. Here's how to tell if you're over-exfoliating and what to do if you are. 

Keep an eye out for redness, dryness, and irritation

If you find your face more itchy and inflamed than usual, your exfoliation habits very well could be the culprit.
"Short-term [effects include] obvious irritation or inflammation on the skin," explains Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara. “If it stings when you wash your face or apply products, you may be overdoing it.” This goes for both physical exfoliants (like face scrubs) and chemical exfoliants (such as toners and peels containing hydroxy acids).

When in doubt, pare down your entire skin-care routine

If you think you're hitting the scrubs and acids too hard — or aren't totally sure but want to find out — the solution is pretty simple: do less. Or, as Gohara puts it, "Don't panic. Scale back.

FACIAL BRUSH

Keep an eye out for redness, dryness, and irritation. 

Experts recommend using a silicone scrubber that is hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial for a safe, gentle, daily exfoliation. Although the LUCE devices are more gentle than other forms of cleansing or exfoliating, be cautious when using, do not apply excessive pressure, specially if you have very sensitive skin. It is recommended that you wash the scrubber after each use.

 

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