If you’re reading this then you probably already know what exfoliating is so I’m just going to assume you do. Exfoliating your skin is great, amazing, yeah, good stuff however if improperly done, you might end up ruining your face. How do I mean? What’s the wrong way to exfoliate? How do you properly exfoliate your skin? Read on…
What Is Exfoliation?
The human skin regenerates itself and pushes dead skin cells to the top of the skin. This layer if not removed creates a barrier for penetration of your skincare products. The process of removing these dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin is called exfoliation. Exfoliation helps to make the skin smoother and brighter as well as allow for better penetration of skincare products which in turn allow the effectiveness of these products.
So yes, you should exfoliate your skin. Where the problem now comes in is when you overdo it. Moderation is key to a lot of things in this life including exfoliation. When you over-exfoliate, you are doing more harm than good to your skin.
You probably don’t know if you’re already over-exfoliating your skin and the dangers attached to it. Relax, you’re at the right place but before then, let’s talk about the different kind of exfoliators. If exfoliation is part of your skincare routine, you’re definitely using at least one of them.
Types Of Exfoliator
There are two kinds of exfoliators
1. Physical Exfoliators
This can also be called mechanical exfoliators. It basically involves using a grainy face scrub or exfoliating brushes to scrub your face. The process can be very pleasing but because of the abrasive nature of these exfoliators, if you’re not careful or gentle, they can cause micro-tears on your skin.
If you have a thick skin, you can get away with this, but people with sensitive or very delicate skin might want to either do this gently and less often or scrap it entirely and go for the other type of exfoliator I’m talking about next
2. Chemical Exfoliators
Chemical exfoliators, as opposed to physical exfoliators, are gentle acids that break or dissolves the bond between the skin cells. It breaks down the dead skin cells. Active ingredients used in chemical exfoliators are AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids ) like salicylic acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid. These come in formulas that can be wiped off, washed off or peeled off, thereby revealing a fresh, smoother and brighter layer of skin.
How Do I Know If I’m Over-exfoliating?
I’m gonna give you five signs real quick that can indicate you’re over-exfoliating or you’ve already over-exfoliated your skin. You might be over-exfoliating if;
- Your skin feels dehydrated
- Your skin shines even when it isn’t oily
- Your skin is beginning to peel or appear flaky
- Your skin feels tight
- Your skin has suddenly become super sensitive, gets irritated and even gets red.
Once you start noticing one or more those signs, it time to cut back on exfoliation.
How Often Should I Exfoliate?
It is advised that you should exfoliate once or twice weekly depending on the toughness or sensitivity of your skin. Exfoliating every day or every other day might be putting your skin at risk of over-exfoliation.
So, you’re guilty of over-exfoliating your skin, how do you recover from over-exfoliation?
What To Do If I’ve Over-Exfoliated My Skin?
Over-exfoliation is not a harm that can’t be undone.
The first thing you need to do is STOP.
- Stop using exfoliators.
- You can also switch from using strong, foaming cleansers to using a milder one.
- If you have acne or spot problems that you need to treat, rather than applying the treatment products all over your face, apply them on the spots instead.
If you’re experiencing irritation or redness, a cold compress and aloe vera gel can help calm your skin. Note that although aloe vera gel has healing properties, it can also be irritating to your skin so you need to be vigilant.
You can also include a vitamin C serum like “The Ordinary” Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% into your skin regimen. This can help speed up the healing process as well.
In summary, exfoliation is recommended but do not overdo it and if by chance you’ve over-exfoliated your skin, relax, you can recover from it.
I believe I have been able to provide important information on exfoliation and also answered some questions that might be on your mind. If you have more questions or want to share your experience, pls feel free to do so in the comments section below.
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Till next time,