Over exfoliating: To blame for your skin problems?

Over exfoliating: To blame for your skin problems?

Ok, so it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing.

Exfoliation is an essential step in your skincare routine, for so many amazing reasons, including removing dead skin cells, collagen regeneration, increased skin cell turnover, keeping your pores clear and preventing blackheads, improving skin tone and pigmentation, balancing over production of sebum, we could go on!

But exfoliate too often, and you could see some unwelcome side effects.

What are the signs of over exfoliation?

  • irritation, burning, or peeling
  • redness and inflammation
  • breakouts, especially small pimples
  • increased sensitivity to other products in your routine

Depending on the type of exfoliator and your own skin type and skin issues, you should be exfoliating two or three times a week. Yes, weekly. Not daily.

How does this happen? When you exfoliate too often, or with an exfoliant that is too harsh, you strip away your skin’s acid mantle. The purpose of the acid mantle is to protect your skin from outside bacteria and dirt, seal in moisture and to keep your skin balanced and happy. When this is damaged, issues like the ones listed above can start to arise, and even include a flare up of rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.

What exfoliant should you be using?


Dry, sensitive or mature skin

For those with dry, mature or sensitive skin, *gentle* is the key here. You do still want an exfoliation effect, but one that is kind to your skin. And if you can, gentle and hydrating at the same time. For this reason, we recommend an exfoliant that doubles as a mask.

Our UnMask Superfoods Mask (as part of the Nourishing Pack) brings together the power of ultra gentle fruit AHAs to dissolve dead skin cells, with the hydrating effects of Vitamin E and extract of Aloe Vera to soothe and heal a damaged acid mantle.

Oily or acne prone skin

When your skin is producing an excessive amount of sebum, there is an increased risk of clogged pores and breakouts, if you do not remove dead skin cells regularly. Again, gentle is still essential here, as the skin is very fragile no matter what your skin type, but an exfoliant for oily skin should additionally provide a balancing and polishing effect, to help regulate the production of sebum and effectively remove dead cells, bacteria and unclog those pores.

We recommend our super fine Bright Skin Polishing Powder (as part of our Supercharged Pack), which combines AHAs to dissolve and organic brown rice powder to softly buff. The addition of Kaolin Clay is going to help balance and draw out clogged pores, while oat extract works to soften and soothe your skin.

If you are seeing the signs of over exfoliation, reduce your exfoliation to once a week, and continue to use your regular Trio of oil cleanser, facial oil and serum, to allow your skin to heal and repair itself.

It’s important to keep in mind that it could take as long as a month — aka, the entire length of a skin cell cycle — for your skin to get back on track.