Exfoliation – how often is too often?

Over-exfoliation image

Help, for the flushed and irritated complexions…!

How often are you exfoliating? It’s hard to find an answer that suits everyone, because every skin is different, but I will tell you right now; if you answered ‘every day’, it’s time to put down the scrub!

Yes, exfoliation is great for our skin, and yes it is something that we should be incorporating into our regular routine, but over-exfoliating can have some very adverse effects on the skin, like severe sensitivity and irritated skin. Why? Because you are disturbing the natural balance of the skin’s own exfoliation process, and skin cell balance. If you scrub when there is a sufficient layer of dead skin to get rid of, there will be fresh, new skin cells underneath. If you over-scrub, you’re depleting the natural acid mantle (the skin’s natural protective layer which consists of skin cells and sebum) – this leaves your skin very vulnerable to chemical and pollution damage and will create irritation and flushed skin.

The ideal amount of exfoliation is about every week, depending on your skin type – oily skins may exfoliate more, dry skins might only need it every fortnight. It’s hard to give an accurate time frame when there are so many different kinds of exfoliants.

Enzyme-based exfoliants, like glycolic acid, are very efficient at seeking dead skin cells – the way they work is by dissolving the glue that binds dead skin cells together. Over-use will quickly create irritation. Speak to a beauty therapist if you are worried you are over-using

Mechanical scrubs, or granular scrubs are a little bit nicer to an easily irritated skin, especially ones that are in an oil base. Look for something with natural granules that don’t feel too big or sharp (something like almond or sugar is great – sugar actually breaks down on the skin and helps to hydrate and balance) . Where people go wrong with granular scrubs, is, (apart from over-scrubbing) scrubbing too aggressively. There is no need to bash it in to your skin, be nice! Nice, massaging movements rather than fierce scrubbing.

And also… if you’re exfoliating regularly… don’t forget the screen! Anyone that knows me by now, know’s how I will always harp on about sunscreen… exfoliation makes you much more vulnerable to sundamage!

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