How Can Over-Exfoliation Harm Your Skin?

How Can Over-Exfoliation Harm Your Skin?

To achieve our desired skin we always tend to give it our best shot, follow a skincare routine, change our diets and do several other things. But there is no denying that sometimes we do get over-enthusiastic or even desperate to reach our goal before a set date or an occasion. And often this over-enthusiasm and desperation take us several steps back from our goal. 

Exfoliating is considered as one of the best ways to get rid of dead skin cells and achieve fresh and radiant skin, but often exfoliating can also become the reason for skin issues. 

One of the most common mistakes made by skincare enthusiasts is over-exfoliating which leads to skin issues like skin inflammation, redness, dryness and breakouts. 

When beginning any skincare practice, it is always better to understand the requirements and limits of your skin and the practice. 

In This Article

    Exfoliation: What is it and its Benefit

    Exfoliating is an important part of a good skincare routine that helps you get rid of dead skin cells and gunk from the outer layers of your skin. Though often ignored, it should be a crucial part of your skincare routine as it helps achieve a more hydrated and vibrant glow while making it easier for the skin to actively absorb ingredients from other products. It is also known to stimulate collagen synthesis resulting in an improved skin texture and tight, younger-looking skin. 

    There are two common methods of exfoliating, namely, physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation involves facial scrubs with gritty textures either homemade or over-the-counter products while chemical exfoliation is done with the help of chemical peels that include Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). 

    Signs of Over-exfoliating 

    When it comes to exfoliating, most people tend to go overboard. Experts suggest exfoliating once or twice a week and anything more than that can result in damaging the upper layer of the skin and transepidermal water loss. 

    There are a few common indications of over-exfoliating that you need to look out for. 

    • irritation, burning or peeling
    • redness and inflammation
    • breakouts
    • increased sensitivity to other skin products 

    Redness and Inflammation:

    Over-exfoliating strips your skin off of natural oils as well as transepidermal water loss making your skin dry and flaky. You may observe rash-like texture and experience skin inflammation. 

    Tight and Waxy Skin:

    This is often the most difficult sign to pinpoint because the skin might appear to have a healthy glow. When the skin is stripped off of its natural oils, it exposes the premature skin which might appear healthy and radiant. The skin may feel tight with a waxy appearance, but contrary to its appearance the skin is dry and sensitive.  


    Over-exfoliation can make your skin inflamed which can consequently make your skin break out. You may notice the appearance of small, bumpy pimples and acne. 

    Skin Sensitivity:

    While exfoliating helps to remove the dead skin cells from the surface of skin, over-exfoliating can cause damage to the skin-barrier making it lose its ability to repair and regenerate the skin. A damaged skin barrier makes your skin more susceptible to dehydration, or trans-epidermal water loss, resulting in a dull, dry appearance which can lead to physical changes such as discoloration, laxity, and premature wrinkles.

    Your skin may experience increased sensitivity to other skincare products of your routine. When your skin becomes over-sensitive to the application of other products it can lead to redness, burning or peeling of your skin. 

    Treating Over-Exfoliated Skin

    Recovering from over-exfoliation can be a long process depending on your skin and the damage. The treatment includes healing the damaged skin, replenishing the lost moisture and finally re-building healthy skin cells.

    • The first step for recovering from over-exfoliation is to take a step back from the exfoliator
    • You need to relieve your skin from all foaming cleansers, retinol products and all exfoliators whether physical or chemical
    • Use a mild cleanser and fragrance-free hydrating products
    • Include sunscreen with an SPF 40+ in your daily routine
    • In case you experience rashes or notices extremely raw or red areas, treat the problem areas with hydrocortisone cream or aloe vera 
    • Avoid using make-up whenever possible and products with artificial fragrances
    • Use products that consist of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, zinc oxide and shea butter as these help hydrate and calm your skin
    • Add vitamin C serum to your routine as it helps soothe and encourages the healing process

    SkinQ Spotlight: 

    Moisture Balm has been proven to repair the skin barrier and prevent dehydration of skin to give you healthy, glowing skin. 

    Why SkinQ?

    The best suitable products to use should always be the ones that are formulated for our skin type, skin issues and the external environment. At SkinQ, our products are formulated by dermatologists keeping in mind the Indian skin and its issues, we are one of the first to do so! 

    Hydrate Active Facial Kit: To achieve an instantly smooth and bright skin, SkinQ experts suggest using the hydra facial kit. Formulated with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol liposomes, vitamin e, ethyl ascorbic acid, a treatment with this kit will give you a well hydrated and glowing skin. 

    Glow - Detan Active Facial Kit: is ‘a peel in the box’ that helps give your skin an instant glow. Specially formulated with active ingredients like Niacinamide, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (Vit C), an exfoliating treatment with this kit has proven to result in a detanned, bright and smooth skin while it also help to unclog the skin pore. 

    What’s Next After Recovery?

    Before we move on to the next phase, it is important to ensure that your skin has truly recovered from over-scrubbing or the chemical acids. In case you are still experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs of over-exfoliating then it is best to wait a little longer. 

    You can get back to your previous routine once your skin has completely recovered, but remember to take it slow. It is also possible to return to exfoliating your skin, but be mindful to exfoliate within the advised limit. 

    On a final note, skincare routines and products only work when exercised in moderation. When trying out a new product or routine, always listen to your skin’s requirements.

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