Exfoliation is an important step in your skin care routine to keep your skin clean and clear. However, whether you're using a physical or chemical exfoliant, it's actually really easy to over-exfoliate.
Read on to discover the five common "warning signs" that your skin might be over-exfoliated, and how to effectively do damage control!
Related article: Exfoliation Explained: Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation
1. Your skin is red, irritated or inflamed
It's not unusual to experience redness immediately after you exfoliate, but this should fade away quickly. If your skin remains red hours after, or if you feel itchy or experience a burning sensation, you’ll want to reassess your exfoliating product and frequency.
2. Increased dryness & flakiness
Exfoliation is supposed to help get rid of dry flakes on your skin, but if you notice that you are developing even more dry patches or flakes, you may be over-doing it. This is why it's important to always follow up with hydrating and moisturising products after you exfoliate!
3. Breakouts are worsening
When you over-exfoliate, you are actually breaking down and weakening your protective skin barrier to a point where it cannot defend itself against acne-causing bacteria and infections. So don't be surprised if you're seeing more pimples popping out!
4. Oily skin becomes even oilier
Over-exfoliation is detrimental for all skin types, but especially for oily skin. When your skin barrier is compromised, your skin becomes dehydrated, and it might try to over-compensate by producing even more oil!
Related article: The Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin
5. Your skin looks shiny (not in a good way)
We all want glowing skin, but this is not to be confused with the shiny and translucent-looking skin you get after you over-exfoliate. This shininess is actually the result of your skin being stripped, and is an indicator of a weakened skin barrier.
How to Treat Over-Exfoliation
Over-exfoliating is easy to do. Repairing your skin afterwards? That's the tricky part. Stop exfoliating for a week or so first to let your skin recover. Afterwards, we recommend slowly easing back into it, but cut back on exfoliating to only 1-3 times per week.
In the meantime, look for products that are specifically targeted at re-building your skin barrier, like the COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream. With ingredients like ceramide and centella asiatica, this cream will help soothe, heal and repair irritated skin.
The Real Barrier Aqua Soothing Ampoule is another product you can use. Containing 5 different types of hyaluronic acid to help replenish moisture levels, while ceramide, panthenol, madecassoside and allantoin helps rebuild your weakened barrier.
Other hydrating products like sheet masks, aloe vera gels and face mists can also help your skin bounce back to its tiptop shape!
Do you have any other tips or product recommendations for over-exfoliated skin? Share them with us below!