Too much of a good thing can happen, especially regarding exfoliation. While getting rid of skin impurities regularly is good, doing it too much can aggravate the skin. Over-exfoliation can lead to redness and irritation and may leave the skin in worse condition than what you started with.

To achieve more precise, brighter skin, exfoliation consistently is what works well. At our Skin Health Experts Clinic in the heart of Hollywood, we recommend our clients exfoliate twice to thrice a week as the recommended regimen. Once you reach a clean base of unclogged pores, it’s often easier to maintain, and you may be able to reduce your exfoliation frequency to once or twice a week.

The skin produces oils that keep it healthy and hydrated. Over-exfoliation can strip our face of what it needs to maintain a glowing complexion. Too much of the wrong type of exfoliation may be too aggressive or irritating for your skin type [1]. You may be eager to get cleaner, softer skin, but it’s essential to take the proper steps, which requires patience.

Learn more about how often you should exfoliate the skin with a facial scrub, the different types of exfoliation, and a few of our favorite skincare tips to give your face the TLC it deserves without over-exfoliating.

Over-Exfoliation: How Much Is Too Much

Your skin falls into one of three categories: oily, dry, or combination. Each skin type will help to determine how often you should exfoliate without going overboard.

An oily skin type has a sheen to the skin, especially in the t-zone area, and more visible pores. This is due to the excess production of sebum or oily secretion, which leads to a buildup of impurities that clog the pores more frequently. Exfoliation two to three times a week is usually recommended to help balance out the skin and keep it looking healthy and vibrant.

A dry skin type feels tight due to the decreased amount of lipids that help retain its moisture. It often results in flaky areas, dullness, and uneven skin tone. Exfoliation isn’t necessary as often since your skin lacks natural oils. You can benefit from adding it to your skincare routine once or twice a week.

Combination skin has characteristics of both an oily t-zone and dryness throughout other parts of the face. Since it’s right in the middle of skin types, stick with it two to three times a week to start with and adjust as needed, depending on if you tip more to the oily or dry side. With combination skin, you may only want to exfoliate the area of your face that calls for it, such as the bridge of your nose or forehead.

Straying from an exfoliation schedule based on your skin type can disrupt the balance of your skin and cause:

Prolonged redness



Acne breakouts

Also, if your skin is sensitive, it can feel painful. When you strip away healthy skin cells and oil from over-exfoliation, you leave the skin raw and exposed to your environment. As a result, your skin may crack, peel, or lose its elasticity. Follow the recommended exfoliation based on your skin type, but also pay attention to how your skin reacts and adjust as needed. If your skin does become over-sensitized and irritated, try soothing it with a cream for sensitive skin.

For example, if you have oily skin and chronic acne, daily exfoliation may be too irritating to your skin more than once a week. Alternatively, suppose you typically have dry skin but see tiny bumps or blackheads buildup due to excess sweat (especially around the nose and hairline). In that case, you may want to up your exfoliation by an extra day or two. Test what’s best for your skin and stick to a schedule that feels good for you.

Lastly, diet, age, hormones, genetics, and environmental elements affect your skin type and how it transforms over the years. The amount of sleep you get and how much water you drink are significant factors that can change its tone and texture. Some days, your face may feel greasier than usual, while others may lack moisture. As your skin condition changes, so should your skincare.

Chemical Exfoliation vs. Mechanical Exfoliation: Which to Choose?

There are two main methods of exfoliation. The first is chemical exfoliation, which, as the name suggests, uses chemicals or acids to dissolve the impurities left behind in your pores. This is particularly popular if you have oily skin or acne-prone skin. Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids help smooth the skin’s outer layer and improve cell turnover [2].

Chemical exfoliation helps acne and fights bacteria to aid in preventing the appearance of skin flare-ups and breakouts. Since these chemicals can essentially “purge” the pores, you’re left with clearer skin, and it’s typically gentler on the skin than manual scrubs or abrasive surfaces used for mechanical exfoliation.

Mechanical exfoliation – physical exfoliation – relies on tools to slough away dead skin cells and remove the grime that sinks into pores. A washcloth, a unique exfoliating brush, and a facial scrub with a natural bead-like Silicone are commonly used to remove the top layer of the skin and all of the impurities that come with it. However, if the tool or scrub is too abrasive or uses too much pressure, it can create microtears in the skin. These lead to inflammation and may result in an infection.

Keep it gentle, and use scrubs that have exfoliating and soothing ingredients. Making an at-home facial scrub with brown sugar and honey or coconut oil is easy. The granules smooth the skin, while the love makes the skin feel soft.

Our ExfoliKate(r) Intensive Exfoliating Treatment offers the best of both worlds. The formula contains powerful ingredients like lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, to “chemically” exfoliate the skin. It also has silica that works as a mechanical “tool” or physical bead that exfoliates the skin. In addition to these active components that help to unclog pores, vitamins A, C, and E provide antioxidant benefits and fruit enzymes to enhance the entire exfoliation process.

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