What Happens When You Over-Exfoliate?

20th Oct 2017

What Happens When You Over-Exfoliate?

Exfoliation has an increasing importance within beauty regimens due to pollution and the negative impact of UV rays on our skin. Increasing number of pollutants and heavy metals in the air require delicate and yet powerful and effective steps to counter-act their impact. In this article we will provide you with answers to the most frequently asked questions about this topic.

Why do we have to exfoliate?

The skin barrier, also called the corneum layer, is the last layer of skin. It acts as a defensive shield protecting deeper layers of the skin from harmful bacteria and viruses. The skin barrier regenerates itself on a daily basis, however, if it fails to do it properly, a good exfoliator will ensure its balance is brought back to normal. By exfoliating regularly, dead skin cells are removed from your skin. This will result in your skin becoming healthier, firmer and smoother. Skin feels so amazing straight after exfoliation and makeup is flawless and stays on for longer. This is probably the reason why it is so easy to fall into the trap of over-exfoliation.

Chemical Peel Skin Layers

What are the most common symptoms of over-exfoliation?

Over-exfoliation usually appears when we overdose on our facial treatments, ie. peelings and exfoliators. It makes skin more sensitive, prone to damage and premature ageing.

The most common symptoms of over-exfoliated skin are:

  • dehydrated skin or patches of dry skin
  • increased sensitivity, redness and itching
  • inflammatory acne

Remember, your skin should not peel after any facial treatment or cosmetic. If it does peel, it means your skin barrier was damaged and the treatment/ product is not suitable for you or you’ve not used it as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How to tackle over-exfoliation?

If you’re showing signs of over-exfoliation, we suggest you start using calming cosmetics immediately which will reduce the irritation and inflammation of your skin.

Things to remember:

  • Cleanser: avoid cleansers with a high level of alcohol (ie. alcohol will be high on the list of ingredients). Instead use calming cleansers designed for sensitive skin, such as Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser or Dr. G Hydra Intensive Bubble Foam Cleanser that are effective and yet gentle on your skin
  • Toner: if your skin is sensitive and irritated, avoid any anti-ageing toners like AHAs and BHAs. As over-exfoliation can cause inflammatory acne, ensure you avoid toners for acne prone skin as you can irritate your skin further and cause the skin glands to overproduce sebum, clogging more pores and creating skin breakouts. Apply toners that will soothe the skin, like Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
  • Serum: Avoid Vitamin C, retinoid and other exfoliating ingredients. Instead, invest in soothing, calming, moisturising and repairing serum, such as the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum.
  • Sheet masks will support quicker recovery. Dr. G Lock & More Sensi Calming Mask for combination and oily skin and sensitive skin or Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask for dry and normal.
  • Moisturiser: To lock in all the amazing ingredients you apply in earlier steps use Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream for a daily use or a calming cream such as Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream that can be applied as a spot treatment or on the entire face.
  • Sun protection is especially crucial now. Your skin barrier is damaged when your skin is over-exfoliated and is prone to hyperpigmentation and premature ageing. To see our full range click here

What can we do when the skin heals?

After skin recovers, you can return to exfoliating your skin starting with a gentle exfoliator.

The frequency of using a peeling gel or exfoliator depends on your skin type.

If you have very sensitive skin, you should exfoliate once or twice a week at maximum.

If you have oily skin that is thick and resistant, you can exfoliate every day or every other day using a gentle .