Posted by Clever Dick on

Does Over Exfoliating Damage Skin?

Exfoliating skin is helpful for all skin types, and especially for breakout-prone skin that needs help with ‘un-roofing’ acne lesions (the top of a plug) and unclogging a pore.

But exfoliating too much can cause more harm than good.

If you exfoliate too often, you can prematurely remove too much skin. Skin cells take time to regenerate. The normal cell turnover rate is about 28 days in a young adult. It’s double that for someone over age 50.

Over-exfoliating also triggers inflammation in the skin and weakens the barrier function. If the barrier function is damaged, skin becomes vulnerable to infection from micro-organisms and can become sensitized and irritated.

Even if the barrier function isn’t visibly damaged, the skin may experience a low amount of inflammation, which over time prematurely ages the skin.
Signs of Over Exfoliating.

* tight skin (both a feeling of tightness and the skin literally looking stretched out and taut).
* translucent skin (as if it were almost sheer).
* shiny.

Changes in pigmentation and scarring are potential side effects of strong chemical exfoliation (e.g.a  deep chemical peel) or invasive exfoliation procedures done in a doctor’s office or medical spa (e.g. dermabrasion, lasers).

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

This is a great question and one that is open to debate. There is no definitive answer. If you conducted a poll of aestheticians, dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, and skin scientists, you’ll get very different answers and they’d all be right. The extent and kind of exfoliation used is very much dictated by an individual's skin condition.

Another challenge with answering this question is that there is such a wide range of exfoliation options. Exfoliation can be anything from a mild physical scrub to a deep chemical peel. And everything in between like an exfoliating cleanser or an acid toner.

Should I choose a chemical or physical exfoliant?

Physical exfoliants can be too abrasive and can irritate the skin and make it sensitised. Deep chemical peels can also damage the skin.

We recommend a  leave-on chemical peel. Such peels effectively cleanse and exfoliate the skin, but are gentle enough to avoid any dermal damage. Harsh scrubs are not the answer.

Skinlabs Direct has a range of four, leave-on, peels for different skin conditions. Gentle, but effective exfoliation is assured.

Skin care for all ages and skin conditions.


Skinlabs Direct

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