The 7 Dangers of Over-Exfoliating
Before we even talk about the dangers of over-exfoliating, we need to know exactly what exfoliating is and what you can hope to achieve by doing it. Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of skin. The body sheds 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells each minute. Exfoliating has lots of benefits for the skin; it leaves the skin looking fresh, improves the circulation, helps to remove built-up dirt and helps to rejuvenate dull skin. However, if overdone, exfoliating can actually cause a wealth of problems.
We are finding that more and more clients are coming to us, telling us that well-known beauty brands are advising them to exfoliate a number of times each week. This seems to be an ongoing problem and we wanted to highlight exactly why this advice is poor and should not be heeded. So we did a little poll on our social channels to find out how often you are all exfoliating. And the results… were a shocker. More than half of you are exfoliating more than once a week, with some of you exfoliating every day! So what are the dangers of over-exfoliation?
There seems to be a misconception with exfoliating that if you exfoliate more, then you will remove more dirt and blackheads, hence reducing acne. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you exfoliate your skin more than once a week, you are actually encouraging your skin to produce more sebum. Sebum is the oil that your skin naturally produces. An increase in sebum can actually encourage acne. Big no-no if you are prone to oily skin!
The skin is on a 7 day cycle and at the end of those 7 days, your face needs a little ‘buffing.’ This is where exfoliation comes into play. Those dead skin cells have built up on your face and now you need to shift them so you can bring out the fresh new skin underneath. Your face only needs this ‘buffing’ once a week. If you exfoliate more than once a week, then you are literally ‘buffing’ new skin. That new skin is sensitive and should be looked after with gentle products. If you are over-exfoliating this skin then you can cause all kinds of irritation. Should you be exfoliating everyday, you are simply scrubbing the new, fresh skin from your face. Eventually, this could cause irritation and pain that your skin will take a long time to recover from.
You might not have sensitive skin at the moment, but by constantly scrubbing at the new layers of skin on your face, you can actually give yourself sensitive skin. Over-exfoliating to this extent can leave you with redness, inflammation, blotches, rashes and even bleeding. If you start to notice that your normal skin products are causing an uncomfortable tingling or burning, then you could be over-exfoliating.
Tell Tale Shine
Over-exfoliating will reveal layers of very new, young skin. Whilst this may not sound like a bad thing, it really is. If you file the surface of your nail for too long, it will start to get painful. The exact same thing can happen with exfoliating. If your skin is shiny, but isn’t oily, this could be a tell tale ‘shine’ of over-exfoliation.
Rosacea is a condition which causes the blood vessels in the face to enlarge, leaving a flushed look and potentially swelling, behind. The beads in an exfoliator can be very harsh on already sensitive skin and can create new broken blood vessels in rosacea skin types. Exfoliation can improve circulation but there can be too much of a good thing. If you suffer from rosacea, over-exfoliating could encourage it, making it alot worse.
Dry, Tight Skin
By exfoliating too often, you are removing layers of natural protection. The skin will eventually start to appear dry and damaged. Simply moisturising can help but it may still take a while for the skin to heal from this. Your skin should feel comfortable which means you should be unconscious of it. If your skin starts to feel tight and uncomfortable, this could be down to over-exfoliation. Good exfoliation removes flakes from the skin, bad exfoliation causes flakes.
Rhinophyma is a nasty condition caused by untreated rosacea. It forms gradually over a number of years and causes the nose to swell and become filled with lots of pus-filled bumps. This condition is more common in men. It is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can cause disfigurement. Unfortunately, rhinophyma does not respond well to medication and is instead treated with surgery. If you currently suffer from rosacea or you have sensitive skin, avoid over-exfoliating as you are ‘more likely’ to develop this condition.
Exfoliate Once a Week
You only need to exfoliate once a week. We really cannot emphasise this enough. If you are suffering with any of the conditions listed above, please seek medical help. Alternatively, try not to use products which include too many harsh chemicals as this can only irritate your skin further. Our products are all completely natural and contain friendly, gentle ingredients. If you would like a free consultation with one of our lovely team, we would be delighted to recommend specific ingredients which can help with your skin type. Contact us today.