The One Exfoliation Mistake You Keep Making

Is there anything better than that squeaky clean feeling? In our homes, on our teeth, on our faces—we just can't get enough. There's something so unbelievably satisfying in knowing there that's not a fleck of dirt or grime to be seen. 

Which is why many of us decide that when it comes to our beauty regime, we should be getting into those sneaky oil-harbouring pores as often as we can, humming the phrase 'to the left' to our dead skin cells and bundling them out the door without the chance to pack a bag. But one thing you may not know about a good scrub is that actually isn't that 'good' at all—it often can do more harm than good. 

Scroll down to see how exfoliating too often can ruin your skin.

What's the problem with over-exfoliation?

Newsflash: your skin actually knows how to exfoliate itself. (How helpful is that?) Your skin is constantly renewing itself and this process is especially effective when you're young (which explains that annoyingly elusive glow of youth). There's nothing wrong with giving your skin a helping hand now and then, but consider that your skin actually knows how to do its job, so you definitely don't want to over do it.

So, how often should you be scrubbing? Well, there is a ceiling. Experts across the board suggest that you should only be exfoliating your face with a physical scrub a maximum of three times a week, no more. 

What happens when you try and push it? The exact opposite of what you want. "If your skin barrier is working well, it will retain water effectively, maintaining good hydration balance, and be resilient yet flexible—it’s likely to look more radiant as a consequence," dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting told Get the Gloss. (Did you hear that?) "This means it contains the right amount of lipids, and the right amount of Natural Moisturising Factor. If it’s not, skin will look dry, dull and possibly scaly."

Exfoliating too harshly or too often can damage the protective outer layer of your skin, leading to further dryness, inflammation and the actually dulling of the skin. Yikes! So what now?


Well, the first step is to adapt your regime according to your skin, not your timetable. For example, don't just take to your face if it's Washday Wednesday—if your skin needs it, do it (but no more than three times a week though). If it doesn't, don't.

The second step depends on skin type. If you've got oily skin, for example, subtract those extra exfoliation sessions and add a cleanser like Mario Badescu's Acne Facial Cleanser ($21) in order to combat excess oil. 

You sensitive types need to stay away from harsh, scratchy scrubs that buff your skin too vigorously—Trilogy's Gentle Facial Exfoliant ($39) uses micro-spheres of jojoba to gently buff dead skin away, rather than often-jagged substitutes like nut shells.


Renee Rouleau Aha Smoothing Serum 10% ($55)

As for chemical exfoliants (like glycolic serums or masks), dermatologist to the stars, Renee Rouleau has a unique approach: apply them everyday for a week, then take a week break by using a hydrating serum every day instead, bathing your new cells in much needed hydration. 

But a good general rule of thumb? More isn't always more, especially when it comes to your skin.

How often do you exfoliate? Tell us in the comments below!

Add a Comment

More Stories