The surprising dangers of skin exfoliation | Part I

Face exfoliation
Exfoliators of all types are some of the most hyped up products in the beauty world. Drugstore and high-end brands flood the market with their formulas, promising cleaner, brighter and younger skin, some of them claiming to be appropriate for daily use. While dermatologists agree that exfoliation is an essential step of a healthy skin care routine, they also point out that if overdone it may lead to serious issues.

Exfoliation is an essential step of a healthy skin care routine, but if overdone it may lead to serious issues.

“Women think that if they exfoliate more frequently, they will get rid of dead skin cells,” says Dr. Marko Lens, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and founder of Zelens, in an interview with Refinery29. “However, they don’t know that this will not give the skin time to follow a natural renewal process – the so-called natural turnover of epidermal cells – which is crucial in skin regeneration.” Premature aging and dryness are just two examples of the possible results.

Overexfoliation“Overexfoliating strips the skin of natural oils thereby causing irritation and inflammation,” says celebrity aesthetician Mila Moursi. “Overstripped skin can backfire and then cause excess oil production, triggering breakouts.” Other consequences can be oversensitivity, redness, bumps and even peeling.

The frequency of exfoliation depends on the skin type, texture and age. Generally younger skin and oilier skin can be exfoliated more often because it is thicker than mature skin, which has a thinner epidermis and needs to be treated with products catering its needs. Dermatologists agree that even the oiliest skin should not be exfoliated more than three times a week.

Moderate exfoliation with the right product is necessary for the skin to look its best. What it essentially does is accelerating the process of losing dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, called desquamation. Naturally the skin sheds up to 50 000 dead cells per minute. This number decreases with aging, slowing down the in turnover process.

Moderate exfoliation with the right product is necessary for the skin to look its best. It slows down the ageing process, removes impurities and evens out the skin tone.

The concentration of dead skin cells results not only in dryness, dullness, and even flakiness, it may also lead to clogged pores and severe break outs. It also highlights fine lines causing the skin to appear older.

face exfoliation“Exfoliating helps fight against ageing because it stimulates blood and lymph flow and cell turnover. As we age, the skin can start to look dull. If you want that Michele Williams or Adriana Lima glow to your face, exfoliate!” urges dermatologist Dr. David A. Colbert in an interview with By removing the dead skin cells, exfoliation reveals the younger, fresher and healthier skin underneath.

It not only slows down the ageing process, but also minimizes redness, evens the skin tone, and removes impurities and oils, unclogging the pores and reducing the risk of break outs and inflammation. Moreover, when blood circulation increases, the cells receive more oxygen and nutrients. Another benefit of exfoliation is that it prepares the skin for the application of other treatments, allowing the ingredients of nourishing masks, serums and moisturizers to penetrate deeper into its layers.

Exfoliation is essential for skin care, but just as any other treatment can be dangerous when excessive. The most important rule to follow is that the skin should be smooth and glowing after treated. Dryness and irritation are signs that it should be reduced.

Quick fix: To soothe overexfoliated skin apply cold milk compress once a day for three days followed by a nourishing oil or balm. Cleansers with aggressive ingredients and mineral oils that might be irritation should be avoided until the skin heals completely.

How often do you exfoliate?




Linda Becaca said…
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Kstylick said…
Love this blog so much! :) And I'm really hoping that maybe we could follow each other on Bloglovin and/or GFC, Facebook?

Please leave me a comment on my blog and follow by blog!

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Tanya said…
Good post
I have really oily skin so my dermatologists actually told me that I should exfoliate everyday and thought me products that I can use and techniques to lightly exfoliate that makes it really safe to do everyday.
Somdyuti D. Ray said…
I've always been a exfoliation junkie. Needless to say, it wouldn't be the first time if I experience itchiness and irritation in my skin because I overdid the whole exfoliation thing. It's really amazing on your part to bring it to everyone's notice, since we tend to ignore it. And congratulations on getting featured in this week's IFB Links a la Mode. You totally deserved it, fellow linker! xx
I'm over at

P.S Your header image is incredible! :)

Love, Somdyuti