We’ve all been there - chasing that glass skin trend, thinking that we could scrub our acne away, or just overdoing it with actives and acids because someone on TikTok said that it’s okay. Sigh. So what does over-exfoliation actually look and feel like? What’s the best and fastest way to help heal the skin? Read on for the scaries and healing tips below.
What Is Over-Exfoliated Skin?
Don’t get us wrong, exfoliation is a great way to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and remove environmental debris, leaving you with plump and smooth skin. Over-exfoliation, on the other hand, causes swelling, inflammation, peeling (yikes!), and tightness, and even makes your skin look excessively shiny. If you know, you know. Now that the worst part is over, let’s address the healing process.
How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin?
The beautiful thing about the body’s largest organ – the skin – is that it is able to regenerate and heal itself naturally, but the process can take up to a month. The only action required from you is patience and the following tips:
- Stop exfoliating – Seems rather obvious, but it may be a habit to reach for an acid or exfoliator to remove the flaking and peeling skin. Hide them if you must.
- Apply a cold compress – Think ice packs and (sanitized) bags of frozen peas. Applying a cold compress to the skin as soon as possible will help with the pain, inflammation, and redness.
- Apply nutrient-rich emollients – Spot-treating very dry and irritated areas with ingredients like Petrolatum and Shea butter will help soothe the skin. Humectants, such as raw Aloe vera, are also a great way to reintroduce moisture into the skin.
- Simplify your routine – You should be able to count the number of products in your routine on only one hand. Stick to a gentle cleanser (non-foaming preferred), moisturizer, and sunscreen. If you are already using a Vitamin C serum, do continue to do so, as to help soothe and expedite the recovery process.
- Never, ever forget SPF – You’ve just exfoliated the dead and the healthy skin cells off, leaving a new and fragile layer of skin exposed. Protect it from UV radiation (aka fine lines, age spots, and premature ageing) with a high SPF at all times. Put sticky notes on the mirror if you have to.
How To Avoid Over-Exfoliating in The Future?
In order to avoid the symptoms and the healing process all together, we recommend exfoliating once or twice (at most!) per week. Similarly, don’t skip reading the instructions and recommended use guidelines as to minimize your risk of over-exfoliation. Lastly, and this is especially important when trying new products, do a patch test on your hand or side of your neck to see how your skin will react.
We hope that you’ve found this post helpful!
Join us next week as we talk about the retinol purge, what it is and how to deal with it.