Over-exfoliation Is A Real Thing And Here’s How To Do Some Damage Control


Over-exfoliation Is A Real Thing And Here’s How To Do Some Damage Control

Over-exfoliation Is A Real Thing And Here’s How To Do Some Damage Control

By Shammi Mondal 


Exfoliation is the most trending word in the skincare industry, and it’s two forms (physical and chemical) are constantly pitted against each other. There are promises that exfoliation reduces acne and gives you the smoothest skin of your life, but what you may not know is that all of this could be true only if done in moderation. Excessive exfoliation will not just make your skin angry, but damage your skin barrier.


To fact check we spoke to Dr Varshini Reddy, dermatologist and founder of Glow Clinic, who tells us how much is too much, how to know you’ve jumped the exfoliation limit and what must you do when that happens.


What Is Over Exfoliation? 

Exfoliation is the process of unclogging the pores of your skin which helps improve the texture. But when you over do it, the results could be just the opposite.  

“Over exfoliation is when we either use exfoliate more than what is intended for your skin or it could even be using multiple exfoliators layered over one another,” says Dr Varshini Reddy.


How Does It Happen? 

Everyone’s skin is different and so is their exfoliation needs. Someone may comfortably exfoliate thrice a week, while you may simply need a weekly exfoliation. But if you think you can even out your skin’s texture in a day by indulging in some aggressive exfoliation, the after math could be dire.


 Over exfoliation happens when you use too many exfoliants together, like applying an exfoliating toner with an exfoliating serum. This can destroy your skin barrier and strip your lipidic shield and lead to many issues such as sensitivity, reactive skin and excessive texture, says Dr Varshini.

What Does Over-exfoliated Skin Look-like? 

You might feel happy to see an unusual translucent sheen on your face right after you exfoliate, but this could also mean a damaged skin barrier. 

While red, inflamed, flared up and bumpy, dehydrated skin can all be a result of over exfoliation, all of it tallies up to making your skin very sensitive, intolerant to other products and reactive,” says Dr Varshini.


What Ingredients Often Cause This Problem? 

Commonly AHA’s and BHA’s like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, polyhydroxy acids are efficient when used in the right way. But when you layer it ingredients like retinols or hydroquinone, it can be damaging for your skin,” says Dr Varshini.


You Have Over Exfoliated, What Now? 

Now that you have realised that your skin is over-exfoliated, don’t freak out! If you’ve picked up a product to pack over your over-exfoliated skin, you might want reconsider it. Here is Dr Varshini’s 3 step guide to helping your over-exfoliated skin.


  1. 1. Don’t bother your skin; avoid applying too many products, even your regular serum with actives because it will only make your skin more reactive. 

    1. 2. “Use a gentle cleanser, follow it by a hydrating mist or essence and a repairing or soothing cream in your routine. Plant-based face oils can heal your skin and restore lipids in your skin especially sea buckthorn and squalene,” says Dr Varshini.

  1. 3. “Unfortunately, there is no miraculous product that gets your skin back to normal in a day but moisturisers with calming ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, centella asiatica, peptides, botanical plant-based oils which have omegas acids will help strengthen the barrier of your skin and heal it overtime,” says Dr Varshini