Exfoliating Your Face: Are You Overdoing It?

I am a huge believer in the benefits of exfoliating your face. It’s a must in my skin care routine, and it’s made a huge difference in the look and feel of my skin.

Sloughing off that top dead layer of skin is beneficial for a few different reasons. It exposes the fresh, new skin underneath for an instant glow, and it also lets serums and moisturizers like your favourite Mario Badescu spray or anti aging cream penetrate more deeply for better results.


But there can still be too much of a good thing! It can be easy to overdo the job and exfoliate your face excessively. And that may just lead to damage instead of the glowing results you crave!

So, how do you know if your skin issues are from excessive exfoliating or from unrelated triggers? Here are a few of the signs of irritated skin, and some tips for healing if exfoliating has caused the issues.

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Skin is Irritated and Raw

If you are using a good exfoliator once or twice a week, you’ll likely only notice the benefits of exfoliating.

But if your exfoliator is too harsh for your skin, or you make the mistake of using it every day, the first sign of a problem will likely be irritated skin that’s sensitive to the touch.

Properly exfoliated skin feels soft and smooth, with possibly just a touch of sensitivity. But overdo it, and your face will feel like it’s on fire.

If your skin looks splotchy and red in spots, and feels tingly all over or, even worse, downright painful, then you definitely overdid it.

Waxy Look and Feel

There’s actually a fine line between your skin feeling smooth and fresh vs. smooth and waxy. When you remove that layer of dead skin and expose the newer, youthful skin underneath it can look and feel like it’s tight and pinkish.

If you’ve over-exfoliated, but not to the point that it is irritated and painful, this waxiness might be mistaken for the desired result that you’re going for.

You’ll know the difference by how your face feels when you touch it. If it feels moist and soft, then you’re fine. If it feels dry and tight, you’ve scrubbed too hard.

Your skin is hungry for moisture at this point, and may even crack and become painful if not soothed. So make sure to get a high-quality moisturizer on your face quickly!

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How To Soothe Irritated Skin

If you are feeling pain or real discomfort after exfoliating, the first thing to do is put on a cold compress. This will help reduce pain and inflammation.

Once you’ve removed the compress, it’s time to add some cortisone cream to bring some much needed moisture to the area and keep the inflammation from returning.

Using some aloe at this point will also help keep the irritation from returning, as it’s a natural remedy for soothing pain and irritation. If your irritation is pretty bad, then you may want to avoid over-the-counter products with aloe and instead use the fresh juice from the plant itself.

Once you start feeling better, make sure to wait about a week before you exfoliate your face again. Once you’ve refined your technique, you’ll love the benefits exfoliating brings to your skin!

7 thoughts on “Exfoliating Your Face: Are You Overdoing It?”

  1. I do exfoliate but not my face as I have sensitive skin and worry about red blotches. I need a whole new routine as I hit 40, my skin is changing.

  2. I am 51 and have never did anything to my face other than just water and sometimes soap, and I have never had acne or any issues and I’m lucky as I don’t have any wrinkles either

  3. Very informative article. I need to incorporate a better skin care regime into my daily routine. I haven’t even been moisturizing much these days, I would like to try exfoliating.

  4. I guess I’m another not spending enough time on my skin, I have to try to get into a routine. Thank you for the tips.

  5. If anything I am not doing it enough!! I definitely have to take more time to spend more time on my skin and getting a morning and night time routine in place

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