Derm DMs: How Often Should I Exfoliate My Face?
Exfoliation is a great way to slough away dead skin cells to reveal radiant glowing skin, but as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing. While exfoliating your skin has a variety of benefits, doing so too often can be damaging. So how frequently should you exfoliate? New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman weighs in.
What Happens If You Exfoliate Your Face Too Often?
“It’s not hard to spot excessive exfoliation,” says Dr. Engelman. Over-exfoliation can potentially exacerbate existing conditions causing the skin’s natural barrier to weaken. The resulting inflammation and redness could increase for those suffering from rosacea while other cases may induce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, she says. Along with the visible signs, the now-weakened skin barrier can cause hypersensitivity and lead to clogged pores, which can sometimes result in breakouts.
After exfoliating, follow up with a moisturizer to replenish moisture and soothe skin. Try using a formula containing ceramides. Right now we’re loving the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?
Dr. Engelman says there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should exfoliate. “Some people can only handle exfoliating once a week while others need it more regularly.” That said, there are a few factors that can help you determine the ideal frequency for yourself, including your skin type and the ingredients in the products you're using.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the more sensitive your skin, the less often you should exfoliate your face. A good starting point is once a week. Try to use gentle products that contain soothing ingredients like the YSL Beauty Pure Shots Soft Polish Double Essence. It contains lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA) to remove dead skin cells, while argan oil nourishes and strengthens the skin barrier.
Those with oily skin may be more adept at handling stronger methods of exfoliation, says the AAD. We love the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which doubles as an exfoliator and a cleanser. As a rule of thumb, start by exfoliating once a week, but as your skin gets used to a product, ease your way into increasing frequency to two or three times a week.