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Why You Should Not (Over) Exfoliate

Dark Spots Dry Skin Exfoliating Hyperpigmentation Oily Skin

Yes, we all know it's important to exfoliate your skin. But, did you know you can over exfoliate?  Why is this fact also important?  For the health of your skin, you should know when, how to exfoliate your skin and what skin care product you should use.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Skin At Home? - What Exfoliating Method Should You Use?

Your skin type and condition should determine what exfoliating method you should use and how often.

Exfoliating using the correct method, results in a more even tone skin, a reduction of lines and a more youthful look.

What is Exfoliation?

Exfoliation of the skin is the removal of the dead skin cells released from the stratum corneum of the epidermis.  To be replaced with new cells  moved up from the basal layer of the epidermis.

Tree Exfoliating Leaves Let's start with this fact. Nature’s management of the shedding of dead cells is called desquamation.  Up to about the age of 30, skin cells turn over approximately every 28 days.  As we age cell turn over declines, it could take up to 40 days, playing a role in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles and dull,

dry appearance. 


About the age of 50, we are now shedding every 40 - 45 days, that leads to a build up of dead skin cells, a dull complexion, fines lines and make-up sitting on top of the skin.

Over-exfoliation could damage your skin's Natural Moisture Factor Barrier system.    

Wait a minute.....

What is a Natural Moisture Factor Barrier?  

The outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum.  Has two function:

1.  Physical Barrier  -  Prevent invading allergens and bacteria

2.  Chemical Barrier  -  Prevent evaporation of water, know as Trans Epidermal Water Loss and it's very fragile.

More on TEWL this later.............

woman with dry skin

Here's why your NMF is is important.

When you over exfoliate your skin it weakens the protective chemical barrier, making your skin vulnerable to dehydration, inflammation, sensitization, pigmentation, rosacea, premature aging even acne. 

Reductions or the lack of NMF have been correlated with various stratum corneum abnormalities that manifest clinically as areas of dry skin with scaling, flaking, or even fissuring and cracking. These conditions include AD, psoriasis, ichthyosis vulgaris, and xerosis .By Joseph Fowler, MD, FAAD    

Another Fact.....

A healthy cellular turnover is important a healthy aging.  Cell turnover do slow down as we age, creating all sorts of negative conditions of the skin. So exfoliating is a great way to assist nature. 

But...It should be done in a way as not to overwork or unsettle the delicate network of cell activity that exist within the layers of the skin.Inflammation caused by skin moisture barrier breakdown

Skin can be exfoliated manually or chemically........

Manual exfoliation is the use of a surface skin care product, gadget or device to remove the dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation is the use of an enzyme or acid to either break up keratinized cells or to melt them away.

Dry, sensitive or acne prone skin should use a mild chemical or enzyme exfoliator.   Whereas, some mechanical exfoliator may be too irritating, creating inflammation. 

According to American Academy of Dermatology, AAD" individuals with inflammatory acne, which includes cysts and pustules, should consult a board-certified dermatologist before selecting an exfoliation method."


Oily, thicker skin, your skin type can handle a stronger chemical or mechanical exfoliation.

A word of caution if you have darker skin tones or if you notice dark spots after a burn, bug bites or acne breakouts; avoid strong chemicals and mechanical exfoliation methods.


  The increased fraction against the skin or a strong chemical breakdown of the skin‘s surface cells could trigger an increase of melanocytes.  Melanocytes cells produce melanin.  Melanin gives us a darker pigment, you know, your color.   So leave the melanocytes alone.  Exfoliate gently.  In this case, more is not better. 

What is TEWL?

Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL), is the passive flow of water from the hydrated layers of the dermis and epidermis toward upper layers with a decrease water content and evaporates of moisture from the skin’s surface.

Products I Like

Skin Exfoliants.

Rhonda Allison Derma Peel

I use it on my skin care clients, I also have a jar in my bathroom.  Derma Peel doesn’t sting or burn and it’s very easy to use.  One of several things I like about Derma Peel, it goes on as a wet gel, then changes into crystals.

 How To Use:

Once Derma Peel is applied to clean  Dry skin and massaged in, using small circles , it turns grainy.  Hey, it actually grabs a layer of surface dead skin cells, dissolve them, creating gritty crystal bits.  It’s amazing, you dust off the crystals then rinse your skin.  What’s left, skin that has been exfoliated not damaged or irritated. 

Try Rhonda Allison Derma Peel, you won’t be disappointed, I guarantee it won’t over exfoliate your skin.

I haven’t forgotten about those with oily thicker skin who would like to exfoliate their skin at home. 

Consider Neova Reveal Exfoliator [20% Glycolic].    Quick note to you sensitive types.  This is not for you.  If you said these words, “my skin can take anything” okay, this exfoliator is for you. 

But, you still need to be careful not to over exfoliate with this product.  It’s not to be use everyday.  Learn how to use Neova Reveal in a DIY Glycolic Facial at home.

Here's a gentle scrub for you physical types.

Neova Serious Clarity Microderm Scrub

A  micro-fine exfoliating crystal scrub to polish away dead, flaky skin for brighter, healthier looking skin.  It gently refines your skin texture.  The removal of dead cells helps prevent surface debris from filling pores, helping to reduce pore size and prepare the skin for maximum penetration of treatment products to follow.

How to use Microderm Scrub:

Wet skin apply a small of Serious Clarity Microderm Scrub to skin using circular motion, avoiding the eye area.  Gently scrub 1 to 2 minutes.  Do not over rub, let the product do the work.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water.  May be use 2 to 3 times a week 

Neova Microderm Exfoliating Scrub

Please Note:

Use all scrubs and exfoliant according to your skin type and condition. 

After exfoliating it's a good idea to help restore your skin Natural Moisture Barrier with repair serums and mask.  Like Neova Power Defense and Copper Peptide Mask.  They both have copper peptide, I wrote about its benefits in "4 Important Topical Peptides For Your Facial Routine"   


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