Too Much of a Good Thing - When to Stop Exfoliating

Posted by Dana Ramos on September 7, 2016

When to Stop Exfoliating


Exfoliation of the skin is a wonderful thing—right up there with chocolate covered strawberries. But like all good things, it is possible to overdo it and end up with unwanted results.

I can understand the thinking here: You try a moderate or mild peel and you get fabulous results: Your skin is glowing, those small zits seem to have vanished overnight, and your pores have become smaller. So you do another peel in a week or so, maybe even trying a little bit stronger preparation like the 50% Glycolic peel or an extra layer of the layer-able 1-4-All Peel you like that even more. As you continue peeling every week or so, you start seeing undeniable results: Fine lines are smoothing out, discoloration is fading, acne is disappearing, and your skin looks years younger.

You are happy with the improvements to your skin, so you keep on going. Before you know it, you’ve done 6, 8, 12 peels, moving up in strength; and maybe you are also using cleansers and moisturizers with glycolic or other exfoliating acids, and perhaps retinoid creams… and…

…and then your skin starts to rebel. It now always seems red or raw, you have mysterious rashes, persistent dryness and flaking, and even your cleansers and moisturizers are irritating your skin.

Ah. You have over-done it. Now what?

The obvious answer is to stop it all—even your retinoids and/or Retin-A. You must allow your skin to calm down for at least a week—that is the minimum amount of time it normally takes for cells to completely regenerate and it’s why we always suggest not doing any peels sooner than seven days apart. During this calming-down period, switch to a very gentle cleansers and moisturizers such as the Gentle Cleansing Lotion and Advanced Care Moisturizer which have no acids or exfoliating properties. It is also a good idea to add in as much moisture as you can by using pure Hyaluronic Acid —DO NOT LET THE NAME FOOL YOU, hyaluronic is NOT an exfoliating acid, but a super-moisturizing one that helps calm the skin. Another great addition is pure Emu Oil which has anti-inflammatory and super-moisturizing properties.

During the healing time, don’t use any scrubs or brushes on your skin, use room-temperature water to cleanse your skin, and avoid washcloths unless you use them very gently.Try to avoid makeup foundation and treat your skin as gently as you can—and most certainly continue to use sunscreen; the drugstore brand CeraVe is a very gentle one.

You really should stay off everything for a good two weeks to allow your skin to heal, and then evaluate your skin: Ask yourself, “Do I really need to peel some more, or can I maintain the great results I can by doing a moderate peel every few weeks?" That is what most doctors will suggest—peels are NOT meant to be used every week forever, but initially for a few weeks to transform your skin, then maintaining with a peel every few weeks. Gradually add back in your retinoids or Retin-A, making sure to stop for a few days if you notice any irritation redeveloping.

Yes, exfoliating is a great thing, and can even help prevent skin cancer ( check out this article on The Skin Cancer Foundation about that). But, just like chocolate, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing!

Where can I buy Dana's Book?

The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin, available as a Kindle download or Buy paperback to buy your paperback copy from Platinum Skin Care. You can also read the first chapter--FREE--by click here to read 1st chapter.

Don't forget to check out our sister website, TheSkinRegime.

Topics: Peels, Chemical Peels, Whats Best For Me?

Written by Dana Ramos

Author of the best-selling book: The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin
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