Once you experience that first tingle from exfoliating your skin – the sign that the product is working its magic – there’s no going back.
There’s no skincare product available quite like an exfoliator to smooth, brighten, and freshen your skin, whether you opt for a physical scrub or a chemical toner.
But there’s too much of a good thing when it comes to exfoliation. Overindulging can leave your skin looking red, irritated, and flaky.
Don’t worry – there are ways to help you treat and recover your skin following over-exfoliation, and we’re here to share them with you.
Did you over-exfoliate your skin?
First, let’s see if your skin is actually over-exfoliated instead of just dry.
Over-exfoliated skin typically appears shiny as light reflects off it easily. As well as being dry and shiny, your complexion will likely be red, tight, stinging, and irritated.
Your skin may feel dehydrated beyond just lacking moisture. When you over-exfoliate for an extended period, this prolonged inflammation can increase premature aging, destroy healthy skin cells, and worsen hyperpigmentation. So, while you may exfoliate to improve the look of your skin, overdoing it can make it far worse.
If your skin suddenly starts looking older and duller, it may be thanks to over-exfoliation.
As your skin needs protective layers to stay healthy and hydrated, over-exfoliating may harm your complexion more than you realize.
How To Heal Over Exfoliated Skin
While avoiding over-exfoliation altogether is best, we know this isn’t always possible. If you’ve already made the mistake of over-exfoliating, there are ways to restore your skin.
It may sound obvious, but the first thing you must do is stop exfoliating. Take a break for at least four weeks to allow your skin to rebalance.
Your skin regeneration cycle takes around a month, so your skin will be super sensitive around this time.
Choose The Right Products
If you’ve gone too fast and too hard on the exfoliation, you must stop and reassess your routine until your skin returns to its usual texture.
Now’s the time to be gentle on your skin. Your skin will heal but it needs time and proper care.
You’ll want your skin to return to its most balanced state before adding anything to it.
First, you need to heal the damaged skin. Then you’ll need to replenish the lost moisture and rebuild healthy skin cells.
It’s not just acids you need to stay far away from. Fragrance and alcohol can hurt your skin too. Switch any products containing these components for the time being.
Your recovery routine should include a gentle cleanser, moisturizing creams, SPF, and repair creams that help to treat the skin barrier.
Seek ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene, zinc oxide, shea butter, and glycerin. These ingredients are all hydrating and calming.
Once you use the right products, you’ll likely see a difference in your skin within the month. This is how long it takes for the skin cells to regenerate. For very red or raw areas, you may need to find hydrocortisone cream.
The CosMedix Benefit Clean Gentle Cleanser is an excellent option for over-exfoliated complexions. Enhanced with shea butter and an impurity-filtering mineral, the cleanser is safe and gentle, designed to calm and protect all skin types.
The cleanser contains zeolite, an ingredient sourced from volcanos, which gently cleans the skin of heavy metals, environmental pollutants, dirt, and makeup.
Calm The Irritation
If you’ve used a particularly strong acid or over-scrubbed your skin, you’ll notice it immediately once you wash it off.
For immediate relief, a cold compress can stop the burning sensation. Try using ice cubes, ice packs, or cold bags.
Cooling down the burning area reduces the pain and can also lessen the possibility of inflammation.
If you’re looking for an at-home fix, make a beeline to the kitchen. Aloe vera can soothe your skin and prevent reactions, while slices of fresh cucumber will cool your complexion.
Alternatively, you can blend cucumber in a food processor to make a refreshing puree. While it may sound messy, it’s incredibly cooling and calming.
If your skin still feels raw or is painful to touch, even after these treatments, don’t hesitate to contact your derm.
The Babor Calming Cream is ideal for situations like this. The product is specially formulated for sensitive or sore skin and helps to reduce irritation and redness.
The formula strengthens and rebuilds the skin’s natural protective barrier while helping improve the compexion’s natural irritation threshold.
Not only that, but the cream helps to protect the skin against signs of premature aging. With consistent use, the skin becomes more even, calm, and soft.
Another great option for soothing irritated skin is the Avene Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream which provides continuous hydration and soothing.
This preservative-free and paraben-free formula helps soothe discomfort such as tightness or burning that is usually associated with over exfoliating. Tolerance Control Soothing Cream is also great for sensitive skin types.
Do you want more skincare advice? Find out if pore strips are bad for the skin here.