How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin Fast

How to Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin Fast

Exfoliation promises us smooth and glowy skin. But if it has been giving you more of what you have been trying to get rid of, there is a chance you are doing something wrong. Well, welcome to the hamster wheel. You exfoliate to get rid of rough skin only to get rougher skin. That’s called over-exfoliation.

It’s something I experience a little too often. I use a lot of different skincare products made with heavy active ingredients to test them out. Plus, I have rosacea. So red, irritated skin is my day-to-day look.

Any time my skin goes through an ugly phase from over-exfoliation, I take certain steps as suggested by pretty much any dermatologist. So if I experience any sign of over-exfoliation, I know how to get a handle on it pretty fast.

If you think you’ve over-exfoliated, below are some signs to be on the lookout for and how to calm and heal over-exfoliated skin fast.

What Is Over-Exfoliation?

Over-exfoliation occurs when your skin can’t renew fast enough to replace what you’ve been removing from your skin. Your skin has its schedule of getting rid of dead skin cells and replacing them with new ones. This is called the skin turnover rate.

When you’re exfoliating, you are changing your skin’s routine of removal and renewal. This is normal. But when you intervene aggressively by exfoliating too often or too harshly with a serum or toner, you upset the cycle.

You’re trying to remove faster than your skin can renew. In other words, your exfoliating serum is writing checks your epidermis can’t cash.

This damages your skin barrier and makes the outer layer of your skin vulnerable and exposed, resulting in over-exfoliated skin.

Signs of Over-Exfoliated Skin

Redness, irritation, and dryness are the most common signs of over-exfoliated skin. And these are all interrelated with each other. In some cases, and this is something I deal with as well, you might experience breakouts too.

But what happens if you’re already dealing with these? I, for one, have rosacea. So how do I know if my redness is from rosacea or exfoliation? The answer will vary.

But ask yourself these questions to find out if what you’re dealing with is due to over-exfoliation.

  • Have I introduced a new exfoliant into my routine?
  • How many times have I exfoliated this week?
  • Have I used a retinol product this week?
  • Is there a chance I used retinol and exfoliants on the same day?
  • Did I use two exfoliants in the same routine?

Either way, the answer is always to take a break from exfoliation.

How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin

1. Stop Exfoliating

The first step in healing overly-exfoliated skin is to stop exfoliating. I know, it’s incredibly frustrating to start exfoliating only to find out that your skin is getting worse. But your skin needs to regroup and it needs time for that.

2. Cleanse Once a Day

Using a gentle cleanser when your skin is incredibly sensitive is a no-brainer. Do not use harsh cleansers or exfoliating cleansers during this time. Additionally, consider washing your face once a day instead of twice a day.

It doesn’t matter how gentle a cleanser is. We lose some level of oil from our skin every time we wash our face. Minimizing that, at least until your skin recovers, can help your skin to heal faster.

3. Simplify Your Routine

It makes sense to simplify your routine to just a few basic steps like cleansing, moisturizing, and wearing SPF. Because your skin is sensitive during this time, it might even start reacting to products you normally use.

Plus, there’s a good chance some of the products simply don’t agree with each other, causing more sensitivity. So get rid of all that is exfoliating or anti-aging like retinol while your skin is trying to recover.

4. Use Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients

This is what helps me the most to heal my over-exfoliated, red skin. I use skincare products made with anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients have a soothing effect on the skin, which reduces redness and helps the skin heal faster.

Green tea, colloidal oatmeal, chamomile, and aloe are amazing soothers you can use to help your skin. If you have any of these, use them in your routine in the form of a mask or moisturizer.

5. Use a Barrier-Restoring Moisturizer

Because of the damage to the skin barrier, your skin becomes drier and needs more moisture. And moisturizers come to the rescue. Look for a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer and use it twice a day.

Also, consider barrier-repairing moisturizers which usually have a balm-like texture and contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal and restoring ingredients like ceramides.

6. Use SPF

As your skin is exposed and vulnerable, you should pay extra attention to wearing sunscreen. Sun exposure damages normal skin, let alone already compromised skin. So as the last step of your routine, apply SPF generously.

So this is how you can heal over-exfoliated skin. It takes time for your skin to recover. Once the redness and irritation are completely gone, you can go back to your normal skincare routine. Don’t rush this. And don’t introduce exfoliants into your routine before your skin recovers. If this happens to you a lot, you might be using the wrong exfoliator. To prevent something like this from happening again in the future, start by learning how to exfoliate sensitive skin.

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