First of all, we don’t disagree that exfoliating is good for skin. There are numerous benefits of (gently) exfoliating regularly. It can brighten skin and prevent acne by sloughing off dead skin and bacteria.
However, like all things in life, everything should be in moderation. With all the hottest new skincare trends filled with AHA, BHA, Retinols, scrubs and cool gadget brushes – we’ve been seeing an incredible amount of new clients coming to us with sensitive skin caused by over-exfoliation. In fact, our team is inundated with similar stories of people who didn’t use to have sensitive skin, but now do.
It’s no small matter: over-exfoliation can cause inflammation and even bacterial infection of the surface skin cells. Consequently, your skin could become chronically inflamed, with rashes and pimples popping up. This often misleads people into thinking they need more exfoliation, so they make it worse by buying more exfoliating products.
How do you know if your skin is over-exfoliated? Here are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for:
- When your skin is easily irritated (becomes sensitive when you're usually not)
- When you are starting to experience rough/flaking skin regularly (keeps coming back)
- When your skin is getting oilier (especially T zone shine)
- When you are getting more breakouts than usual (exfoliation doesn't seem to help)
- Dry patches but very oily T zone (sebum production imbalance)
If you’re experiencing these symptoms and your current skincare routine isn’t helping – it is likely that your skin barrier is compromised.
Good News: Don’t panic, it’s not permanent and can be fixed! BUT it will take some time for your skin to regain its barriers (roughly 2 to 8 weeks for most).
- First off, STOP exfoliating! Drop it – scrubs, peels, brushes, acids, retinoids - anything harsh
- Nourish your skin – use natural, moisturizing and soothing ingredients to fight inflammation (aloe vera, facial oils, organic sheet masks), check the ingredients label of everything in your cabinet! Avoid synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens and especially any acids ie. AHA
- Give make up a break (tough, we know) – try to use less make up or go make up free as much as you can for a month. Stick to light BB creams (the less synthetics the better) and organic powders, there are lot of great natural make up brands out there
- Use natural, low comedogenic oils at night - Use it to remove make up, use it as a nutrient rich "
"barrier rebuilder" for night time recovery. Oils fortified with Vitamin E are great, as they provide a temporary "barrier" for weakened skin during hydration and Vitamin E can help the recovery process - but make sure that the oil formula isn't too thick, as an excess of Vit E (Tocopherol) can cause break outs. (Check out our lightweight Snow Fox Youth Oil for this)
- Change your skincare routine to focus on what your skin needs – a gentle cleanser, an irritant-free, absorbent moisturizer, natural oil make up remover and hydrating sheet masks
Our answer to clients who need help? Our new Japanese Cherry Blossom Mask was designed to help rebuild skin barriers. Head on over to the company blog to find out more about how cherry blossom extract works wonders in soothing sensitive, inflamed skin!