Over-Exfoliated Skin: What To Do Next

AriEstheticsAriEsthetics
Sep. 29
Over-exfoliation has a plethora of symptoms, ranging from redness and inflammation, tightness of the skin, dryness and flakiness, irritation bumps, rashes, breakouts, and a stinging sensation. With the rise in popularity of at-home chemical exfoliation, it’s easier than ever before to take it a step too far. Everyone is trying out TikTok-famous products like The Ordinary’s AHA 30% and BHA 2% Peeling Solution without an understanding of how strong it really is. Chemical exfoliation is all the rage now, due to its ability to clear up acne, even out the skin tone, and give you a glowy look. But none of these things will happen if you don't exfoliate properly!
Being able to identify when you’ve over-exfoliated is the first step in healing your skin and getting the results that you’re looking for. First, we need to discern the difference between chemical over-exfoliation and physical over-exfoliation. 
Physical
Physical exfoliation is classified as using a form of abrasion to remove spent skin cells. Think spin brushes, scrubs, dermaplaning, peel-off masks, and washcloths. Physical exfoliation involves the user to exert some manipulation to the skin in order to remove dead skin. Physical over-exfoliation will likely give you raw-feeling skin with a rough texture. It will feel dry, and extra sensitive.
Chemical
Chemical exfoliation works on a deeper level than physical. Acids, enzymes, peels, and retinols cause skin cells to renew at a faster rate, which if used too often, can make your skin thin and susceptible to sun damage or other side effects. Chemical over-exfoliation can feel and look like a burn. Your skin will be red, feel raw and sensitive, and will likely be dry, flaky, and rough in texture (some people refer to this as "orange peel skin"). You may notice that the side effects of chemical over-exfoliation seem to linger longer than physical.

Some ways over-exfoliation can present itself.

HOW TO AVOID
Here are some key rules on how to reduce the likelihood of over-exfoliating. It's crucial to keep an eye out for the signs so you can resolve them faster.
LIMIT USE
Any form of exfoliation is best when only used 1-2x per week. Using it more frequently puts you at a higher risk of aggravation. Especially when starting a new exfoliant, patch test (apply a small amount to your inner wrist and wait 24 hrs to see if you have a negative reaction), and only use 1x per week MAX. Once your skin gets accustomed to the product, you can increase usage. Just remember, even if your skin seems to like your exfoliant initially, if you start using it too often you can still experience negative side effects. 
KEEP THE REST OF YOUR ROUTINE SIMPLE
Any product that works deep within the skin should be used carefully. Say you introduce a chemical exfoliant like a glycolic acid serum. That should be the ONLY exfoliant that you are introducing at that time. (Although it is possible to successfully use different forms of exfoliation in one routine if introduced cautiously and over time.) Keep the rest of your routine simple with a basic hydrating cleanser, a rich moisturizer, and a sunscreen every day. 
BE GENTLE
If you opt for a physical exfoliation like a scrub (I promise they aren’t the devil, unlike what most people will tell you), be careful with the amount of pressure you’re using. Scrubs like St. Ives Apricot Scrub are inherently more dangerous, mostly because of the irregular shape of the granules. On top of that, people like to massage it vigorously into their skin thinking they will see results faster. STOP. Even the best scrub with well-shaped granules and healthy ingredients can over-exfoliate if used too aggressively.
*Pro Tip: Let the scrub do the work for you- use very, very light pressure and massage in upward circular motions. The same thing goes for spin brushes, washcloths, and other tools. Use them gently, they will still get the job done without excessive pressure!
*Pro Tip: Don't incorporate a scrub into your routine if you're trying to treat acne. The two don't play well together.
HOW TO TREAT
If you do happen to experience over-exfoliation, you’ll know it. Your skin will feel uncomfortable, and even a gentle moisturizer can sting your skin. Don't fret, with the right methods of action, your skin will go back to normal very quickly.
ALOE VERA
We talked about aloe vera in my sunburn post, and it can help with over-exfoliation in the same ways. Because aloe is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, you can count on it for soothing irritation caused by over-exfoliation. Its cool temperature and moisturizing properties will keep your skin hydrated and help repair your skin’s barrier. A side effect of over-exfoliation can be excess oiliness to the skin (your skin’s attempt to rehydrate itself after being stripped of healthy oils) so moisturizing more may seem counterproductive. But a rich moisturizer or ingredient like aloe will balance your oil levels and allow your skin to begin its healing process. 
*Pro-Tip: Keep aloe vera or your favorite soothing product in your arsenal at all times. You never know when you're going to have a reaction. Keeping it on hand will prevent you from having to run out with a red face to pick something up!
SPF
Sunscreen is key for protecting your skin when all is well. When your skin is over-exfoliated, it is overexposed and vulnerable to sun damage more than ever. Sunscreen is an absolute must if you suspect you’ve overdone it. Without it, you are more likely to get a sunburn, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring. You will NOT want to deal with those things after your over-exfoliation symptoms clear!
DON’T PANIC
Over-exfoliation has happened to the best of us. I made the mistake of thinking my skin was ready for Retin-A AND glycolic acid. I was very wrong! I broke out in an itchy rash, accompanied by redness and whiteheads galore. I followed some of the steps above, and my skin was back to normal in no time. Try to remember that the way your skin reacts to over-exfoliating will go away in time. You may be tempted to double up on acne treatments if you experience new breakouts from over-exfoliating. This will set you up for disaster! In school, I was taught that breakouts caused by over-exfoliating need to be killed with kindness. 

My reaction from mixing glycolic acid and Retin-A resolved itself a week after going back to basics.

*Pro-Tip: Don’t let temptation win! Avoid using spot treatments (like salicylic acid or tea tree oil) on breakouts caused by over-exfoliation. Instead, keep your face hydrated and don’t attempt to pop them. Trust that they will go away on their own.
*Pro Tip: If you experience a rash or hives from over-exfoliation, an antihistamine like Benadryl can help. You can also press a cool washcloth on your face to soothe the inflammation and itchiness. Try not to scratch your skin!
OTHER TIPS
Things like only cleansing with tepid water, swapping a foaming cleanser for a cream cleanser, skipping a cleanse in the morning, gently patting your face dry with a soft washcloth, sticking to the basics, and drinking extra water can all help propel the healing process! Baby your skin, because it’s in a very vulnerable state.
Final Thoughts
Over-exfoliating is a really easy thing to do. It kind of creeps up on you, then you wake up with red, angry skin. Remember to always start slow with exfoliants, and give your skin the time it needs to adjust. If you do happen to experience over-exfoliation, you don't need to ban your new product. It may become one of your holy grails. Just cease use until your symptoms clear, and try again-this time MUCH slower. You’ll be seeing the results you want before you know it. Results take time, and you don’t want to backtrack by being overzealous!
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To shave, or not to shave?
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NEW BEAUTY YOU NEED✨
NEW BEAUTY YOU NEED✨
I know so many people haven’t had the chance to really dress up during covid and wear any makeup at all even with all the releases😭 Sometimes there are so many releases that it gets hard to keep track of everything and to really know where to spend your money so I’m here to tell you, this is where you really should 💸 Ived followed Vesca Beauty on IG since another influencer mentioned the bronzer like they originally released and the inclusivity with the shades really was the hype! Not only that but the inclusion and the quality of the products were amazing too so it’s a win win!🥳 After getting my hands on the two launches they had, I knew I needed more so I went out and bought their new highlighters and their latest release with their lip oils! 👏🏽 so here are some initial thoughts When it came to the lip oils, I really didn’t think much, I thought they maybe too slippery but that brown shade was calllllling my name and I knew I needed it and honestly it looked so beautiful on their model, I decided to go for it! ✊🏽 and I have to say, this is my new GO TO lip product! I’ve been obsessed with the fenty gloss bombs for years now but this has kind of replaced it for the time being VESCA - Lush Glow Creamy Lip Oil they are legging luscious like the name and super moisturizing and hydrating and pack a punch with colour but you can wear it sheer as well! I mean they are so soft and velvety without feeling like their is a ton of product on the lips! I’m thoroughly surprised As for the their highlighters, I really like the shade but just haven’t been able to play with them as much but they do have a a very buttery formula when using your fingers so as a eyeshadow, this will be gorgeous VESCA - Stargaze Luminous Glow I didn’t expect anything less from such an amazing brand and the size of these are just right as well! Not too big yet not tiny either cause really, who actually finishes an entire highlighter?🤭😉 #cheriepartner
💁🏻‍♀️My Go-To “Extra” Makeup Look 💁🏻‍♀️
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My Favorite Falsies! 👑 ✨ 💖
My Favorite Falsies! 👑 ✨ 💖
I am OBSESSED with falsies! This is going to sound extra, but I honestly feel like a different woman when I put them on. They complete a makeup look and can make it go from 0-100. They are an essential part of opening your eyes and enhancing the best features of your eyes. You can go for natural ones, dramatic, attention grabbing and whatever mood you’re feeling! In fact, I love them so much that I actually used to invest in lash extensions. I have been using falsies since I was in high school so I have experienced good falsies and bad ones too. I have almond shaped eyes and I understand that it could be overwhelming to find the right falsies for your eye shape...this is one of the reasons why I LOVE House of Lashes. They have an eye shape guide and recommend which lash styles are best for you. My top three favorite lashes from this brand are: Au Naturale, Bouidoir Lite and Demure Lite. 1) Au Naturale I go for these often. They are wearable for any occasion. This gives a “your lash but better guide”. I also use this when I create a dramatic look, but don’t want to over power it with lashes. 2) Boudoir Lite This has a dense center. They are dramatic, but soft enough. I go for these when I go out 3) Demure Lite These are also soft and more on the natural side with an oomph. This helps open my eyes and emphasize any eye look. House of lashes are a bit on the mid range price. However, ELF and Ardell are also my fav falsies that are on the affordable side. My favorite “your lashes, but better” falsies is the Ardell Wispies. These look sooo natural! I use it as an alternative to my Au Naturale. Another falsies that I always grab for especially if I want the attention stealing is the ELF Social Butterfly. These are faux mink lashes and did I mention they are $3?! Ardell and ELF are very affordable, but HOL falsies are much easier to apply so if you’re a beginner, I would suggest you invest in HOL. It’s worth it! Lashes can be reused 15+ times depending on how you care for them. Here are my quick step by step for falsies: 1) Measure the lashes to your eyes and cut to your desired length. Most falsies are large so always measure it to your eye first. 2) For easier application, grab one of those lash glues with wand. Apply extra glue on the corners of the lashes because these tend to come off easily 3) Wait 30 seconds for the glue to become tacky then grab your tweezers to apply falsies closest to your lash line. 4) Hold it until it is fully glued to your natural lashes 5) This step is optional, but apply mascara to diffuse your falsies to your natural lashes. This will give you a natural result 6) Apply eyeliner or use a dark eyeshadow to hide the lash band. 7) Voila! Then enjoy! It took me a while to get this down. I’ve been applying eyelashes for more than 10 years and even to this day, I’m still not the best at it. Just keep practicing! What is your favorite falsies? Xoxo, Francesca 💋 #CheriePartner