What Happens if You Exfoliate Too Much


Exfoliation is a good practice for the skin. It makes our skin clean and fresh from dead skin cells and stubborn dirt. But, it is also true that excess of anything is bad.

Do you know what would happen if your exfoliation turns wrong? It will bring disaster to your skin instead of the betterment.

It happens when you exfoliate aggressively or too frequently. Today I will tell what happens if you exfoliate too much and how to recover from it.

How Over Exfoliation Happens

Firstly, over-exfoliation occurs when you didn’t get a satisfactory result from regular exfoliation. And once a sudden you decided to remove all the residue from your skin whatever it takes. And this unplanned exfoliation brings disaster to your skin.

One type of over-exfoliation gives you quick damages like inflammation, redness, rashes, etc. It happens because you rubbed your skin aggressively.

Another type doesn’t give you any notice, just slowly damages your skin. It happens when you exfoliate every day but not the gentle way that your skin deserves.   

Remember, both types are dangerous for your skin.

The second reason of over exfoliation is the use of cheap and harsh exfoliators. It could be loofah, shower pouf, exfoliating brush, scrub, etc.

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. You should spend some bucks to give it special care. Buy exfoliating tools from a renowned brand that cares about your skin as well as exfoliate properly.

If you use a cheap exfoliator, it will give you uneven exfoliation and damage skin.

Side Effects of Over Exfoliation

There are several side effects of over exfoliation from acute to chronic. You should know them well to treat as early as possible. Some of them are easily curable and some need special care. Let’s see in detail.

Inflammation and Swelling

When your skin gets damaged, it tells you through inflammation. It is the response of the body’s immune system to repair the damage. Over exfoliation buffs away the skin layer that should not be removed. Even it could create nicks and cuts responsible for long-term skin damage.

One of the major signs of inflamed skin is swelling. It happens when the inflammation is severe. Swelling can appear if your skin is super sensitive.


Redness is common in exfoliation. After every exfoliation, your skin color may change to reddish or pinkish shade. It is not a problem anymore. It is a quite natural response of skin to exfoliation. Your skin will turn to normal after a moment, 10-20 minutes max.

But, the problem arises if your skin redness lasts for hours. That means you have done over exfoliation to your skin. If the situation gets worsen with time, consult with a dermatologist.

Extreme Dry and Flaky Skin

Over exfoliation breaks the natural barrier of the skin. It not only removes the dirt but also washes away skin oil that is essential for skin health. Over exfoliation exposes immature skin cells to the outer environment. And these skin cells lose moisture due to damage to the skin’s protective barrier.

Finally, you will get extremely dry, flaky, and lifeless skin that makes you look dull. If you neglect it, you could experience several skin problems caused by skin dryness.

Feeling of Tightness

It is a co-problem of skin dryness caused by over-exfoliation. After over-exfoliation, your damaged skin layer starts losing moisture and leads to dryness. This dryness gives a tight feeling that you experienced naturally in the winter.

If you feel tight after exfoliation, surely you do it in a wrong way.

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Excessive Oil Production

Besides making skin dry, over-exfoliation also makes your skin overly shiny through excess oil production.

I already said, over exfoliation makes skin dry which isn’t a good experience for your skin. Naturally, skin tries to escape from this situation.

Skin produces excess oils to recover from the dryness which makes you look oily, kind of plasticky appearance.


Exfoliation prevents acne and over exfoliation exacerbates acne. Sounds crazy?

One of the main reasons behind acne is the blockage of skin pores by dirt and dead skin cells. The skin oil (sebum) cannot get to the surface, and thus the acne forms. Exfoliation removes the impurities and frees the skin pores to prevent acne formation.

On the other hand, over exfoliation makes your skin extremely dry. To recover this skin produces an excess amount of oil which triggers the breakout. If your skin is acne prone or has existing acne, over exfoliation will do huge damage to it.

Increased Sensitivity to Other Products

We use various products to care for our skin. They are made to use on the damage-free skin. But our skin cannot tolerate them if we use on overly exfoliated skin.

Over exfoliation damaged our skin and exposed those layers which should remain under the protective barrier. Without this barrier, skin shows sensitivity to almost everything.

If your regular skincare products create sensitivity after exfoliation, maybe you have exfoliated your skin aggressively.

Develops Aging Signs

One of the major reasons behind premature aging is over exfoliation. It brings many problems like inflammation, dryness, skin damage, etc. Moreover, it makes your skin thinner than usual.

Together all these make your skin weaker and develop aging signs. Major aging signs caused by over exfoliation are wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin.

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Slows Down Cellular Turnover

Exfoliation promotes cellular regeneration by removing dead skin shedding from the topmost layer of the skin. But over exfoliation do the opposite things.

Over exfoliation creates various types of skin damages. And if your skin goes through repetitive damage, it slows down the cellular regeneration process. And finally, it leads to premature aging.

What to do to Recover Over Exfoliation Skin Damage

First of all, stop doing exfoliation right now. Stop using foaming cleansers, retinol products, and chemical or physical exfoliators. Let your skin get healed by itself.

You should follow some procedures based on the symptoms you have. If your skin shows a burning sensation, give it a cold compress with an ice bag. It will give you quick relief from burning sensation or itching. Natural and raw aloe vera gel also works well on inflamed skin.

If your skin is severely damaged, you may use some medicated ointment and cream. Buy an OTC cream or ointment and apply it to the inflamed area. But, in extreme conditions, it is better to take suggestions from a dermatologist.

Time to Start Exfoliation Again

The cellular lifecycle of skin cells is 2-3 weeks. So, your skin would take maximum a month for a complete recovery.

If your skin damage isn’t so severe, you could start exfoliating after a week. But, use a soft exfoliator and rub on your skin very gently. Keep the frequency once a week for a month then return to your regular exfoliation routine. And never repeat the mistake you did before.

The Last Words

Skin is the outermost covering of our body. It stands first against all environmental odds like dirt, dust, pollutant, and various types of sun rays. So, we should take care of the skin to keep it healthy and strong.

And we should be very careful so that our unbalanced skincare routine cannot damage the precious skin.

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