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Exfoliation - The do's & don'ts

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin cells and can leave a soft smooth look and feel to your skin but what if you get carried away?

Over exfoliation, harsh damaging products or just a heavy handed approach can actually reduce skins vitality and leave it open to irritation and damage.

Some signs of too much exfoliation can be:


~redness and broken capillaries

~Peeling & flaking

~excessive smoothness & shine

~increased sensitivity

~inflamed breakouts

~patchy areas of dry, irritated skin

~sore or bruised

Is this your skin? Are you showing signs of over-exfoliation? A visit to your skincare salon for analysis would be your best move but that's not always possible, so what next?

The first thing you need to do is to let your skin recover, sun protection is a must and start with gentle, calming cleansing and hydrating moisturisers that are not active on the skin, for example Retinol or salicylic acid ingredients, as these will further irritate the skin.

Once the skin has recovered, begin exfoliating again with a gentle chemical exfoliator for daily use which dissolves only the dead surface skin cells and leaves the skin feeling smooth and bright. A physical exfoliator (one with grains) will be okay if your skin is no longer sensitised but be cautious and ensure you use it only 1-3 times per week depending on your skin type and condition. Chemical exfoliants can be very effective and have no grains that might irritate your skin, also useful if you have breakouts as you are less likely to break the surface skin and spread bacteria from the breakout onto the rest of the skins surface.

Serene Snippet: Our favourite product for gentle exfoliation is Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. Although it's a rice based powder it activates with water into a smooth foaming texture and is gentle enough for daily use as it has colloidal oatmeal and allantoin to soothe. This does not mean you have to use it every day! 2-3 times per week is fine on a dry, sensitised or delicate skin.

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