Did you over-exfoliate? Here's how to treat it

Did you over-exfoliate? Here's how to treat it


Exfoliation is a crucial step in any skincare regimen. However, the majority of you may have overdone it at some point, resulting in overly exfoliated skin. Keeping a balance is crucial because exfoliating too frequently or vigorously can damage your skin.

Whether you choose a microbead scrub or chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, you should be careful only to remove the topmost layer of dead skin cells. But if have gone overboard and over-exfoliated your skin, look no further and learn here about over-exfoliated skin and how it can be treated.


Signs of over-exfoliated skin 

When done correctly, exfoliation won't even be noticeable. Some of the over-exfoliated skin symptoms are-


  • Inflammation or redness on the skin: It is typically the initial symptom of excessive exfoliation. A face that has been overly exfoliated appears red and waxy. Although some may mistake it for a pinkish glow, it actually indicates over-exfoliated skin.

  • Skin that is itchy, burning, or flaking: Burning and peeling are the next signs to appear in the over-exfoliated face that indicate that the skin barrier is probably compromised.

  • Small skin bumps, pus-filled pimples, or tiny pustules: In some people, over-exfoliation skin symptoms may appear in the form of tiny bumps or pus-filled pustules.

  • Heightened sensitivity to other skincare products: Over-exfoliated skin may burn or itch when you apply your usual makeup or other skin care products due to the damage in the skin barrier.

What Leads to Excessive Exfoliation of the skin?

women using a face scrub


Nowadays, many chemical exfoliants are available in the market, including alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, lactic acids and malic acid. They remove the upper dead old skin layer and enhance the skin's natural turnover rate. When you exfoliate after regular intervals, it increases collagen production in the skin which imparts a healthy glow and elasticity to the skin.


However, if you exfoliate your skin more than two times a week, it strips the skin of natural oils and disturbs its pH. Applying too much glycolic acid or keeping it for longer than the recommended time can actually burn your skin. If you are using a scrub that has big beads and using it vigorously, it can scratch your skin and can cause significant harm to your skin. Excessive exfoliation can also lead to broken capillaries and minor skin tears that can act as portals for other skin infections.

Overall, excessive exfoliation weakens the skin's protective layer, causing damage and early skin ageing.

How often you should exfoliate?

Be cautious if you have dry or sensitive skin. Harsh products may irritate, causing additional dryness or sensitivity. You should avoid physical exfoliants as they tend to be abrasive and harsh on the skin further aggravating the dryness and sensitivity. Try to incorporate a skin exfoliant that has moisturizing properties. 

If you have oily skin, you can exfoliate two to three times a week to clean the clogged pores. Using exfoliants like Salicylic acid can help you as it also prevents breakouts. 

Treatment of over-exfoliation

If you have over-exfoliated your face, you should first re-evaluate your skincare regime. Giving it a rest for some days can help your skin to calm down and return to its normal texture.

Refrain from touching your face each time you feel itchy as it may trigger more inflammation. Over-exfoliated skin needs time and proper care, which in this case entails not doing much to it, for it to heal on its own.


  • You should first repair damaged skin, then replace the moisture that has been lost, and finally, create new, healthy skin cells. Since many skincare products contain alcohol and fragrance that harm the skin in addition to acids, substitute them with mild pH-balanced cleansers, hydrating creams, SPF, and repair creams that aid in re-building the skin barrier should all be part of your skin regimen. You can consider DermDoc pH rebalance gel cleanser that is formulated with 2% sodium PCA and 2% hydroxyethyl urea to cleanse and protect your skin barrier. Sodium PCA is a great humectant made up of amino acids that can attract moisture to your skin. It also helps in preventing water loss and drying out of your skin cells while safeguarding the vital barrier function.


  • Post-cleansing, you can apply DermDoc 1% Vitamin E Milky Toner that removes the last remnants of dirt and adds an extra boost of hydration to your skin. One of the best products that you can add for over-exfoliation treatment is DermDoc 2% Hyaluronic Acid face serum. This DermDoc product contains the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid available in the market. This works wonders for an over-exfoliated face as it helps in retaining the moisture in the skin and provides firmness and elasticity to your skin. The best part is that it is formulated with a unique formula using two types of hyaluronic acid molecules; Micro hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin from within and macro hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin from outside. On dry skin, this product works beautifully by sealing the moisture in the skin. If you have over-exfoliated your skin, this product must be your go-to option.



Every skin type is unique and needs a different skincare routine. Exfoliation is necessary, but if done more frequently than necessary, it can harm your skin. Use deeply hydrating skincare products to repair the harm and safeguard your skin barrier if you have already committed this error.


DermDoc is a company that adheres to honest science and is completely free of toxins and cruelty. Choose from our reasonably priced, clinically effective skincare line to improve the appearance of your skin.


Frequently Asked Questions

When should you ideally exfoliate?

The best time to exfoliate is at night because it will give your skin plenty of time to heal during the night. Exfoliating shouldn't be done during the day, especially if you plan to go outside, as this could result in sunburn and redness.


How do you know you have over-exfoliated your face?

Over-exfoliated face or skin looks very dry, and dull and may appear red. In severe cases, the skin may peel after a few days accompanied by itching and flakiness. In case you have over-exfoliated your skin, use DermDoc 2% Hyaluronic Acid face serum and DermDoc 2% Hyaluronic Acid face gel or Dermdoc pH Rebalance Face Cream with Hyaluronic Acid regularly to deeply hydrate your skin.


Is sunscreen important after skin exfoliation?

If for some reason you are exfoliating during the day, make sure to apply sunscreen to your exposed skin because this will protect it from sun damage. Use DermDoc UVA/UVB Broad spectrum sun protection gel with SPF 30 & PA+++ or DermDoc UVA/UVB Broad spectrum sun protection gel cream with SPF 50 & PA+++ for protecting your skin from sun damage.

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