Confused About How Much to Exfoliate?

Many women’s magazines seem to imply that the more exfoliation the better, so here’s how to figure it out.  For your face, if you have oily, usually less sensitive skin (often acne prone), you can exfoliate 3-4 times a week with a gentle exfoliant.  If you have very sensitive skin, once a week may be plenty.  If your skin is in between oily and acne prone on one hand and very sensitive on the other hand, then exfoliate in between these two numbers.  

More is not always better because too much irritates the skin (sometimes subtly), which causes inflammation, redness, and in extreme cases eczema.  Too much also thins the outer dead layer (stratum corneum) too much which makes you more sun sensitive – something you don’t want, especially in the summer.  Be sure you are exfoliating with something gentle.  This shouldn’t hurt or feel like rock salt on your face!   If you exfoliate regularly, be sure to use a daily sunscreen.  

Dr. Irwin

See Dr. Irwin’s recommendation for a gentle facial exfoliant.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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