Saturday, 24 January 2015

FAQs - Exfoliating

How do I know if I'm over-exfoliating?

Proper exfoliation leaves the skin refreshed, invigorated, smooth and soft. The aim is a radiant, glowing skin. Not blistered, red, dehydrated and sore skin.

My personal preference is for mild daily exfoliation via aha/bha's as opposed to physical scrubs. I've found them to be more gentle - but if you prefer a scrub, carry on - just look out for the below...

Signs you could be over-doing it include:

  • Tightness
  • Flakiness
  • Uncomfortable stinging
  • Increased sensitivity to your normal products
  • Burning
  • Dehydration (more than the normal day-to-day)
  • Persistent redness
  • Milia (if they are new to you and you never suffered before)
  • Acne outbreak 
  • Increased pigmentation
  • Broken capillaries

  • If you have any of these conditions, have a break from exfoliating and treat the skin as sensitive and dehydrated until balance is restored. Use facial oils overnight and under your moisturiser during the day. Do NOT use a sonic cleansing brush during this period.


    Things to remember:
    • Cleansing brushes like the Clarisonic are exfoliators. Do not use these in conjunction with scrubs or 'beady' cleansers. Don't terrorise your skin. Equally, a flannel/washcloth is an exfoliator. If you wash with a flannel, then use your Clarisonic, then a scrub, then an acid toner, then a retinol overnight product, your skin will in all likelihood, be stripped naked.
    • Try and stick to a maximum of 3 of the above at any one time. For example, a flannel cleanse, acid toner and retinol overnight treatment is more than enough to be getting on with. Equally. a flannel, mild powdered scrub and a retinol should be sufficient. Exfoliation is important, but so is maintaining a healthy acid mantle.
    • You need to treat the face, neck and decollete more delicately than the body.
    • What we take away we need to replenish, make sure you moisturise afterwards, whether it's body or face.
    • If you have been overdoing it, please stay away from face wipes (more than usual) until the skin has had a chance to repair itself. Dragging and pulling on the face with most types of wipes will only exacerbate the problem.
    • If you have the symptoms of over-exfoliation, SPF is your priority. Your skin is compromised and in essence, has lost its security blanket. Protect it.   


    37 comments:

    1. Tanx a mill Caroline..nite nite!!

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    2. Great post Caroline, as always! I absolutely love your blog and can honestly say, I am obsessed with Skincare...thanks to you :)
      Could you please recommend a Skincare brand that I could use as a recently qualified facial therapist? One that doesn't contain parabens and mineral oils. Obvs :) x

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    3. Can I use Liquid Gold once a week and Dermalogica gentle cream exfoliant once at the same week? And what about using Clarins exfoliating toner every other day in the following week? Alternating both...

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      1. I know I'm not Caroline Hirons but yes you can.

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    4. Hi Caroline. Thank you for this post. I have developed rosacea on my cheeks in the last 4 months and am finding it very tricky to exfoliate as my skin is so reactive now. What would you recommend in terms of exfoliating, if anything at all. Should I just wait till my skin is back to normal? (I'm hoping it will be back to normal). It would be great if you could do a blog post on rosacea and what products are helpful for this condition.

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      1. Hi! Exfoliating with BHA might even improve your rosacea as salycic acid is anti-inflammatory. I now quite a number of people who've had good results. The only companies I know that do BHA-exfoliants without irritants like fragrance or alcohol are Clinique and and Paula's Choice. Clinique's MILD clarifying lotion is a very mild solution with BHA. But you don't want any of their lotions with a number as they're all full of alcohol. Paula offers a range of BHA-Exfoliants so you can start with a sample of a mild one. She has some products with loads of silicone but they're all free of fragrance, alcohol and other irritants. Now they even have very hydrating moisturizers which they didn't use to have. I like Moisture Boost a lot which along with BHA Clear Extra Strength has improved my redness considerably. It contains Niacinamide and other great ingredients. But I resent their policy of increasing their prices every year and masking it with a 20% offer. But their stuff works..

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    5. should you only exfoliate a few times a week?

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    6. To the point and so informative - that's why you're the best Caroline!

      X Alice

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    7. Great post Caroline, I love learning a little more about skincare (particularly careful about it to!) x

      www.sheintheknow.co.uk

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    8. Once again, your posts prove invaluable!
      sirensandbells.co.uk x

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    9. Thank you, your post arrived at the right moment. Watching and following skincare blogs etc has increased my consumerism so trying all these products that I've bought lead me to various symptoms of over exfoliation on your list! I will try to use them properly since I don't have particular problems but with all these products now I have.
      I am another one who loves your blog and your way of expressing!!!

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    10. Hi Caroline, I think you've helped me finally find the name of my one stand alone milum!! I've been wondering what it is for ages - I've had it a while, just one.
      Any way you'd recommend to get rid of it at home - do I just Lance it??

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    11. I recently experimented with lots of acids and retinoids and the results were horrendous. I had bad breakouts all over my cheeks when before I had clear 22yo skin (typical beauty addict; you always think your skin can look better!). Anyway, cut it back to PTR max complexion pads and keeping everything else gentle and my skin is slowly crawling back to normal. So yeah, don't over-exfoliate man! It's a mother freaking hard journey.

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    12. Is milia due to over exfoliating, a kind of compensation by the over irritated skin or due to the rich creams you put over that are too rich?

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    13. Scrap my last comment - just found your cheat sheet on the topic!!

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    14. Great post - as always. Question. CDLM Treatment lotion OR Tata Harper Hydrating Floral essence? Please test CDLM Illuminating Eye gel. Really, really need something to de-puff under eyes but can't afford to make expensive mistakes. Thank you.

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    15. I have oily, acne-prone skin and at the moment it seems to be going through a highly attractive stage of active breakouts, painful under the skin spots and milia. I religiously use the Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oil (taken off with a washcloth) and an exfoliating toner, I started off with the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner and have now switched to the Pixi Glow Tonic based on your glowing (ha) reviews but nothing seems to make a difference to my skin!

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      1. Check out the Bravura skincare range - I think it's mainly available online. It's made a huuuuuge difference to my acne prone skin and the products are a dream to use. I really rate the salicylic acid cleanser and the glycolic acid night cream. They also do a salicylic acid peel (not as scary as it sounds - more of a liquid face mask) which pretty much cleared everything up in a couple of weeks. Honestly, no other range has done so much for skin and I've been trying to sort it for 20yrs! The prices are incredibly reasonable as well. I'm honestly not connected to the company in any way, I'm just incredibly impressed with the products lol

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      2. Me too - I bought the salicylic acid peel and so far I'm SO impressed. I bought the lactic acid peel with rose too, but haven't tried that yet. I'll definitely be buying loads more from Bravura as it's done more for my skin than any other salicylic acid product I've ever tried, and I'm very keen to see what else they come up with!

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      3. Thank you both so much, I'll definitely give this brand a try!

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    16. Brill post as I was wondering this exact thing recently. Thanks to your wonderful blog I now use quite a lot of acid based products and they have completely changed my skin for the better - I love love love the Bravura range I first saw on your acid toners video - but I was worried I might be overdoing it. Fortunately my skin seems quite happy to take the products I'm using but I will be very careful not to use too many and "listen" to my skin when deciding which products to use each day.
      You are such a font of all skincare wisdom!

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    17. I have never used Retinol...I would not know where to start...? I do not even know if I need it...? How do I know if I need it?
      Do you have a starting off Retinol fact sheet somewhere, I could not find one in your blog?

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    18. Oh my God Caroline THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH. I had an outbreak of milia on both cheeks for the first time ever and have been trialling all my products to work out which is the culprit. Over exfoliation makes so much sense!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess now I have to go get them removed :-S

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    19. This is a really helpful post considering I have dry skin and tend to over exfoliate for a silky smooth complexion. Thank you !! X
      catchingroses.blogspot.co.uk

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    20. Thanks for this short and sweet post. Always good to be armed with information. Can I just ask what's ment by thining of the skin? I've heard it mentioned alongside over exfoliation before. Really a thing or absolute baloney?

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    21. I've got the redness, tighness, burning and breakouts. You've just answered what i've been asking to myself...
      how can I properly remediate this?
      Thank you!!

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    22. Thanks Caroline, my comment in the FAQ section was more of a clinic question, but this is exactly what I needed to know - will stand down on the exfoliation until skin returns to normal.

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    23. I love this series! I've been following the blog for roughly one year, and the FAQs and cheat sheets are great!
      FYI: AHAs and BHAs. it is plural, not possessive. And I'm not being snarky.

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    24. This is really helpful, I think over-exfoliation may have been to blame for my most recent acne outbreak. Thank you!
      Daxidream x

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    25. I just want to say thanks so much for writing this FAQ! this is such a common question in my mind, and I think you wrote it so well and gave great advice about how to use exfoliators.
      Thank you so so much!!! I appreciate you so much :)

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    26. Surely the milia coming to the surface is a good thing? I have deep milia and exfoliating is the only way to get them to sit 'proud' so I can weedle them out.

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    27. Hi Caroline. Thanks for this - I'm having a milia nightmare on my face at the moment, which I suspected was related to over exfoliating, but everything on the web said that exfoliation was the cure, not the cause. So happy to know how to fix my mistake. Time to give my skin some tlc!

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    28. Hi, what do you think of lemon juice as one of the ingredients in Bravura Calendula toner? I'd say this is a big NO, but lots of very good reviews about the brand and their toners.

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    29. my skin almost feels 'waxy'; it's shiny because it's so smooth - am i over exfoliating?

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    30. my skin feels 'waxy'; it's become shiny because it's so smooth - am i over exfoliating?

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