How often is too often to exfoliate?


Exfoliating skin in any season is imperative. It is important to exfoliate the skin to improve hydration, decrease dryness, unclog pores, and help stabilize oil production. There are many forms of exfoliants that can be beneficial to skin depending on your personal needs and skin type. While exfoliating has many skin benefits, over-exfoliation may cause tears in skin, irritation, and can lead to long term skin damage.  Keep reading to find out if you are exfoliating your skin too often 

Exfoliate Dry Skin 

In the colder months , skin naturally becomes drier. Dead, dry, flaky skin can cause the skin to produce more oil. The excess amount of oil ends up being blocked due to the excess dead skin on the surface, which can cause breakouts. If your skin tends to be on the naturally drier side, excessive exfoliation can cause damage to the skin causing sensitivities and tears in the skin. Skin that is dry, should be exfoliated once a week. If after exfoliating once a week for a period of time without noticeable results, alternate between 1 to 2 times a week not exceeding bi-weekly treatments. 

Exfoliate Oily Skin 

Microdermabrasion Scrub can help for oily skin and dry skin

Oily skin can greatly benefit from exfoliation. Oily skin is often breakout-prone and benefits from facial scrubs helping to regulate the oil the skin produces while preventing excess oil buildup. If you have oily skin, exfoliating up to twice a week can be beneficial for your skin. While exfoliating oily skin can greatly help to balance skin’s oil production, excessive scrubs can cause skin irritation and may lead to breakouts.  

Exfoliant types 

Exfoliants can be categorized into a few different forms. There are physical exfoliants, chemical exfoliants and mechanical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants are granular scrubs that can be applied and buffed on the skin.  Chemical exfoliants work to dissolve dead skin cells and mechanical exfoliants use machines or brushes to remove dead skin.


Physical exfoliation

Physical exfoliants typically shouldn’t exceed 1 to 2 times a week, depending on your skin type.  Our dermatologist recommended Microdermabrasion Scrub infused with Dead Sea Salt is an example of a physical exfoliant. The award-winning Microdermabrasion Scrub is a fine-textured crystal blend that buffs away dullness and smooths the look of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and acne scars for a healthier, more youthful radiance. Detoxifying Dead Sea Salt plus refreshing Citrus Essential Oils help to immediately soften and re-energize skin for a healthy, smooth texture.  

 For more Natural and Organic Skin care please visit our Derma E Exfoliator Collection - Exfoliating Scrubs, Microdermabrasion, Purifying & Anti Acne | DERMA E

Chemical exfoliation 

Not to be confused with chemical or toxic ingredients, while the word chemical can sound scary when used in skin care, the term chemical exfoliants simply refers to the way the dead skin is removed and not the ingredients being actual chemicals. Fruit Enzymes, Citric Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Salicylic Acid can all be used to remove dead skin cells chemically. Chemical exfoliants should not exceed once a week when gentler treatments are done, and monthly up to once a year for more aggressive treatments.

Our Vitamin C Instant Radiance Facial Peel is an example of a non-abrasive or chemical exfoliate. This radiance-boosting, non-abrasive blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids helps to resurface and smooth skin's texture to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The fast-acting Citrus Fruit Peel Puree helps to improve the appearance of discoloration, dark spots and uneven skin tone. 

Non abrasive exfoliator Overnight Peel

Formulated with Vitamin C Stay-C® 50, Glycolic and Lactic acids and Lemon Extract, this powerful peel helps to loosen and lift dead skin cells and impurities to deliver visible results. After just one use, uncover a healthy and rejuvenated radiant glow. Our Overnight Peel is another non-abrasive exfoliate. 


This skin-brightening, non-abrasive blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids exfoliates overnight to help visibly smooth skin, revealing a healthy, youthful appearance.  Alpha Hydroxy Acids help to safely and effectively remove dead surface skin cells, reduce the appearance of pigmentation and diminish the look of age spots, enhancing the complexion with each use. 

Mechanical exfoliation 

Mechanical exfoliation is when a machine or physical object like a dry brush is used to remove dry, dead skin. Microdermabrasion machines and dry brushes or facial brushes are examples of mechanical exfoliation. Dry brushes are typically ok to use throughout the week as the skin on the body can be less sensitive than the face. Most gentle facial brushes are also ok to use more frequently than chemical or physical exfoliants.

Exfoliants with microdermabrasion machines typically are recommended to be done once a month at most and are performed in dermatologist offices or spas. While these treatments can be done once a month, most people only need them every few months to once a year due to the level of abrasion that is used as well as how well skin is removed, it is not necessary to frequently have this service performed. 

Signs of overexfoliation

If you have been over exfoliating your skin, you may experience redness, tears, blotchy or broken skin. Skin will often feel itchy, red or irritated and it may take longer for the redness to dissipate than after a typical scrub. It is possible to also experience acne breakouts, small bumps and soreness as well as inflammation and burning.

To avoid these results, pay attention to how your skin looks and feels after the treatment is complete. While it is common for skin to be slightly red after exfoliation, the redness should dissipate within minutes and there should be no lingering irritation. 

Related Article: How to Get Beautiful Skin with a Microdermabrasion Scrub 



If you experience lingering irritation, redness, bumps, or discomfort long after exfoliating, discontinue use of the product and contact your physician or dermatologist if needed. Always check the instructions on how to use the product before using and if you have sensitive skin, be sure to spot check to insure you are not allergic to the ingredients in the product.

Sometimes certain ingredients don’t pair as well with others and can lead to irritation. If you are using a strong exfoliant in addition to strong moisturizers or serums immediately after, such as acne products, it may be best to use gentler, more soothing products following the use of chemical or physical exfoliants. 

Related Article: Fact or fiction: Physical exfoliants can cause micro tearing