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Signs You Are Over-Exfoliating Your Skin & What You Should Do To Fix It

Picture this – you finally found an awesome exfoliant that works for your skin and you love it. You use it every day and realize your skin is raw and red. Familiar? Turns out, there is something called as too much of a good thing! Broadly speaking, there are two types of exfoliating methods  – physical and chemical. Physical or mechanical exfoliation is when you use scrubs with micro-particles like walnut shells, sugar, sea salt to physically slough off the dead skin cell accumulation. Chemical exfoliation uses AHAs and BHAs to break down the bonds between dead skin cells so they can shed easily. While immediately your skin might look bright and glowing, it can soon become rough and dry. While exfoliating is the key to glowing skin, doing too much of it can rob you of the very glow you’re looking for. 

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Here are a few signs you are exfoliating too much 

If you’ve been slathering on exfoliating acids like glycolic, lactic or salicylic or going overboard with retinol, then you might be doing your skin more harm than good. So, here are a few signs:


The classic and the easiest sign to spot is irritation. Now, your skin may be red immediately after exfoliating, it should settle down in a few minutes. If it doesn’t, it’s a red flag. You might notice that your skin is sensitive to touch and even notice some red patches that burn or itch. This is a sign that you need to take a break from your current skincare routine as it is way too harsh for yours skin.

Tight, wax-like skin 

Shiny, ‘glowy’ skin can be misinterpreted as a good thing. We all want dewy and luminous skin that has a natural glass like thing going on, but if you notice your skin looking translucent and shiny more than usual, then it’s a warning sign. The shininess is a result of your skin barrier breaking down. Your skin should never feel tight, it should feel soft and supple and elastic. 


Yes, over-exfoliation can cause you to break out. The right amount of exfoliation can help reduce acne, but going overboard might do the exact opposite. Doing so can weaken the skin to the point where it cannot defend itself against bacteria, compromising its first line of defense. If you see more break outs than usual, relook at your exfoliation routine. 

Oily skin 

Going overboard with scrubs or chemical exfoliation can lead to your skin being dehydrated. Your skin sees this as a sign to over-compensate for the dryness by producing more oil. If you notice your skin being oilier than usual, it is a sign. This is why even oily skin types need to moisturize! 

Flakiness and dryness 

Exfoliate Daily

Since over-exfoliation can cause dehydration and dryness, you might notice dry patches or flakiness on your skin. This is why it is important to follow up exfoliation with hydrating and moisturizing skincare products.

How to take care of your skin if you have exfoliated too much

Exfoliate For Glowing Skin

Now that you know what signs to look form you might need to take a few pro-active steps to help your skin recover. 

1) Exfoliate the right way 

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Most skin types do well with exfoliating just 2-3 times a week, maximum. Overdoing it can cause more harm than good – as we explored right now. Use gentle exfoliation – whether you’re using a chemical or physical exfoliant, make sure you don’t rub too hard and doing apply a lot of pressure on your skin. Treat it gently and your skin will thank you for it! If red and raw, skip exfoliating for a few days. Try the hydrating Mama Cica Oil Fix Exfoliating Gel Mask which is loaded with cica, a superb ingredient for compromised skin. It gently detoxifies the skin and leaves you with clear, glowing skin. 

2) Use gentle cleansers

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Your cleanser shouldn’t leave your skin tight and stretchy. If it does, that means that your current cleanser is stripping your skin of its natural oils and moisture. A good cleanser will restore your skin’s pH balance by not stripping it off all the good stuff. An imbalance in your skin’s pH can also cause havoc on how it feels and looks by causing breakouts, dryness or excessive oiliness. Try a gentle cleansing balm that’ll soothe your skin and restore the oil-moisture balance while cleansing the skin effectively. Our favourite is the Mon Cherry Dirt Dissolving Cleansing Balm which contains salicylic acid, moringa oil and pearl extracts to gently unclog pores while restoring lost moisture. 

3) Look for skin barrier-strengthening, soothing ingredients 

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Since your skin barrier is now compromised, look for products that have soothing and hydrating ingredients like cica, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides, adenosine, glycerin, lipids and such. Give your skin the desired hydration, which will help ease redness and itchiness and also reduce the sallow, wax-like look of your skin. Fresh aloe vera also works wonders to calm your skin and cool it down. Try the soothing and hydrating Mama Cica Intense Oil Control Essence that gently rebalances the skin and provides deep hydration to soothe and calm the skin. 

4) Moisturize your skin

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Your skin needs some TLC, STAT! Use a lightweight moisturizer that does not clog your pores, and lets your skin heal. The Mon Cherry Ultra Light Moisturizing Gel is crafted to restore skin’s lost moisture and make it supple, smooth and dewy soft. It contains cherry blossom, grapefruit, niacinamide and moringa oil that nourish the skin from deep within. Apply a moisturizer twice a day to see actual results. 

5) Protect your skin 

If your skin is raw, it is all the more important to protect it from the harmful rays of the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen every time you step out to prevent further damage to your skin’s barrier. 

Now go, restore your skin barrier with some soothing skincare. 

Read more about skin concerns here: 

Dry Skin Vs Dehydrated Skin: Here Is The Difference

Damaged skin barrier? Here’s how to repair it!

How to Treat Oily Skin

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