Exfoliation, how much is too much?

So for years now, we have been told to exfoliate our skin, to “get rid of dead skin” or to “stop spots appearing” or even “ to look younger”.  But how much is too much? How much should we be exfoliating, if at all? What are the different types of exfoliants?

Read on for our findings on this popular, yet controversial skin subject.


Reasons for and against

Exfoliating is a pretty controversial subject in the world of skincare, people either love it or hate it!

Some of the benefits of using the correct exfoliator as part of a homecare regime are:

*improves skin texture

* reduced flaking and dry patches

* stimulates cell turnover

* deep cleans the skin

* refined pores

The disadvantages:

*Can be abrasive to the skin and cause redness

*Can cause skin sensitivity

*Will spread acne and aggravate it

*Can irritate skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema

*Can overwork the skin with use of other products such as anti-ageing creams or serums



There are 2 main types of ‘at home’ exfoliators, manual and chemical.

Manual exfoliators are the facial scrub washes which usually contain beads or natural abrasive particles within a cream or gel formula. Manual exfoliators are the most popular form for home treatments, though can be quite aggressive on our skin.

Chemical exfoliators take on many forms, for example, acid cleansers such as a glycolic or AHA containing wash. serums or night creams which contain retinoids will also stimulate cell turnover.



So how do you know which type to use, what’s suits your skin and how often to exfoliate at home?

You will need to have an understanding of your skin type, contrary to popular magazine articles there is no such thing as a normal or combination skin type… who knew?!

Instead, there are 3 defined skin types that are;

  • Lipid Dry – minimal oil across the face, the majority of the face is Matt in appearance. Prone to acne scarring, some blackheads and tends to be irritated easily by a change in temperature. Premature ageing around the eye and mouth area. Can also have uneven tone and texture, prone to red blotches. Can also be flaky and uncomfortably dry.

Best type of exfoliant; retinol serum to use at night, start off 2 times per week and work up to build a tolerance. If the skin is flaky and dry an in-salon chemical exfoliant may be prescribed first.


  • Diffused Red – permanent patches of blotchy diffused redness, skin sensitivity and allergies are common amongst this skin type. The chin can be a giveaway for this skin type, if the chin area is red the majority of the time, this would indicate diffused redness skin type. This skin type Mark’s and scars easily and can also become congested.

Best type of exfoliant; a super light enzyme exfoliant used once per week at home. Steer clear of manual scrubs which will only increase redness and aggravate the skin. A skin assessment would be recommended before trialling a new exfoliant.

  • Oily – skin has an all-day sheen, generally thicker in appearance, oiliness will also be present around the ears and between the shoulder blades. Congestion and blackheads are common for this skin type, skin is sallow in colour. The skin on the rest of the body is generally congested, there is no dryness.

Best type of exfoliant; chemical treatment in salon followed by regular once per week gentle manual scrub at home.

It would be wise to have your skin assessed by a skin therapist or even a dermatologist, dependant on your skin concerns, too much exfoliation or use of aggressive exfoliators, can dramatically affect your skin’s ability to repair, turnover and remain balanced.

Skin consultations are free at Flawless and you can book these via our website…

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

Tara xx