Since exfoliating your skin is so good for you, we rarely think there are any exfoliation mistakes to avoid. The truth is, however, there are a number of ways you might be harming your skin rather than helping it. You don't have to make any big changes but there are some things you should be aware of when you're exfoliating your skin. I was guilty of several of these exfoliation mistakes. Are you?
1. You Exfoliate Too Much
Exfoliating too much is easily one of the biggest exfoliation mistakes, and I think it's something many of us do. If you're using an exfoliation product every time you take a bath or shower, you're seriously overdoing it. You can actually end up doing way more damage. For instance, if you're exfoliating because your skin is dry, you can dry it out more by doing it too often. If you're doing it because your skin is too oily, same thing. Your skin will overcompensate, and when you exfoliate every day, you don't give it a chance to balance. Limit yourself to once, maybe twice a week, and you'll notice that your skin improves, no matter what its current state.
2. Not Moisturizing Afterward
It's so important to take care of your skin after you exfoliate. The best way to do that is to moisturize when you finish. If you don't, you'll seriously irritate your skin, making it look worse than it did before. Choose a moisturizer that works for your skin type and put it on as soon as you get out of the shower. That will help seal in moisture while your pores are still open, and it will soothe any irritation caused by exfoliating.
3. Dry Exfoliation
You should never, ever, ever exfoliate your skin while it's dry. You need water, whether you use a brush, a sponge, or a product. Dry rubs work with the right tools over certain areas of your body, but don't ever do that to your face. Just give it a rinse before your exfoliate, and you'll reduce the risk of painful skin, irritations, and rashes.
You don't need to scrub your skin to death, either. Over-scrubbing will hurt your skin in the long run. Whatever product you use, store bought or DIY, it will still exfoliate your skin if you use it gently. Don't scour your face, or any other part of your body for that matter. You'll see the effects as you get older. Save yourself from that by just using your fingertips, and don't linger on one area for longer than fifteen seconds.
5. Harsh Ingredients
Make sure you pay attention to the ingredients in your exfoliating product, especially if you have sensitive skin, acne prone skin, dry skin, or oily skin. Or normal skin, for that matter. You don't need something with a lot of harsh chemicals, and in fact they will cause damage over time. Stick to natural, soothing ingredients. Just because they're gentle doesn't mean they don't work.
6. Just the Face
Your face isn't the only area that suffers from dead skin cells, dirt, debris, and other problems. You need to exfoliate all over, especially over your neck, chest, knees, and elbows. All of those areas will benefit from exfoliation, but they're no different from your face in that they only need the treatment once or twice a week. You should, however, use different tools and scrubs for each part of your body. Don't use a pumice stone on your face, for instance, and don't use your apricot facial scrub on your elbows.
There are certain times you simply shouldn't exfoliate, and certain things you should avoid after you do. For example, don't exfoliate when you have a bad breakout, or any other irritations on your skin; it will just exacerbate the problems and cause pain. Stay away from any other treatments after you exfoliate as well. If you're going to try a peel, a mask, or a bit of waxing, just wait. Do it later in the week, not right after you exfoliate your skin.
You don't have to stop exfoliating your skin by any means, you just need to make sure you're doing it right. Always moisturize afterward and, above all, make sure you're not overdoing it! How often do you exfoliate? Have you accidentally been making any of these mistakes?