Whether you use physical or chemical exfoliators, exfoliating is great for removing dead skin and opening up your pores, allowing your skincare products to penetrate deeper and work better. However, there is a downside. One of the most common mistakes people make when exfoliating is doing it too much. Over-exfoliating your skin can lead to a lot of damage, but it isn’t always obvious that your exfoliator is the problem. That’s why this article will show you how to tell if you’re over-exfoliating your skin.

Increased Acne and Oil Production

If you’re over-exfoliating, you’re stripping your skin of its natural oils, reducing the strength of the barrier that protects and hydrates your skin. To compensate, your skin will produce more oil in an attempt to repair the damage. In addition, because your skin’s natural barrier is broken down, your skin is much more susceptible to bacteria. Not only can this lead to more breakouts, but you could be spreading bacteria onto the rest of your skin.

Dry, Red, or Flakey Skin

While you do want to get rid of dead skin cells, you don’t want to get rid of all of them as this wall of cells and lipids helps retain moisture. And although a little redness is normal after exfoliating, persistent redness is a sign that you’re exfoliating too much. In addition, because your barrier is weaker, your skin will be more exposed to UV rays, dirt, and toxins. Without this natural hydration protecting your skin, you’ll start to notice dry, flakey, and peeling skin.

Unnatural Tight Sheen

While you may think that shiny skin is a sign that your skin is healthy, if it’s accompanied by a feeling of tightness, this means that your skin is too dry. You can tell if your skin is too dry if it almost looks like there is a thin layer of plastic wrap on top of it. When you touch your skin, you may also notice that it feels too dry or too firm. Again, this is because the wall of dead skin cells has been stripped too thin and is not retaining the oily sebum that keeps your skin plump and smooth.

Knowing how to tell if you’re over-exfoliating is critical if you want to reach your skin care goals and not cause unnecessary damage. If you feel like you’re over-exfoliating, cut back on it for a week, and rehydrate your skin with oils and moisturizers so your skin’s barrier can have time to rebuild.