FAQ: Is it possible to over-exfoliate your skin? (And how often should I be doing it anyway?)

FAQ: Is it possible to over-exfoliate your skin? (And how often should I be doing it anyway?)

Q: I have an oily skin type and I exfoliate my skin every day, but I recently read that over-exfoliating could be making things even worse and resulting in even more breakouts. Is this true? 

A: “Exfoliation is probably the most over- and under-used step in most people’s skincare regimes,” explains Optiphi’s Training Specialist, Stephanie-Anne Dickenson. “Some people forget this crucial step altogether (resulting in a dull, lacklustre complexion thanks to the build-up of dead skin cells), while some over-exfoliate to such an extent that the skin produces more oil as a protective measure.” It is this production of excess sebum that results in even more breakouts, and is why those with oily or combination skin types should take care not to exfoliate too often.

Q: So how often should I be exfoliating? 

A: “It all depends on your skin type,” says Stephanie-Anne. “Those with oily, congested skin types should exfoliate at least 2 to 3 times per week to help prevent clogging of the pores due to a build up of dead skin cells and oil.” Any more than that, and you may cause your skin to produce even more sebum.

Do you have a dry or more mature skin? Stephanie-Anne advises exfoliating your skin at least once or twice per week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Drier skin types are often more prone to sensitivity, so a gentle exfoliator used only once or twice a week is your best bet.

Q: Why should I exfoliate in the first place?

A: Regular exfoliation helps to speed up your skin’s cellular turnover, which not only helps to ensure that you have a glowing complexion, but also ensures that your skin is better able to absorb the active ingredients contained in your skincare products. When exfoliating, light, circular motions are key, and you should avoid scrubbing your skin too hard as this will only lead to sensitivity or the excessive production of oil. Stephanie-Anne recommends incorporating a gentle exfoliating cloth into your skincare routine (we love the optiphi® Muslin Cloth), or sticking to a chemical exfoliator that’s safe to use on all skin types. (A chemical exfoliator contains an array of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids, and it feels smooth on your skin. Grainy exfoliators that contain ‘beads’ are known as physical exfoliators, and these can be too harsh for some skin types and often result in tiny ‘micro-tears’, which can be damaging for your skin).

Over to you: how often do you exfoliate your skin, and do you use a chemical or a physical exfoliator? Leave us a comment below, or head on over to our Instagram account to participate in the poll on our Instastories!


A simple beauty switch to try tonight – sleeping on a silk pillowcase

A simple beauty switch to try tonight – sleeping on a silk pillowcase

Do you ever wake up after a good night’s sleep, only to find that your hair is a mess and you have creases from your pillow imprinted on your face? If this sounds familiar, you may want to look into switching your usual pillow case for a smoother silk or satin pillow slip.

As it turns out, cotton pillow cases tend to suck the moisture out of both your skin and your hair, often resulting in lines and creases on your face, and causing hair breakage at the same time. A silk or satin pillow case, on the other hand, allows your skin and hair to glide across the fabric as you toss and turn, resulting in fewer creases and smoother, frizz-free hair upon waking. Read on for just a handful of the beauty benefits that come from sleeping on a silk (or satin) pillow case…

It reduces facial folds

Thicker fabrics, such as cotton and flannel, not only cause moisture loss, but they also cause friction, so you’re more likely to wake up with lines or creases on your face. Constant and repeated creasing of the skin may lead to an increased number of lines and wrinkles over time, while smoother fabrics (like silk and satin) will result in less creasing and folding of skin, thereby preventing premature ageing.

Less friction also means that there is less inflammation and irritation of the skin over time, which may just mean that you’ll experience fewer broken blood vessels and a more even skin tone with regular use!

A clear complexion

While cotton pillow cases sap all the moisture from your skin, satin or silk allows your pores to breathe, which minimises the risk of breakouts. (Remember to change your pillow slip every 2 or 3 days, as the natural oils and residue from your hair can clog your pores and lead to breakouts and acne).

Smoother, silkier hair

Not only is a satin pillow case a better option for your skin, it’s also fantastic for your hair. The smoothness of silk or satin minimises the friction that would otherwise cause breakage, and it helps to prevent frizz while minimising static.

It’s also been reported that people suffering from alopecia or undergoing chemotherapy have found that their hair is less likely to come out in clumps while sleeping, when they’ve opted for a silk or satin pillow case.

Protects your lashes

Did you know that sleeping on a silk or satin pillow case can help reduce eyelash loss or breakage? This is especially helpful for those with eyelash extensions.

It aids absorbtion

By now, you’ll know that thicker fabrics, like cotton or flannel, absorb the moisture from your skin – and this extends to any serums or moisturisers that you’ve applied to your skin as well. Switching to a silk or satin alternative means that any lotions or potions applied before bed will be better absorbed into your skin.

Do you sleep on a silk or satin pillow slip? Are you likely to make the switch now that you’ve read about all the beauty benefits? We’d love to know your thoughts – leave us a comment below!