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How Often Should I Exfoliate?

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While your skin does need to be buffed and refreshed on a regular basis, exfoliating more than necessary may not be the best idea. Here, cosmetic dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, explains why overexfoliating your skin will wreak havoc on your dermis.

Question: "With so many at-home options, is it possible to overexfoliate your skin?"

Answer: Definitely! While exfoliation is necessary to eliminate the dead skin that's dulling your complexion, too much of a good thing will cause it to become red and flaky full-time.

"The upper layer of skin forms a protective barrier against the environment. Removing too many cells can increase moisture loss, sensitivity, dryness, and irritation," says Fredric Brandt, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City and Miami. If you have sensitive or thin skin, you should use a chemical exfoliator like glycolic acid or Retin-A only once a week. If your skin is on the oily side, you can exfoliate up to twice a week with a grainy scrub.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2006.


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