The many virtues of exfoliation are everywhere these days, and many people swear by the benefits exfoliation has had for their skin. However, there can be such a thing as overdoing exfoliation. It is indeed possible to have too much of a good thing on your face, and many experts have claimed that over-exfoliation can thin out your skin. But can you actually thin out your skin with exfoliation? Let’s take a look.
Can Exfoliation Thin Out Your Skin?
Skincare experts are obsessed the many benefits of exfoliation.(1) However, this has also resulted in an overuse of exfoliation products that are actually causing more harm than good. This has raised the question of whether exfoliation too much can thin out the skin or not.
The answer is that it is a complicated question. The fact is that the skin is made up of many layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer. This layer is further composed of five separate layers, all of which together work to protect the skin from environmental triggers such as pollution and UV radiation. The epidermis serves as your body’s first line of defense, and it is the protective barrier. To understand if exfoliation thins out your skin, it is necessary to understand the skin cycle.
The skin goes through a natural exfoliation cycle once in every 28-50 days, or depending on our age, this time cycle varies.
Skin cells make up all their way up from the deepest layer of your epidermis to the top or outermost layer. As it does this, the outermost layer of the skin works up to shed the old and dead skin cells and replaces them with fresher and newer ones. This process of natural exfoliation can help rejuvenate the skin, which keeps it looking glowy and bright.
We shed thousands of skin cells on a daily basis, and this is why you do not need to exfoliate as much as you think. In fact, many times, exfoliation does not happen as effectively as you may think. Though, yes, not exfoliation regularly can cause clogged pores and acne. When this happens, mechanical or chemical exfoliation comes into play, and they can help speed up your body’s natural cycle and also prevent the dead skin cells from getting stuck on your skin.
When you exfoliate, you are shedding the outermost layer of your skin and causing a thinning of the skin, but only temporarily.(2)
Exfoliation can definitely remove the outer skin layer, but in the long term, exfoliation will not thin out your skin.(3)
What Can Thin Out Your Skin?
While exfoliation cannot thin out your skin, unfortunately, the natural process of aging can cause your skin to thin out on its own. This can happen as a result of a loss of collagen and subcutaneous fat. The fatty tissue is what keeps your face looking youthful and plump, but as the skin starts to thin out and collagen decreases, it has a deflating effect on your skin. This causes the skin to sag, and the loss of collagen helps boost this effect further.
Exfoliating does not cause your skin to thin out, but over-exfoliating can sometimes make your skin appear thinner. This is also because of the constant shedding of skin that keeps happening on a daily basis. Allow your skin the time it needs to recuperate post a session of exfoliation and take breaks in between each exfoliation session.
Also, ensure to coat your skin with a thick layer of moisturizer after exfoliating to help protect and even restore the skin’s protective barrier.
- Guay, G.G. and Wilson, D.E., Procter and Gamble Co, 2013. Skin exfoliation devices and kits. U.S. Patent Application 13/860,032.
- Sherman, F.F. and Gartstein, V., Corium International, 2006. Microstructures and method for treating and conditioning skin which cause less irritation during exfoliation. U.S. Patent 7,131,987.
- Grajqevci-Kotori, M. and Kocinaj, A., 2015. Exfoliative skin-peeling, benefits from this procedure and our experience. Medical Archives, 69(6), p.414.