Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine
Thanks to my time here at Allure, my shower looks like a clean version of a Hoarders house of horrors. It's jammed with products-especially facial exfoliators. I like nothing more than the feeling of complete clean that I get from Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment, Bliss Pore Perfecting Facial Polish, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (this amazing powder that I swear will change your face in one use), and my Clarisonic Mia. But I can-and probably do-have too much of a good thing, says dermatologist Ranella Hirsch.
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Convincing people that they're exfoliating too much "is one of my great challenges," laughs Hirsch, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. "Over-exfoliating is probably the single most significant cause of breakouts. For some reason, people think exfoliating means 'torture my skin like it has secret government information.'" In particular, Hirsch shakes her finger at skin-care overachievers: "The person who is exfoliating too much is also putting on actives [such as Retin-A and salicylic and glycolic acid], is doing facials, is doing microdermabrasion. Each of those things on their own is good, but when you add every form of treatment together it leads to injury."
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Hirsch insists that for the most part skin knows how to exfoliate itself and says using just one exfoliator should be enough. And instead of having a set routine for how often you use your product, leave it up to your face. In other words, don't exfoliate because it's 7AM-exfoliate because you feel like you need to. "You have to listen to your skin," says Hirsch. "Something that's right at one moment can shift in real time. Just listen and adapt."
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