How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin: My Top Tips

How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin With 16 Simple Steps. More tips at

My opinion on exfoliation is pretty clear: we don’t need it even remotely as much as the industry is saying that we do. It’s excessive, expensive, and potentially dangerous. In my eyes, over-exfoliation is an epidemic, and we need to do something about it. When your skin is red, painful, burning, and flaking, it’s very tempting to just run out and buy the next best product that promises to calm it down. Please don’t! I beg you to sit down for 5 minutes and read through my 16 tips on how to heal over-exfoliated skin.

Then, feel free to make your own decisions, but please be gentle!

1. Immediately stop using whatever was over-exfoliating your skin.

Pretty obvious, right? Throw away that Clarisonic brush, that popular scrub, that AHA peel with a cult following or whichever devilish invention you’ve been using on your poor skin. It doesn’t like it. Period. Your skin is pretty low maintenance and is crying for you to stop smothering it with all that attention. Just stop. Seriously.

2. Don’t exfoliate at all until your irritated skin heals.

Taking off all that dead skin and flakes might seem like a great idea, but that dead skin layer is there for a reason. It’s protecting the delicate brand new skin that’s growing underneath. If you take the protective layer off by exfoliating, you’ll just prolong the agony for your skin and might even end up with scarring.

3. Be very gentle with your skincare routine.

Don’t use muslin cloths, washcloths or anything that is remotely exfoliating. I find  that a soft cotton pad is the gentlest thing on my skin when it’s feeling sensitive. Wash your face with cool water and tone with a bit of pure rosewater. If you find that even the cotton pad is too abrasive on your raw skin, simply get a spray bottle and spray it on throughout the day. Rosewater is so soothing, moisturizing, and healing. It’s a perfect gentle cleanser while your skin is healing.

Just make sure you get pure rosewater that is made of distilled rose petals and nothing else. There should be no rose oil, alcohol, preservatives or any other potentially irritating ingredients. I highly recommend this Moroccan rosewater.

4. Be careful putting any creams or liquid makeup on your over-exfoliated skin.

Your skin will be more sensitive to any of your regular products, so be very critical. Especially avoid anything with fragrance and alcohol, but any of your usual products might sting and irritate your irritated skin even more. Stick to natural oils for moisture and resort to mineral makeup if you’re really desperate to cover up. If you’re able to let your skin go makeup free for at least a few days, do it! Your skin will be able to recover so much quicker.

5. Beware of “hidden” exfoliation.

The Oil Cleansing Method also counts as exfoliation, so stay away. Even a gentle massage can be too much for over-exfoliated skin. It really doesn’t need any more stimulation. I know you’re desperate to fix your skin, but just let it rest for now.

6. Put away all those masks for now.

Even simple things like honey aren’t welcome during this delicate time. Some say oatmeal mask is healing, but it’s still slightly exfoliating when you apply it and wash it off, so in my books it’s a no no. Some even say that apple cider vinegar is great for over-exfoliated skin, but I strongly disagree. It’s an acid, and what do acids do? They exfoliate! So don’t fall for the hype.

7. Apply the most healing and nourishing oil you can find.

Shea butter is the most healing oil I have ever seen. it will heal even the driest, scaliest skin, and it will definitely help speed up the healing process. Remember that well-nourished skin will heal without leaving scars, so make sure you feed it well.

8. Take excess oil off if you’re worried about breakouts.

If you’re worried about too much oil clogging your pores, take your favourite oil (mine is pumpkin seed oil) and apply a generous amount on your damp face. Five minutes later, blot off any excess or wipe it off very gently with a soft tissue. Your skin will have taken whatever it needs, but there won’t be excess oil on the surface to cause you troubles.

Tired? Let’s have a little break! Here’s what Mr. Jimmy did while I was trying to take a photo for my blogpost. I think that white fluffy ball of cuteness loves my konjac sponge. 🙂

How To Heal Over-Exfoliated Skin With Mr. Jimmy The Kitten

A smile is priceless, so thanks for that, Mr. Jimmy! Now let’s get back to the serious matters, shall we?

9. Don’t wash your face thoroughly twice a day.

In the mornings, stick to a quick splash with water or a quick wipe with rosewater. Let that acid mantle rebuild itself in peace.

10. Invest in a shower filter if you don’t have one already.

Or simply use bottled spring water. Tap water is full of chlorine and the deposits of hard water can also interfere with the delicate acid mantle. Even now that my skin is comfortable and nourished, it still dries up if I use plain tap water.

11. Nourish your skin from the inside out.

Provide your body with lots of protein and healthy fats – the building blocks of healthy new skin cells. Go for oily fish, pastured eggs, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter (if you can tolerate dairy), and avocado. It might be wise to stay away from well-known inflammatory foods, such as gluten-containing grains (especially wheat), dairy, processed foods, alcohol, and of course sugar. Your skin needs all the help it can get from you. At least for those first 28 days.

12.  Don’t be shy – nourish your skin throughout the day.

If your skin still feels dry, tight, and flaky, apply some oil a few times during the day and blot it off if you need to get rid of the excess shine (if you need to face people, that is). Don’t let your skin hang around feeling thirsty. Make sure you always apply oil on damp skin to seal the moisture.

13. Use aloe vera to cool and soothe your skin.

Use it either straight from the plant or pure aloe vera gel from the store. But test it on a small patch first – some people find that it dries their skin out.

14. Don’t touch your skin.

And don’t pop pimples. I know it’s easier said than done, but please try not to do it if you want to avoid ugly scars. Just get yourself busy doing something else and you won’t even remember about your skin. Read all my tips on how you can stop obsessing over your skin in this blogpost.

15. Exploit the wonderful cooling properties of the humble cucumber.

Put slices of fresh cucumber all over your face or blend it in a food processor if you prefer a purè. It’s so incredibly cooling and calming – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Be very careful when you wash it off. Make sure you don’t irritate your skin by rubbing too much.

16. Stay out of the sun.

Strange to hear it from me, isn’t it? I know, but this is an emergency situation. Your delicate new skin is bare and it isn’t ready to face the world yet, so hide it until it heals. I wouldn’t recommend slathering chemical sunscreens either. Even a mineral based sunscreen might be too much. Just wear a wide hat and try to stay indoors or in the shade during sunny hours as much as you can.

How long will it take for my over-exfoliated skin to heal?

Skin cells regenerate roughly every 28 days, so you should definitely see lots of progress by then if you follow all of the above rules. However, it might take as little as 3-4 days for your skin to start feeling comfortable again. It all depends on how badly you over-exfoliated, how healthy your skin was in the first place, and of course how well you’re nourishing it from within.

Once you start seeing the first results, don’t hurry back to exfoliating. Don’t scrub or apply exfoliating masks for at least 30 days. Let your skin rebuild itself completely. Remember that the brand new skin cells will still be fragile and won’t be ready for harsh treatments.

Once your skin heals completely, treat it with respect. It will repay you back by feeling soft and supple, and of course by looking gorgeous! Your skin is low maintenance (everybody’s skin is like that), so treat it accordingly.

If you’d like to read more about my take on this epidemic of over-exfoliation and signs that you need to stop the torture, read this blogpost:

Why An Epidemic of Over-Exfoliation Might Be Damaging Your Skin

It’s the best-read blogpost on the entire blog, so I assume it’s good. 🙂 It also means that you guys are suffering from over-exfoliation as much as I used to, so I hope this article will be able to help.

Click here to pin it for later.

How To Heel Over-Exfoliated Skin With 16 Simple Steps

Have you ever over-exfoliated your skin? What was the culprit? How did you heal it? Let’s discuss!

Simply yours,

Vita xx

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietician or nutritionist. This is what I have learned observing my own body and researching endlessly. So please take my words as ideas, but research, think carefully, and consult your physician before making any decisions for your own health. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. I only recommend things that I absolutely love myself, and they’ve all been bought with my hard-earned cash.


  1. I had a friend who went to an expensive salon to have an exfoliation done and they literally burned one side of her face with the stuff used. I recommended aloe to her and told her only use cool water, spray with evian and do the aloe. Her face healed no scarring thankfully. Told her there’s other ways to exfoliate. Strawberries and milk is in one of my natural remedies books for a nice exfoliation that I read.

    • Yes, I’ve heard of strawberries, too. Apparently, French women like using them for glowing complexions. Your poor friend! I’ve heard so many horror stores like that, too. It’s crazy how far the industry will go just to earn an extra buck. xx

  2. P.s. just read the Times article, wow, you weren’t just mentioned, YOU WERE MENTIONED! fantastic!

    • Hahaha! Debs you really made me laugh now! Well, I guess I’m somewhere in between “featured” and “mentioned”. 🙂 I couldn’t find the right word. I’m so grateful! xx

  3. Thanks for the tips! My perioral dermatitis has been spreading from the sides of my chin up to my nose, so I’ve stopped doing anything to my face other than rinsing with cool, purified water and using a few drops of EVOO if I feel I need it. I was wondering if you think rosewater and the aloe would be good for healing my dermatitis?

    • Hi Caitlin, I’m sorry for a late reply, but I only just found your comment. I never got notified! Very strange. Just a thought, but have you ever tried using a different oil? Perhaps olive oil is aggravating your skin? Rosewater should be wonderful for dermatitis. I’m not so sure about aloe vera because it seems like a real hit and miss – a lot of people worship it, a lot of people hate it. You would have to try and see how it works for your skin. xx

  4. I’m so happy I found you! I have never had any issues with my skin, except for the past 2 months….It all started after a facial. About a week after, I had a breakout, and thought it was normal, because that’s what people always say! However, this time, the breakout seemed to last longer. So, I started OCM with coconut oil, because I had read a great blog endorsing it, and I LOVE coconut oil for everything else. BIG mistake! Totally clogged my pores. I completely feel like my skin has been over-exfoliated. Now I feel so discouraged, and this is the worst I’ve ever looked and I’m 32. I made up a blend of oils from the Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. But, it’s a 6 week acne protocol, and I think it might be a bit extreme for me. I own every oil under the sun! Can you please give me some guidance as to an good OCM blend? My skin was pretty normal, and occasionally dry. I exercise 5 times a week, eat Paleo 90% of the time, drink enough, sleep enough….Aiuto; per favore!!!!

    • Hi Megan! So glad you found me. 🙂 Facials used to give me breakouts as well. Until I had enough wisdom to stop. Lots of people seem to really struggle with coconut oil. It seems like people either love it to bits or hate it so much. It doesn’t work well for my face either. It does give my skin the sort of over-exfoliated look as well: super dehydrated and red. It might be some kind of a sensitivity. I wouldn’t go for a complicated oil mix because you will never find out which oils work for you. Start from one or two, until you find at least one combination or one oil that definitely works for you. Then, you can start complicating the mixture. The best oils for starting out are those high in linoleic acid, such as pumpkin seed oil, sunflower oil, hempseed oil or safflower oil. Sunflower oil seems to also be very low on the comedogenic ratings, so it’s probably the safest and most neutral bet. My personal favourite is pumpkin seed oil, and I use it alone both to cleanse my face and to moisturise. You can use just one of those oils alone or mix with 15-20% of castor oil. Remember not to overdo it and don’t use hot water or very scrubby washcloths. xx

  5. I decided to use black soap scrub on my face at night in the shower evem though I had just used a brush to remove dry flakes off my face that morning. It was my second time using it. I am obviously never going to use this again. I am writing this in panic as my face is burning and SO red!!! 🙁 Even the air hurts it. I put some of the midnight rwcovert recovery from Kiehls a few hours ago. It has calmed down a tiny bit but my face is still red and it really hurts. HELP!!

    • Hi Sarah! Your poor skin! All you need to do is just leave your skin alone for a while now and make sure you always keep it well moisturized while it heals. The black soap scrub wouldn’t have been bad if you hadn’t used it after the brush. You simply overdid it. Just take this experience as a lesson for the future and a good way to get to know your skin. xx

      • Hi, so I’ve been struggling with Acne/Rosacea since forever and I’ve tried so many things and wasted so much money trying to get rid of it. However, nothing seems to work for very long. It seems as though my skin only temporarily accepts the remedy, then harshly rejects it a few days later. Sometimes it gets so bad that my skin dries out or becomes too oily, which I then go onto another new and different solution. I’ve talked to a doctor, but they weren’t much help either. So one day i was searching for a possible cure on the internet and i saw a testimony by a lady and how she was cured by a doctor with herbal medication. So i also contacted him and thank God today am cured by Dr Ojie herbal medicine. You can contact him and he will guide and protect you on how to use the medicine
        Contact him via

  6. Jodi McCartney says

    Hello Vita,

    I have been following your oil cleansing routine for 4 months and I absolutely love it. I always had oily skin and the thought of cleansing with oil seemed very contradictory. However, after watching your videos I tried it, following your instructions carefully. I have never been happier with my skin and recommend it to everyone! My eighteen year old daughter also followed the routine and loved it at first but for the last month, her skin has had an extreme amount of acne. I don’t blame OCM, necessarily, although it may not be right for her, it could be hormones..I don’t know! What I would like is some advice on where she should go from here. She let her skin rest for 2 weeks and only used a small amount of oil to remove mascara and used rosewater. It is still very broken out. I thought about having her try Aleppo soap and discovered there are many choices and I’m not sure which one is best. Do you have any suggestions on what direction she should take from this point? I greatly appreciate all that I have read and watched from you thus far!

    • Hi Jodi! I’m so happy that the Oil Cleansing Method is working beautifully for you and so sorry that it’s not working so well for your daughter! Are you both using the same oil? It could be that your daughter simply needs a different oil. Which one are you using? I think the Aleppo soap could help a lot if her skin is getting clogs from the excess oils. It also helps remove dead skin cells without any irritation, which is important for young acne-prone skin. My Aleppo soap is 20%, and I would recommend getting 15-20%. More could be irritating, less could be not powerful enough. The brand really doesn’t matter because they’re all pretty much the same. She could try to use the full OCM once a week and use a little bit of oil just to remove the makeup when she needs it. Also make sure she doesn’t use a hot washcloth. Warm is fine. Please let me know how she gets along! xx

      • Jodi McCartney says

        Thank you for your quick response! We both use castor oil and sunflower oil. Her mixture is 15% castor oil and 85% sunflower oil. We will try the Aleppo and see what happens. I’ll let you know so we can all continue to learn.

  7. My skin is badly over exfoliated. I’ve used retinol n hydroquinone for over 20 years and scrubbing vigorously twice daily…I was known at the gym for having red face…well for the past year and half, my face developed rashes…I have seen three different dermatologists and was diagnosed from dermatitis to rosacea and even dust mites. I’ve spent a fortune on prescription meds and they all caused more rashes. I’ve stumble into your blog and the symptoms u described is exactly what Im facing. Right now I have rashes all over n made a mistake by icing it so my whole face inflamed and has red patches. Just ordered rosewater and shea butter but won’t get them til another 10 days. Currently using Body Shop Aloe Vera calming lotion and hydrocortisone mixed clindamycine…it helps the rashes but feels burning for about 10 minutes. Right now it hurts n dry but Im afraid to put anythin on it so far olive oil give more rashes and aloe vera gel is too dry. Im really trying to keep it calm and prevent it from peeling (can’t handle anymore exfoliation) my face is red with red patches on bothe sides of my face. If it doesn’t peel will these thick red patches stay permanently? Or the rosewater n shea butter help the skin to peel slowly?What can I do while waiting for the orders to come and will the red little dark patches disappear after 30 days?Thanks

    • Hi Rose, I know how you feel! I also used to be like that where anything I put on my skin burned and caused rashes. I think what you need to do for now is use the so called caveman regimen on your skin. Use nothing but water and your own hands for rinsing. You can occasionally wipe with a damp soft washcloth as well, but stop if you feel it’s too irritating. While you’re waiting for shea butter, perhaps you can continue using the Body Shop lotion that you’re already using because when your skin is so raw, it’s not the best time to experiment with oils trying to find what works for you. Shea butter is pretty much the only one I would recommend for truly over-exfoliated skin. The dark patches will peel off gradually by themselves after a while. If you keep exfoliating and peeling them prematurely, the skin will never heal and it can cause scarring. Just be patient with it! Good luck! xx

      • Thank you Vita for fast response….I can’t even use spring water….makes my face super dried….luckily I only tried a little around the chin area…..The Body Shop Aloe Calming Lotion Cleanser gives some comfort….I only use it once a day b4 bedtime….try not to aggravate my face any further. I’ve never tried shea butter. Will it make my skin peel?(im so afraid of exfoliation cuz raw skin bleeds n hurts)luckily I don’t work and can stay inside the house while waiting for 30 days for skin to heal. My husband didn’t understand why til he read your blog. Presently, is so supportive doing all the errands, shopping and even cooking. My face can’t take the heat, steam, sun or wind. We r on vacation in Miami…got here on the 19th…took a local cruise the next day and when I got home my face inflamed, swelled and rashes appeared. The swelling n rashes calmed down some but feeling dry. Can’t wait for the Shea Butter to arrive. Hoping it’ll give me some comfort. I’ve been living like this on and off for over a year. Thank you so much for understanding. Im tired of running to the dermatologists who rushed me out of their of office with useless prescriptions. I’ve told all of them about over exfoliation but they all looked at me like I was crazy. I’ve never exfoliated my forehead or put make up on it cuz of having bangs so my forehead is fine and normal….not even acne……I think I brought all theses problems among myself and for listening to people and doctors….just think if I’ve never started using make up, I wouldn’t have acne and hyperpigmentation…I hope my experience could also help someone else not to make the same mistakes the I did. Thanks again for listening.

        • That’s true, I also couldn’t tolerate water for a long time. It was drying my face out badly. What I did then was just wipe with a cotton pad soaked with rosewater, and not even every day. I think it’s best to not even touch your skin for a while apart from applying some oil or moisturizer. Your skin needs to rebuild the acid mantle and even water can interfere with it. So sorry you’re struggling during your holiday! But at least your husband is taking you seriously. What a wonderful man you have! I also think that it would have been best if I’d never started using products and started going for facials (which messed up my skin), but then I remember that it’s what started me on my journey of self-love and self-discovery. Remember that it’s probably just because it is a lesson you need to learn. You just need to find out what it is and you will! Good luck! I’m here if you need support or advice. xx

          • This whole story is exactly like me right now. My very kind partner whisked me off to italy and I panickes about my acne ridden skin and not being able to take much with me in hand luggage. I went over board with benzoyl peroxide and sacycilic acid and now my skin looks thinned, shiny and whats worse is there is now more acne than ever. I don’t really know what to do.

          • Try to follow all the steps I talked about. Your skin really needs some gentle love and care right now. Don’t torture it with chemicals and acids when it’s already irritated and thinned out. xx

    • Hello. Because of i wanna remove my acne scar i tried the product that contain salicylic acid and i put it every night. Boom i suffer from too much dryness and it hurts also very red. Now im putting shea butter from nature republic (korean brand) thats all i put and i put 3x a day because its so dry. It works so i hope you try it too.

    • this etsy shop with all organic products is pure magic! Plus the woman who runs it will answer your questions and give you recommendations if you ask about what you are looking for (she has several creams, etc. that help combat redness and are soothing and all natural) – I’ve been using her products the past 6 months and my skin has never been better:

  8. I appreciate people like you willing to help out other people in need!

    I used to overexfoliate badly and my skin seem to be fine for years… Until a huge amount of stress hit and i resorted to some hot baths that seemed to have altered my skin.

    My skin started out being very reactive and was SUPER oily, then after a few months it seemed to have dried out. My skin is clearly dehydrated. Oddly my skin isnt or wont break out which is good but if i move the skin it has a leathery dehydrated look which is killing me.

    I ordered the rose water you recommended, so is the best thing for me to just wipe with rose water gently morning and night and follow with Shea butter? If i need to leave and go out of the house is there another moisturizer to use that wont look so greasy?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Chad! Your plan sounds like a good one! Shea butter isn’t greasy at all and leaves quite a matte look. That’s why it works well for oily but dehydrated skins as well. My favourite oil is pumpkin seed, it doesn’t leave any greasiness at all and nourishes better than any other oil (at least for my skin). Remember that dryness of skin depends a lot on your overall health and nutrition as well. It’s all connected. xx

      • Hey Vita, thank you for the reply!

        I drink 100 fluid ounces a day, i do flaxseed and Cod liver oil in the morning and eat only organic fruit, 5 servings of organic vegetables and only organic grass fed meat chicken, turkey etc)
        My health went from amazing to bad after a toxin exposure in my house. We moved out of the house and i was diagnosed with Lyme disease and had an overgrowth of candida and an auto immune disease. I have worked soooo hard at getting my health back i spent 25K and had stem cell therapy in Germany to rid the lyme disease and cleaned my diet up to the point im at now. My issues i have left after so many health issues is sleep issues (i wake up every 3 hours or so and cant go back to sleep) dehydrated skin and my hair went from thick as can be to thinner and at one point had 4 patches missing.

        Do you think a lot of this is my hormone imbalance? My testosterone and Estradiol were both very low.

        It seems like my oil production has shut off… my skin is telling me its all out of whack and i am seriously praying to get it back to what it was. My self esteem is gone

        • Wow Chad, you’ve really gone through a lot. Just a couple of things that came to my mind reading your comment. Are you eating enough healthy carbs? I know my story is probably totally different from yours, but I was getting really dry skin and hair while I was on the Paleo diet (and pretty low carbs and high fat). I read it can often be caused by a lack of carbs and by excess of animal fats and protein in the diet, which clogs up the liver and makes it more difficult to deal with toxins. That leads me to the next thing I wanted to mention. Have you ever tried to stay off animal foods? It might not be the best thing long-term (who knows), but it might be the best thing for cleansing your body and getting rid of candida. At the end of the day, all of the anti-cancer diets are vegan or at least vegetarian, which probably means that they are the most healing and cleansing diets for a body that has been weakened by an exposure to toxins. I know it might sound weird from an ex Paleo diet follower, but animal products aren’t always a good idea. xx

  9. Hey Vita, thank you for that bit of knowledge. I never would have known that. Honestly I was eating no carbs and I think around that time last year is when my skin feels and looks so dehydrated. But I reintroduced carbs like rice and my scalp began to itch again…

    For healthy carbs you mean vegetables etc? If you have any diet tips or protocols to follow I will do that for sure.

    I tried the pumpkin oil and it seems a little too greasy for me. Other things to note are my lips are dehydrated as well as my scalp…. I wish I knew the answer to my problem.

    I can certainly add more carbs in I will research healthy carbs now. My rose water and shea butter will be in this week, I had to order to get the good stuff.

    Thank you for your time, I’m so frustrated with all my health issues right now I really would love to just die and not deal with any of it. I had mold exposure, auto immune disease, advanced Lyme disease, candida, liver fluke parasite to name a few of the health issues discovered. Plus most organs are struggling, this is from a year ago I was playing ice hockey and had more energy and everything then a high school kid.

    • By healthy carbs I mean veggies, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, gluten-free grains, such as millet, quinoa, amaranth, wholegrain rice, also barley or rye if you aren’t sensitive to gluten, legumes have lots of carbs together with protein, too.

      Have you looked into liver flushing? Andreas Moritz has written the most famous book on this subject, and in addition to his liver flushing protocol, he also advocates mostly plant-based diet. Both my husband and I have been doing the liver flushes and they are very very effective.

      I can’t really say much more than this because it’s too early for me to form a proper opinion, I’m just experimenting with all of it myself. But what I can say is that after one year on the Paleo diet I did start experiencing a lot of health issues due to hormones going out of whack, liver getting clogged up and overall no energy. I felt awful and didn’t want to admit that it was all just because of excess animal protein and fat. Nobody likes being mistaken. But my health has been transforming since I started eating mostly plants with very little animal products and lots of healthy grains and legumes.

      I’m not a doctor, so please don’t take my words for granted. I’m just sharing what I’ve been experiencing and I really feel with all of my heart that it’s something you should look into. I also know a girl who had mercury exposure and had massive health problems. She managed to fix her health by eating a plant-based diet.

      Please don’t lose hope! You’ll figure out how to heal your body and you’ll be stronger than ever. Everything happens for a reason. xx

      • Hey Vita, I actually did the liver flush 2 weeks ago. I just got blood work back and I have severe aspergillus issues, also I had a hair mineral test and mercury was on there. I had a metal chelation, lyme detox and glutathione as well as stem cell therapy over seas in Germany and that helped a lot. I plan to do the liver flush at least 10-15 more times with contueing kidney cleanses and parasite up keep as I already did that cleanse.

        As for the rose water…. THANK YOU. one time using it I saw more improvement then all the 100 dollar serum creams etc. I am waiting for my shea butter to come in as the health store didn’t have organic unrefined… but even using my old cetaphil lotion huge improvements!!!

        I found a place in Florida that does mold and metal detoxes. My detox in Germany was 2 weeks and got rid of my lyme disease and almost all is good except my skin and hair thickness. I figure mold and metal covers all toxins to eradicate.

        Thank you again for the suggestions in this post you are literally the only person that has helped me with my over exfoliated skin!!!!

        • Liver flushing is awesome. We’re also planning to go at it until our livers are totally clean. I’m so happy that rosewater helped you! I totally swear by it and don’t go anywhere without it. It’s a total must in my bathroom. I hope that the place in Florida can help you with the detox. Thank God you have already improved so much and there isn’t much more to go. If you have already gone such a long way, surely you can make those few last steps! You’re very welcome regarding the suggestions. Knowing that I’ve helped someone is awesome and that’s why I do what I do! xx

          • Thank you Vita, I am still waiting for the shea butter you recommended to come in. Hopefully once that’s in I will really see some great results! I was thinking of waiting a couple months before I even consider using an exfoliation products. I did find a woman in Canada called battys bath and I used her jojoba scrub (it’s made on jojoba beads, olive oil, glycerin and castor oil and I loved it non stripping but exfoliated well for being so gentle.

            I also made a organic aloe (mountain rose herbs) and added glycerin to it for an alternate gentle face wash which worked very well too besides the rosewater.

          • That’s great! I’m not a big fan of exfoliators. I feel that a cotton disc and a washcloth are more than enough to remove all the dead skin cells. For overexfoliated skin it’s definitely best to wait a bit longer until it’s completely healed. xx

  10. Hello,

    I’ve been doing skin research all morning and this is the most relevant article I’ve come across so far.
    I used to have beautiful skin, but when full blown acne invited itself to my life 3 years ago – I went crazy with products. I tried (and overdid) so many things to try to help, to no avail. My skin is erratic. One day its SO clear, the next (literally) its as if I were dreaming. My forehead, however, is always REAL shiny, almost plastic-like, as if it isn’t skin at all. I’m sure it’s mostly caused by the lemon scrubs and retinoids. Do you think it’s fully repairable or am I stuck looking like an unattractive Barbie doll permanently? If not, would taking an Omega-3 supplement help speed up the process?

    Also, it’s difficult to find any natural products where I live, including Shea butter + I’m afraid to put it on my skin and exacerbate any leftover acne. I’m tossing all harsh products that I currently use, including any DIY concoctions, and am going to start simply wiping my face with rose water in the mornings and cleanse with olive oil in the evenings. Would this be moisturizing enough or do you suggest another moisturizer?

    P.S. I agree with Chad. It honestly warms my heart when people like yourself bother helping strangers. Not everyone understands.

    • Hi Mia! So glad you found my article the most relevant one! Don’t worry, there is nothing that can’t be undone. Your body is incredible at repairing itself. Just let it do its thing! 🙂 Your forehead will stop being shiny as soon as you stop overexfoliating. It just needs to rebuild the protective acid mantle. The diet is a very important factor, much more important than any topical treatments, so it’s definitely worth looking into your nutrition. If you’re interested in Ayurveda, look into ways to balance Pitta dosha. That’s what acne is. To summarise quickly, you need to stay away from heating, sour, salty, and pungent foods, so things like fermented products, sour fruit, red meat, salty fish, hard, salty cheese, most nuts, etc. It’s helped me more than anything else. I’ll talk about it more in my future blog posts or videos. I don’t think taking an Omega-3 supplement would help because they are all highly processed. The only thing I would recommend is Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which has Omega 3, too. But in a totally unadulterated raw state. Nothing beats freshly prepared, nutritious food, though.

      Reagarding your skincare routine, it sounds good. But see how your skin reacts to olive oil. Some people find it too heavy and clogging. If that happends, try pumpkin seed oil or sunflower seed oil. If you feel that your skin needs something more, don’t be afraid to rinse it with cool water. Just make sure it’s filtered or at least boiled. If your skin still feels a little dry after cleansing, you can add one or two drops of the oil you use for cleansing.

      Thanks so much for all your kinds words! I really just want to help those that are going through what I went through. There is way too much suffering than there should be. More awareness will help stop it! xx

  11. I am very thankful for your blog. It is encouraging to read some success stories. I started using Retin A nightly with none of the typical irritation…redness, peeling etc. Then suddenly after 3.5 weeks my skin was super shiney with parchment like texture and open pores which I believe is due to dehydration. At night my forehead goes into over drive and produces oil in excess. It feels so out of wack. I went to a trusted estititian who believes it is just over exfoliate and highly irritated from mixing too many astrigent products. She reccommendrd washing with distilled water and vanicream which is free of chemicals and fragrance. While after a few days I saw slight improvement I made the mistake of very gently washing with a soft cloth and it seemed to have stripped whatever barrier I began to rebuild. I am discouraged and depressed and fear my skin will never heal back to it’s former state. Any encouagement would be appreciated. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hi Laura, your skin will definitely heal. Mine was incredibly over-exfoliated, yet it’s perfectly balanced and calm now (most days). Just be patient with it for a while. Your esthetician is right: cleansing with distilled water or rosewater is really the best way to go while your skin is healing. Definitely don’t use any washcloths for now and make sure you apply lots of nourishing stuff. I would just use something like shea butter, but if vanicream works well for you, stick to it. The most important thing is not to become impatient and scrub off that layer of rough skin that’s there. It acts as a protection for the new delicate skin underneath, so just leave it alone. Once it’s ready, it will fall off and will reveal your beautiful new skin. Good luck! xx

  12. Egwuatu Jennifer says

    Hi, vita. I think I have over – exfoliated my face it started out as dry skin patches but I used creams for over three years and once I stop for a day my face turns red and uncomfortable…. cuz i’m in school I don’t if I can cope when my face is regenerating cuz of self esteem…. please I need ur advice

    • Hi! I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling with your skin. If you treat your skin gently, it will respond. Just be patient. Trust me, other people don’t notice your skin as much as you do. Nobody looks at it with a magnifying mirror. What kind of creams are you talking about? Moizturizers? You don’t need to stop using them. Just choose natural ones. You can also wash your skin, just choose very natural and gentle products or even better try water alone. xx

      • Thanks so much for the encouragement, it was clotrimazole cream……. i’ve been on no chemical regimen and adhered to other tips u stated for like 8 days now…….. I like the results so far… burning sensation has reduced, dry- cracked skin improving by the day….. but the redness seems to be the same…. is it an indication of permanent red scar in my face?

        • There is nothing permanent with skin. Our body is very good at repairing itself. So don’t worry, just give your skin some time and the redness will gradually disappear. xx

  13. hello, for the past year my skin has been a complete mess. I use to do nothing to it and it was perfect but then I started adding products to my face and it completely ruined it, mixed in with some sun damage. I don’t think my skin can tolerate sunscreen. However, It’s very red, dry and flaky. I just decided a few days ago to just do nothing to my skin. Even moisturize. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not, but I read online that if you over moisturize your skin becomes lazy and starts to produce less oils. So I stopped moisturizing my forehead (my trouble spot). Im not sure if that’s a good idea or not but the last couple of days it’s been extremely flaky and red and I try not to scratch or pick at it. I’m really struggling getting my skin back to normal.

    • Hi Mimi, it’s a great idea. The best idea actually. I don’t think any skin needs anything beyond water, oils, and a gentle muslin cloth (not even that while it’s badly overexfoliated). You should look into something called the caveman regimen. It’s basically doing nothing to your skin. Tracy from The Love Vitamin has written a lot about it. She even has a book all about the cavemen regimen. xx

    • How is your skin now? And did you try the cave man regime

  14. Hello,
    I am very concerned about my skin. In the past, I have had some lasers and chemical peels done, but what happened in midJune i would say, i used this cream called Triacneal Diavene cream…and I applied apparently too much accidentally on the right cheek, and my skin started to peel. I think at least superficial layer came and because it contains retinaldehyde and glycolic acid (6%), my skin looks a bit hypo pigmented or i should say fairer..not too much…and there is a small demarcation line because my skin peeled on my face . I have no idea what to do now…i AM using aloe vera and its almost august…this happened in mid june…there is some improvement, but i am scared that i might never got the original skin tone back. People who look at me don’t find a difference at all, i just became overly conscious about it.
    also, i feel that the volume of my right cheek is a bit thinner than on the left side…is it because of the peeling? i have had laser treatments some times in the past..but i didn’t find a difference. i think this cream i used had an impact on me…

    will my skin come back to normal? and do you think that the facial asymmetry is because of the peel? I am very nervous. Please help me.

    • Hi Gowry, the first thing I will say is that your body has enormous capabilities to heal and rebuild itself. If you give it lots of nutrients from within and treat it gently from within, it will be as good as new. There is nothing that you can’t fix! It’s only 6 weeks so far. Give it some time. Even a simple scar after a spot can takes months to heal, so of course it’s going to take a while for your skin to get back to normal. Don’t obsess over it, make sure you eat well, exercise, meditate, take time for yourself, and you won’t even notice how it comes back to normal. Also try to minimize looking at the mirror. It’s bad both for your skin and your mind. xx

      • Thank you so much Vita. I will try not to obsess over it…and also… i have got some laser peels and chemical peels in the past…but that doesn’t affect it too much right? my skin actually became better because of those. But, i am getting small pimples again because i stressed too much over this…so i am trying to stop stressing over the incident. and leave it as is. can i go back to getting a laser peel in a couple of months? after the acne has subsided and the normal skin tone comes back on its own? because i have some pimple scars and blemishes left. currently, i am just using aloe vera….

        Ultimately, my skin is okay right? it will take some time to heal but it will go back to normal right?? thank you so much…

        • Hi Gowry, the laser peels should be alright. I’m not a big fan of those (because I believe the skin should be allowed to heal itself naturally with nourishing food and skincare), but if that’s something you feel you really need it, I hope it will help you achieve the skin you’re after. Yes, your skin should go back to normal. Just please don’t stress and be gentle with it. xx

  15. This is an amazing article that describes my condition so accurately! Let me start off by telling you how this all happened. I’m a 25 year old male and my entire life I didn’t do anything to my skin simply because I was just lazy. While doing nothing to it my whole life I never had acne. One day in December of last year I had a minor breakout due to extreme stress and poor diet at the time. Since I never experienced a real breakout before it freaked me out so I went to the doctor. They prescribed me retin a. I’m so incredibly depressed by how damaged my skin had become because of the medication when nite in hindsight if I had left my skin alone the minor breakout would have gone away in less than a month. I used retin a for 3 months but stopped 2 months ago. My skin now has more acne than ever in my life and the acne marks are so dark and stay on my skin for so long. This never happened before the retin a. My skin is also extremely oily now that my skin is severely dehydrated and thin. Please help me. I’ve never been so depressed in life because of how my damaged skin is affecting me. I apologize that this isn’t the most well written comment, but I am severely depressed over this. If you have any more specific questions about what happened or what my skin is like now feel free to ask as I look forward to your response. Thank you!

    • Hello! Sorry to hear about your struggles with acne. All I can say is it will get better. Just be patient. If you follow the tips in this blog post, your skin should feel much better and please just stay away from chemical treatments/skincare. But also don’t forget that acne comes from the inside, beautiful skin also does come from the inside, so it’s worth looking into your diet. You might be reacting to something you are eating. I’d highly suggest trying an elimination diet for a few weeks and then reintroduce to see if there are any reactions. The most common reason is casein intolerance, so eliminating dairy (including butter) would be the first I would try. Then things like gluten, soy, nuts, eggs, sugar, etc. Good luck! xx

      • Thanks for the reply. I know for a fact that my acne is not diet related and it’s all to do with my damaged skin. My skin was never oily before this happened but now it’s extremely oily. At the same time underneath the oil it’s extremely dehydrated, it feels like plastic, not skin. The acne is simply a symptom of my dehydrated damaged skin from retin a. Any thoughts? I’ve been trying my best to not let it bother me but I’m really scared that my skin won’t go back to normal.

  16. Hi Vita!

    Love your blog and all of the helpful tips you give! I started converting over to oils over the past few months. I have highly reactive/sensitive skin which has only gotten worse with age. I tried grape seed which left my skin parched and plugged so I then tried easing into the OCM and moisturizing using Hemp oil only. At first it was amazing, I don’t think my skin had ever felt so soft since before acne! Very evenly toned and although there were still some pimples, my skin seemed less angry than it had been in years and not nearly as dry…. but now there is a big problem. My face is totally inflamed/dry. It is painful to smile and have grown countless small and large pimples on my jaw/chin. Even with all of the irritations I have had with countless products in the past this by far feels the worse. I have been trying to not use anything at all for the past few days except a little bit of avacado oil and rose water to try to moisturize and calm but to no avail, it just seems to getting worse with what ever I do/don’t do. It feels almost like a chemical burn! Do you have any further recommendations to help calm/heal that can be easily attained? Have you heard of this happening with hemp oil? To have had those few days of elation was great but now I am so heart broken. I thought I had finally found a solution to so many years of pain and frustration! Thank you so much in advance for what ever input you may have.

    • Hi Chelsea! Thanks so much for your kind words! Firstly, how often did you use the OCM? Sounds like you overdid it? Also, did you use hot water for the washcloth – it can be very drying and irritating. Anything you did differently in your diet? From my own experience, I often blamed the oils or other skincare treatments for my acne when often it was something I was eating. Just something to think about. I would stick to simple rinsing with filtered or bottled water, toning with rosewater, and moisturising with an oil that you know works for you or even a moisturiser that worked for you in the past. Once the skin gets overexfoliated, it’s best to just leave it alone for a while. xx

      • Hey Vita!

        Thank you so much for your quick response! I appreciate it so much. I do think I over did it with the OCM, I was doing it every night and a few mornings as well for about 4 days. I am just surprised by just how bad my skin reacted to doing so since that how much I cleansed/moisturized before! But I will take heed and cut back once my skin bounces back. I know it’s probably not food. It’s not just my face that is sensitive but my entire constitution is, I really don’t eat anything inflammatory or else I get sick. I was able to get a hold of some shea butter which helped with the dryness, so now it doesn’t hurt quit so much but I am still pretty red, and these pimples are not the quick to heal ones. I was wondering if you still use pumpkin oil only for OCM and moisturizer? I am apprehensive about going back to using hemp after this in case it was a bad reaction to it compounded with over-exfoliating. It has been a frustrating few years trying to figure everything out and get into balance, but I just want to say thank you for putting all of your experience out in the ether for others to find. It is very comforting to see a parallel story with a beautiful and positive outcome like yours. I love reading/watching all of the advice you have!

        • Hi Chelsea! I’d say around 70-80% of the time when people have problems with the OCM, it’s overexfoliation due to doing it too often. It happened to me, too. The first two attempts were big fat failures because I did it every single day and completely freaked out my skin. Oil Cleansing Method is much more deeply cleansing that regular cleansing and it does remove quite a bit of sebum from the surface of the skin and from inside the pores, so it’s completely normal to feel really dry if you overdo it. It’s a great tool, but needs to be used with caution. I find that once your skin gets overexfoliated, trying OCM again will just make it worse. It’s best to stop doing it at all for at least a month or two until your skin calms down completely. I still use pumpkin seed oil alone for the OCM, but I only do it once a month or more rarely these days. I don’t get much clogging anymore, so I just don’t feel like I need it. For moisturizing, I’ve been using rosehip oil for the last 6 months at least and it’s fabulous. I really hope you’ll soon find what works for your skin and from then on it will all be smooth sailing! Thanks so much for all your kind words regarding what I do. I really, really appreciate them. xx

  17. Hi Vita, love this blog post! Has given me much hope and advice! Much like the others have stated, I used too many chemical products on my dear face (which wasn’t even that bad to being with, guess my vanity just overtook my sensibility!) and now have developed this strange, coarse texture to my face 🙁
    (in addition to the new crop of cystic zits. I swear I will never use any chemical products again! thanks a lot, Retin A)
    It’s been about 3 days since I first noticed it (during those three days only used water, rosewater mixed w/ glycerin, and my LUSH Shangri-La moisturizer, which is basically just a cocktail of a bunch of natural oils and a few other botanicals), and it hasn’t gotten red or itchy or flaky like many others have had an issue with. It honestly isn’t even really noticeable to the naked eye, just if you were to run your fingers over it, it has this sandpaper-ish, rough texture, and almost feels dry but isnt? More like a million microscopic bumps. Seems to be working very slowly on the texture and has given me some hope since I feared I had permanently damaged my skin!

    Anyways, my real question is, have you had any experience with Emu Oil? Through my research the last few days I have seen this pop up many times as a miracle oil for skin damage since its oil and vitamin properties apparently mimics our skins’ top layer, as well as being anti-inflammatory. I know you are an advocate for the plant oils, was just wondering if you had any experience with this one or have any other advice for my issue. Though it sounds like from here on out it’s just the same as anyone else that has experienced skin damage: patience, gentleness, and love. Thanks for reading! 🙂

    • A million microscopic bumps is exactly how my skin was before I dumped all the chemicals. The good news is it does heal and smooth out. Just give it some time. I haven’t tried Emu OIl, but I’ve heard amazing things about it for scars and skins that needs intense healing. I’d definitely give it a try. Hope your skin will be back to normal soon! xx

  18. Hello!

    I started the oil cleansing method about a month ago and unfortunately did not do enough research before (had i read this site i would have avoided issued i think!). I ended up using castor oil and sunflower oil – both organic and unrefined – about a 30% to 70% ratio. I did this every night as I saw so many other people did it every night without any issues and i applied a thin layer of sunflower oil as a moisturizer after. A few days were fine, then BOOM, my face is covered with a bunch of clogged blackheads and whiteheads. The whiteheads are becoming infected and turning into nasty pustules. I stopped doing the oil method everyday and slowed down to 1 or two times a week. I also changed the oils because I felt the sunflower oil just didn’t work well with my skin. It wasn’t absorbed well and just left it looking dull. I now use about 10-15% castor oil with 30% grapeseed oil and the rest hemp seed oil. I just rinse with cold water and apply an apple cider vinegar toner after (with lavender essential oil, and just a couple drops of tea tree to combat the pustules). I now use a shea butter moisturizer because the oils just didn’t work well when applied after.
    My question is this: it’s been about a week or two on this new routine and i see slight improvements – definitely feeling all the “grit” when oil cleansing, a lot actually. But my pores are still getting clogged. blackheads and white heads – specifically on my cheeks where i never had a problem before.
    What is your suggestion? Am i doing something wrong? The new oil blend seems to fit a lot better with my skin type but i’m still getting all these clogs and i just don’t know why. Is my skin still healing from being over exfoliated from cleansing with oil everyday previously?

    I love your blog. it’s so informative!

    Thank you,

    • Hi Bella, it does take a while for the skin to calm down, so that could be the reason why. You could also try to use a natural soap after the OCM to remove any oil residue because that’s what might be causing the clogs. Also, while your skin is healing from the initial freak out, I’d probably stay away from the OCM at all for a month or two, and restart once it’s calmed down. At least from my own experience, once my skin got into that crazy state, continuing with the OCM was just getting it angrier and more clogged up. I had to stop completely, wait, and then try again with different oils, different ratios frequencies, etc. Also make sure you don’t use hot water or washcloth on your skin. So glad you like my blog! xx

      • Thank you so much for the advice!
        Do you have any natural soaps that you would recommend? I’m not too familiar with natural soaps.

        Right now my skin feels moisturized to the touch, thanks to the shea butter. but when i move my face, it still feels tight and irritated. Is that just because it’s still damaged?
        Should I cut using apple cider vinegar out as well? i did read that it could be drying as well but i do find it helps with these clogs turning into pustules. Since toning with it i have had much less blogs getting infected.

        Thank you!

        • Also, what do you suggest doing about the current clogs? They just seem to keep coming! Should i just leave them alone and let them go down?


          • Try wiping your skin with a muslin cloth gently. But not every day. Perhaps every other day. It will take off some of the dead skin cells and will lessen any future clogs. But don’t overdue. xx

        • Hi Bella, the Aleppo soap is my favourite one. But also any pure olive oil soap would do the same job or the traditional neem soap from India. It does take a while for the skin to stop feeling dry. It needs to rebuild its acid mantle, and it takes a while. I personally tried the ACV and found it extremely drying, but I’m also aware that a lot of people swear by it. It is drying, though. Perhaps you could dilute it a little more, so it will still help with the clogs, but won’t dry you out as much? xx

  19. Help!
    I started the oil cleansing method about a month ago with sunflower oil and castor oil. Unfortunately, I didn’t stumble across your website until I developed many issues. Little bumps ALL over that mostly turn into pustules. I did the ocm everyday (too much I realize that now) and didn’t follow with a moisturizer because I thought the oil was enough. Well my skin was sort of dry but not too bad. A couple days in I broke out in SO many bumps everywhere. This is the worst my skin has ever looked.
    Now I have cut back to doing the ocm 1 to 2 times a week. But I’m still getting these bumps! I moisturizer with Shea butter/hemp oil (mixed together). My ocm oils are now castor oil, grape seed oil and hempseed oil. I find this works better and actually feel the “grittiness” that other people described as plugs come out. But my skin is STILL tight feeling even with Shea butter. I raise my eyebrows and feel my forehead is tight.
    I should mention I also tone with apple cider vinegar – which has reduced the amount of these bumps turning into pustules.

    What advice do you have for me? How can I make these horrible bumps go away! I’m so upset because I have a big vacation in a week and just want them GONE! Or at least reduced drastically.

    Please help!

  20. Hi, thank you so much for this helpful article. I i never really had a serious acne problem before, only one or two would pop up every month and that was about it. But i decided to try out PC’s bha exfoliant anyways because i thought it could give my face a “glow”. Long story short, after 5 months of using this product i am now left with an active pimples and hyperpigmentations all over my face. This is the first time ive ever felt so upset about my skin to the point where id rather stay at home most of the time. I was wonderig if youcould give me any tips. And also i dont have access to the rose water you recommended so would thayer work as well? If not could you recommend some other rose water products? Thank you so much.

    • Hello! I’m so sorry to hear that PC’s bha exfoliant have you so many troubles. In the old days, I used to use it, too. It used to work so well for a couple of weeks, and then havoc… I’ve really written down all of my tips in the blog post. Can’t really tell you much else. Regarding rose water, just get pure rosewater that would be nothing else but rose petals and distilled water. it shouldn’t have any other ingredients. It can also be called floral water or hydrolat. The Thayers one has a lot of ingredients that shouldn’t really be there, plus witch hazel is astringent – the last thing you need right now. Hope you can find pure rosewater locally in a health shop. xx

  21. I’m so glad I found this article, I’m gonna try some of the tips you left and see if they work. My skin has always been fairly dry and flakey, I once used an exfoliater by St. Ives which I loved but I over did it and my skin was very red and raw like, burning, and flakey. even moisturizer burned and stung my face!! I didn’t do anything to it for a few days and healed fine. fast foward about 6 months, I bought a gentle exfoiliater, way less grainy and hard. I definitetly over did it!! I used it 3 days in a row. BIG MISTAKE. my skin is so red and flakey and raw. I have a special event in 4 days and I’m so nervous that my skin won’t be healed enough by then. if I put makeup on it burns and also sinks into the flakey parts of my skin. PLEASE HELP! any products or tips to help my skin heal quickly?? Thank you so much. xx

    • Hi Lucia, I remember that nasty St. Ives scrub. I used to use it in the old days and it was always making my skin so raw! Never ever use any exfoliators every day, not even the gentlest one. Less is definitely more with skin. I’ve shared all of my best tips in the blog post. I can’t really say anything else. Just make sure you don’t exfoliate your skin and apply the oil as many times a day as you need until your skin feels comfortable again. Good luck! xx

  22. Hi Vita, I came across your blog and I am loving it. I never had pimples until I got on birth control and then my war with pimples began. I have tried different topical treatments, washed my face with different things. Sometimes the treatments would work and my face will be clear for some time and then all of a sudden the acne will come back creeping up on my face. I developed some rashes on my chin recently and it looks like I have lots of clogged pores. As usual I slathered lots of things on my face which didn’t work. I stumbled upon the caveman regimen and decided to do it and so far I have gone through the stages of having dry skin then skin purge and then oily skin and now my skin seems to have balanced out itself but my chin still has clogged pores and I am darker. It has been almost a month since I have been on the regimen. I do notice my skin is healthy even though I still have clogged pores and I look darker than I would normally look. Is it okay to exfoliate with OCM at this point? Thank you.

    • Hi Abby, I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog. Welcome! 🙂 I think you could start with the OCM once a week. Another thing that I found very helpful with clogged pores was a coffee scrub. Just literally take some of the coffee remains and scrub your face gently. It works really well. xx

  23. Hi 🙂

    I’ve already read dozens of articles, but so far this was the best one :). I didn’t know that “over-exfoliated skin” was actually a thing… but I think it’s kinda similar to what I’m experiencing right now(?)

    Before, my facial skin was actually great. I did get pimples occasionally but none that actually caused my face to scar and and have holes in it. One time, I underwent a facial treatment and I got prescribed with some kind of cream that they said would remove dark spots, white/black heads… and all that. And it worked perfectly. My skin peeled a lot.. and after that, it looked so smooth and healthy. So I used it whenever I’m not confident with my skin anymore (mostly with months interval)… and yeah, it worked just fine. Until this one time that I used it… and it peeled… but I suddenly needed to put make up on but it wasn’t done peeling (then I removed it with a make up remover. I was new to make up that time so I actually used the make up remover to remove everything… even the foundation and stuffs). After that it didn’t work the way it did. It didn’t peel 100%. I then experienced breakouts with harsh red pimples.. and I began to accumulate lots of white and black heads.

    I gave it time to heal, and somehow I thought it did. So I used the peeling cream again. But this time, it didn’t even peel. I just became red. I could see flaky stuffs on my face, but it didn’t really go all-out to peel. I wasn’t patient enough and I actually scrubbed it, harshly… and Oh my! I hated myself so much for that… my beautiful skin got scarred SO BADLY. It gave my face holes and all that… And every time I get white heads on my cheeks, most of the time, they’d also leave holes. And it’s getting me so depressed every day 🙁 I didn’t know what to do. It’s almost a year now since the last time that I had beautiful skin.

    Today, my skin still has that kind of surface that looks like it would peel… but it doesn’t. And I still have white and black heads, and occasional harsh red pimples. What do I do to regain my beautiful skin? 🙁

    • So glad you found the blog post helpful! I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with your skin. It’s really frustrating, I know, but it will heal. Just try all the tips I shared in the blog post and hopefully your skin will get much better. It’s really all about rebuilding the acid mantle and being very gentle. xx

  24. Hello there Vita. I just read your article and I’ve got to say I’m excited to start this new process to skin recovery. I was deep exfoliating my face for 10 years, twice a day. Now my skin is dry, red, peeling, irritated and inflamed. I’m in so much pain. I just ordered the recommended products and they should be here within the next 3 days.
    So I was wondering if you had any recommendations as to what I should use until they get here? Thank You so much for all of your help. ~Nicole

  25. Hi dear, I got bad reaction of cream burnt of my both side of face… first it was dark circle, spread over n when I applied potatoes like I read on line, it became worst and get darker and spread more.. then I tried cucumber which dis not work… I then bought a sunburn cream from a skin Doctor and after four days, it get flaky and burnt even worst than before
    .. right now, I can’t even step out of my room… even vitamin E oil, makes it flaky… only she’s butter calms it but am so worried over the dark circle.. its almost 2months now. no result… the cream that cause all this is fake Bio Oil…pls what can I do to remove this dark circles n hv my normal face back…. crying daily!!!!!!!

    • Hello Joy! I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to your skin. So unfortunate! But don’t worry, it should heal in time, you just need to be patient and very, very gentle. I know the flakiness and dryness are uncomfortable, but it’s a natural stage your skin needs to go through until it can grow healthy, new skin underneath. I’ve given all of my best tips in this blog post, so apart from this I don’t really have much else to say. Just stay gentle and positive! xx

  26. Hello Vita, you are the most wonderful person I hv ever seen. Thanks for ur concern!!!! I sincerely pray my face heal some day. I will be gentle with it and wait…. I hope baby lotion won’t harm me more, because that is what I use as my body ..

  27. Hi….I’ve been reading this page as I’m having trouble with my face skin….I have rosacea and stupidle used a different foundation than the one I can tolerate and all Hell has broken lose! I’m burning 24/7, red raw skin that won’t tolerate anything….I’m really worried. This happened 3 years ago after using a foundation I wasn’t used to and I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to tolerate makeup again…….3 years after, I guess I got complacent as I’ve had no flares and tolerent of most things…I stick to organic and just a select few products that I have been able to tolerate fine…..but now, I’m so worried…I’m leaving my skin well alone as anything stirs it up more…..I feel dirty as I can’t wash my face….oil and dirt are building up…its fry and flaky and big red blotches..anything touching it makes it burn more….It’s so sensitive and feels raw to touch….will it heal???? I need to be able to wear makeup for work…….so not doing at the moment is just knocking my confidence and making me feel awful…..I hate my skin uncovered….it’s been 3 weeks since I used the ‘bad’ foundation…..but didn’t stop using anything on it until 2 weeks ago when I realised something wasn’t right……and I’ve been in a world of pain ever since…….will it recover? Thank you for reading and any help you can offer please. xx

    • Hi Lynne, so sorry to hear about your struggles! I had reactions like this to products so many times, I can totally relate. Yes, your skin will heal, but it will take some time. Just be patient and very gentle. Perhaps try to use only some concealer on the places where you need it for now if you can’t get away going to work without makeup. xx

      • Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post. It’s very kind of you and I appreciate it very much. I can’t use concealer as I can’t tolerate taking it off…or cleansing. My face feels and is really dirty, build up of oils and skin…flaking and just not nice… so putting any makeup on it just feels awful. If I use water it hurts and leaves it feeling even drier and itchy, using any makeup right now is like trying to paint on a dirty canvas. I’ll get there though. I’ve been here before and always managed to get through it some how. Thanks for your support.

        • Hi…sorry to bother you again…I just have a question please if I may? You said that using your usual skin care (cleanser&moisturiser) will burn and irritate skin that’s already angry from whatever insult it’s suffered….I know this to be true as I can’t use anything on my freaked out skin at the moment. I have rosacea/uber sensitive skin that’s recently had a bad reaction to a foundation. My question is will I at some point later in time, be able to go back to using the skincare I used before my chemical allergic reaction to this particular makeup? I have 24/7 burning, red raw stinging skin and I’m so worried…I’m not doing anything to my skin at all except a little wipe of my eyes in the morning. But…socially…I feel awful as my face feels dirty and horrid and I just want to hide away….but you can’t do that when you have a life! will this get better? Thank you so very much.

          • Hi Lynne, you’ll probably be able to go back to using your regular products, but it could also be a perfect time to strip down your routine and go completely natural. The results will be even better and you’ll save tons of money. Your skin will definitely get better, just give it some time. xx

        • If it gives you any kind of consolation, I’ve been there, I know how it feels, and my skin did heal. Yours will do, too. Even if it’s very frustrating now, it will soon be over. xx

  28. Hi

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. You’ve been a life line. You don’t even know me and you are reaching out to help me. I am so grateful. My anxiety over all this is high. I know this won’t be helping! Your words of encouragement have helped. You’re very kind. Huge thanks.x

  29. Hi, Vita! So I did a huuuuuuge no-no and I over exfoliated my LIPS! Big time. I’ve done this before and I used Carmex & Abrevia(?), it was better in no time. But this time, I’ve been using these lip products and.. Nothing. After I noticed my lips were dry, I applied my regular balm (not thinking I had over exfoliated), and I went to bed. I woke up the next morning, my lips were dry and flakey. I stupidly scrubbed at the flakes and added more balm. Then the next day, I had a red patch across the top of my lip and several ‘wrinkles’ all over my lips! Now usually, my lips are smooth and almost ‘wrinkle’ or ‘line’ free! But after that day they’ve been all wrinkly and it looks like I have the lips of an 80 year old! (Mind you, I’m only 18.) I’ve been applying castor oil religiously whenever it feels dry and I’ve tried staying away from Carmex & Abrevia due to the menthol I’ve found was in them. What do I do?

    • Ouch! That hurts! I don’t know if castor oil is the best oil to apply on your lips. I’d use something like shea butter, cocoa butter, or coconut oil. Also, perhaps you reacted to the petrochemicals in Carmex. I used to use it a long time ago and I remember that it was based on Vaseline. xx

  30. Hi I have been struggling with hyper pigmentation and redness from lasers and one chemical peel I got done nearly a year ago now…this was all in an attempt to treat my acne that I randomly got at 22 years old! 25 now and skin is so much calmer breakout free for the most part but the pinentstion is subtly still there! What do you suggest? I have been using clarisonic and their antipigmentation products which are helping a ton but I dot exfoliate everyday maybe like once every 2-3 wks with the clarisonic brush. Anyway any suggestions for hyperpigmentation? It’s been over a year now and I’m scared my skin stays pigmented and red and delicate. One other thing, I just peeled off a layer that the aloe Vera gel just left on my skin. And my skin is red in that cheek now and it hurts! I definitely should NOT have done this as I exposed my raw skin when it wasn’t ready:( I jut put some cold dandelion water on it.. Will this just be another red scar? What do I do now? Ahhhh! I’m scared of using aloe on my raw skin now! Should I jut dab cucumber? Until redness goes away?? 🙁

    • Sorry about such a late reply! Some people are actually sensitive to aloe. I’m one of them. Or at least it used to be like that, but my skin was raw and inflamed back then, so I don’t know if I would still react to it. Cucumber could be a good way. It’s very soothing and cooling. For red marks, nothing beats rosehip oil and vitamin E oil. Those two are my favourites. But in general, if your skin isn’t healing well and is dry, it might be a sign of nutritional imbalances and/or deficiencies. Remember whatever happens on the skin is a mirror of your digestive health. One more thing I would look into is low stomach acid. Skin issues are often related to it. There are lots of resources about it online. xx

  31. Axella kendra says

    Hi vita. I just got this watsons sttawberry scrub amd i used it on my face i slept off with it still on and woke up with a swollen face and my face especially aroumd the nose and upper cheeks feels so dry amd tight. I have been at loss on what to use. I have the watsons olive oil moisturizer with shea butter and i have used it like you said and then can i use coconut oil? What can i do? Help please

    • Oh no, sorry to hear it happened to you. Leaving it on the face all night long was obviously too much for your poor skin. If you know that coconut oil works for you, use it, but if you’ve never used it on your face before, now is not the time to try. Coconut oil is a bit of a love or hate for people. Better to experiment once your skin is calm again. Hemp seed oil, pumpkin seed oil or shea butter would probably be the safest oils to try for now. xx

  32. Since my makeup reaction some 3 months ago now my rosacea has relapsed (having been great for the last 3 years) and my skin is totally intolerant and sore and burning and raw and flushing all the time. I’m mentally /physically/emotionally drained. I feel disgusting not being able to wash my face. If I try and just lightly wipe my skin, I’m left in a whole world of pain for days after. So I do nothing except rose water. I feel like I’m exisiting…not living and the once happy girl was….isn’t there anymore. The anxiety and sadness I feel is fueling the burning and the intolerance…my relationship is suffering as I don’t want to be socialising…nothing is changing 🙁

    • Lynne–

      Reading this article by Vita totally saved my face, but now I cannot do ANYTHING besides use rosewater, a gentle cleanser, and unscented lotion. I have tried using gentle glycolic cleansers by Derma E that I’ve used in the past and can’t anymore, it’s too harsh. I get patches of eczema and super dry skin if I deviate at all.

      Can I recommend a couple products that may help you?

      If you’ve never heard of Skin by Ann Webb, she is amazing. Everything she creates is in a base of aloe vera juice, in order to promote skin healing.

      This cleanser is fantastic. Cooling and soothing, you can use it as a mask, then rinse with cool water. Stop using a cotton pad with the rosewater. Get a spray bottle if you can and just spritz. Also, stay away from hot water as much as possible. Not even warm, use cool water. Skin cannot heal without adequate moisture, I use this unscented lotion on my face as well as on my daughters’ skin during the winter, as they get eczema starting in October. It’s the only thing that doesn’t sting!

      I also recommend arnica tablets. Since your reaction is so severe I would go straight to the 200c. If you don’t know about arnica and rosacea, just do some googling. Arnica is truly amazing.

      And finally, my holy grail product 🙂 Camu Camu powder. This stuff is amazing for your skin. I had a rash on my finger clear up in 3 days after starting the Camu Camu. I had no idea how effective camu camu was for skin until I tried it. I know vitamin c is essential but this vitamin c is so potent. I take 4 capsules a day.

      These are all products I use daily to keep inflammation down and help myself. You can get them on Amazon, or if you live near a good health food store. I live in Colorado and shop at Natural Grocers and they have everything I need there, usually for the best price possible.

      I am sorry you are so miserable. I know how it feels when your skin hurts and you don’t feel like yourself, nevermind attractive. It WILL get better. And I can’t stress drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, and getting enough sleep. Both of those things are paramount to reducing the amount of stress and inflammation in the body. If you aren’t sleeping well, take a sleep aid like unisom. Sleep and water are the two things people don’t take into account–they are so, so, so important. If you want to chat, I will reply.

      • Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post about my skin. It was very kind of you and I appreciate it so much.
        I literally can’t put any product on my skin. So creams etc are a no no.
        I only use a spray bottle of organic rose water.
        I’m at my wits end.
        I suffer from M.E/CFS so I have little energy as it is….my skin now seems to be all consuming and no one has any answers.
        I spent 2 years of my life 6 years ago, searching for help to my burning skin and intolerance……the only thing that helped was time and leaving my skin alone.
        I’m intolerant to supplements. My body just can’t tolerate meds or tablets…I’ve spent hundreds on them over the years and they only made me sicker and end up broke.
        I want to just listen to people like Vita who say it will get bettter….and accept it will. But it’s hard when you’re in so much pain and it never goes and as a woman, not washing my face I feel disgusting…in a sociaety based on how one looks…and the fact I’m usually wearing makeup (before the current flare happened) people look at me in shock, like I’ve got two heads…now I’m bare faced and showing my horrible rosacea truth.
        My hope is that this is just a bad flare…….I’ll weather the storm and it will pass…
        Lynne xx

        • Lynne, have you ever looked into low stomach acid? It’s very closely linked to rosacea and also inability to tolerate supplements as far as I remember has something to do with it. There is a great book about it called “Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You” by Jonathan Wright. If you have ever had low iron, low vitamin B12, GERD, silent reflux, zinc deficiency, bloating, onstipation, IBS they are all due to low stomach acid. It’s incredible how everyone is brainwashed to believe that they have too much stomach acid, when in reality they don’t have enough and can’t break down food properly, which leads to anything from nutrient deficiencies and chronic fatigue to skin issues and autoimmunue issues. Please look into it. Another thing I would look into is your hormonal balance. Estrogen dominance could also be a probable root cause. Remember, rosacea is just a symptom of something much bigger and much deeper inside. Once you find the root cause and correct it, not only will your skin clear up, but you’ll get your energy back as well. Keep searching and don’t give up! It’s just a phase. I’m always here if you need me. xx

    • Lynne, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Please try not to let it take over your life. I know it must sound ridiculous at this moment, but your skin really doesn’t define you. It’s just a phase that will pass, I promise. One thing I really want to say is that whatever we do to our skin topically is a great help, but it can’t really do much because it all comes from within, mainly the digestive tract. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. There is a very strong link between rosacea and low stomach acid. Please google it, there is a lot of information about it. If you have low stomach acid (and most of us do nowadays) your body will be deficient in nutrients, plus you’ll be plagued with lots of issues like bacterial overgrowth, candida, etc. Restoring your stomach acid with things like Betaine HCL and Pepsin, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, digestive bitters, etc. could be just what you need to solve this riddle. I really hope your skin will be happy again soon! xx

  33. Hello vita,

    I have oily skin but only at forehead and nose . I m really prone to whiteheads and blackheads. A few months back i started using clinique cleanser for acni prone skin . It removed dirt a lot so i was using that cleanser every day . I think i used it too much and opem pores started appearing on my cheeks side to my nose and pores also started becoming more prominent. I stopped using that and switched to ocm . I read your blog and watched videos. Its very nice . However i heard a lot that ocm didn’t work for many people with oily skin and they got cystic acne after 2 3 weeks of use . I did ocm every second or third night from beginning. I used caster oil and olive oil rati 20 to 80 . Skin doesn’t dry out. However i started getting more whiteheads on foreheads and area under my eye also have white bumps . They were there before too but they are not going away. I feel that many whiteads are unclogging but not from nose . Instead on nose some unclogged but little pimples or red spots something like that are appearing. Its been almost one month since i m using ocm not more than that.
    I m really confused whether to continue ocm or not . I m really scared if getting pimples because I rarely grt them on face but bleakheads and whiteads on nose and forhead are real issue. Please guide me how should i clean my skin and what should be my skin care routine. Because i am university going student so i m outside all day which puts alot of dirt on my skin especially because its oily on nose and forhead.
    I will be very thankful .

    • Hi Mahrukh, I remember I tried the Clinique cleanser a long time ago before I went all natural. It was so irritating! It’s highly astringent and it’s the last thing you need when you have sensitive, acne prone skin (all acne prone skin is sensitive skin). The first thing you need to do is never ever use anything for acne prone or oily skin. Yes, OCM is a bit of a hit and miss. Some people swear by it, some people hate it. Personally, I haven’t used it for months and I don’t think it’s paramount for healthy skin anymore. What happens inside your body is so much more important than whatever you do topically.

      It could be that your skin didn’t like that much stimulating because doing the OCM every second or third day is too much. It could also be that your skin didn’t enjoy the oil residue that remained after the cleanse. Perhaps try to wash it off with a natural soap afterwards. I’ve come to believe that simply washing with water and occasionally with a muslin cloth as well as moisturising with an oil afterwards, plus giving yourself a little massage while you apply the oil, is the best approach. I also really enjoy using a coffee scrub once a week or so (just use ground coffee remains). It’s very gentle and effective. If you use makeup, just wipe it with a damp cotton pad and a few drops of oil, then rinse with water and muslin cloth. It’s super quick and easy. Yet doesn’t clog or irritate skin. Less is really more when it comes to skin. xx

  34. Dear vita,
    Thanks for this post, I have done all u have said for 6 months, I must say i’m glad I did, except I haven’t been able to get rose water… my skin, before it was exfoliated was “normal skin” but now it is excessively oily I’ve to clean oil from my face as much as 10 times in a day and my pores are large….. wanted to confirm if using rose water as a cleanser instead of just water would bring about the normal ph balance and oil balance of my skin (facial skin) and tighten my pores?

  35. Hi vita,

    Thank you so much for this post!!! It has explained so much of what I have encountered. I’ve never had a major breakout until early this year. It has been disastrous. What’s worse, to respond to this breakout, I seem to have over-exfoliated my skin. I am quite young, 21, and I used to have a radiant, smooth skin. However, after the breakout (I think due to the tremendous stress I dealt with early this spring), I purchased my Clarisonic brush, hoping that this will help to control my acne. I used it vigorously twice a day. Without too long, my skin felt hurt when I was using the brush. However, being such a novice in caring for my skin, I thought my skin would deal fine with it and continued using the brush for another 3 months and more. During this time, my skin started to become really grainy with this sand-paper quality. There are just so many mini-pimples that aren’t noticeable unless I touch my face. My skin also feels redder than before, even with tiny red veins visible on my cheeks. My breakout continued to September this year, and I decided to consult a dermatologist. I got some prescriptions, and they worked. I also only use very light skincare routine nowadays, using Avene spray and pure rosewater as my “water” and moisturizing with basic face cream. However, the red veins and the mini-pimples are still there on my face. I oftentimes felt very sad that I used to have really good skin but I destroyed it. I’m wondering whether this damage is permanent? And, because my skin is quite oily, if I were to choose a face cream, would you recommend shea butter or oil or some other products?

    Thank you so much!!!

    • Hi Angel, skin is able to regenerate very successfully. Just give it time to recover and you won’t even notice how gradually it will balance itself out again. I’d say that shea butter is better for drier skin, but during the winter most skin can feel dry, so it might work. Pumpkin seed oil or rosehip oil would be my two favourite oils for oilier skin. xx

  36. Hi Vita
    You truly are a wonderful person for helping all these people out. I’m a 20 year old college student and I had been over exfoliating my skin for two months but didn’t notice until scrubbing vigorously with my dove soap rendered my skin extremely red and uncomfortable and unfortunately for the next month I did not stop using my axe body gel in the shower and tretinoin prescribed for me. But now I have realized my error and halted the use of both. I was wondering if my recent routine of showering with cold water and a ph balanced cleanser and drinking a lot of water should do the trick also I have noticed a lot of oil and white heads since I’ve been doing this which from reading other comments seems pretty typical. I’ve also been getting a lot of dandruff too which could be from stress or shielding my face from the sun which is helpful as you said. I also have been eating very healthy too. My dermetologist also said I should keep taking my monocycline prescription pills This has been a very stressful time with this problem coming at the end of the semester and right around the Holidays and I would appreciate your help thank you

    • Hi Connor, I’m so sorry about such a late reply. Over-exfoliation does usually come with whiteheads. It’s like your skin saying “stop, I’ve had enough”. However, it’s also very much to do with your overall health and digestion. Nothing helped to heal my skin completely until I healed my digestion and fixed my nutrient deficiencies. I think in your case just following a very simple regime of rinsing with cool water and moisturising with a couple of drops of oil would be a great plan for recovery. Less is really more when it comes to skin. Happy New Year! xx

  37. Hi! May I ask, is it okay if I put coconut oil on my irritated / over exfoliated face after washing it? Will it somehow heal my skin and let it go back to being healthy? Your answer would really help. Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Nick! Some people swear by coconut oil, some people hate it. It’s just a matter of trial and error. I personally find it drying after a while and my skin certainly doesn’t appreciate it. I swear by vitamin E oil, rosehip oil, sunflower oil, and pumpkin seed oil. These are great choices for irritated and dehydrated skin at the start. xx

  38. Hi. I wrote on here last year with an out of control intolerant face from a makeup reaction. It aggrovated a huge rosacea flare and now my skin, 5 months on is no better. I can’t do a thing with it. If I so much as wipe it, I’m left with intense burning, sore skin. I’m at my wits end. All I do is wipe my eyes with bottled water in the morning and gently wipe with rose water once a week or so as I can’t cope with the pain afterwards…but I also can’t cope with having a disgusting dirty face. I feel so desperately unhappy. How is a woman supposed to copw out in the orld with a dirty face? My routine was as most women cleanse, moisturise, makeup, hair…and ready for the day and life. Now I feel totally lost. This happened to me in 2009. I ended up having a breakdown. It took 2 years to be able to tolerate anything on my face. I didn’t leave my flat for 2 years. Back then I was single and didn’t have much of a life so I could hide. Now though I’ve come so far and made a good life and have a partner and a family…what do I do now?! I can’t stand my bare ugly face. I’m used to foundation covering it, covering my red horrid rosacea face…my self confidence and how I was able to face the world has gone. I’m really frightened it won’t get better. Every day all I think about is my face. I’ve tried so hard to think ‘it’s happened…so accept it’ but it’s there every time I look in the mirror. I’ve tried everything! 🙁

    • Hello Lynne, I’m so sorry to know you’re still struggling. I wish I could do something to help, but at least I want you to know that I’m thinking of you and sending you my hugs. If your rosacea went away the first time, it will probably go away again. You just have to wait it out. But in the meanwhile, I’d look into your overall health, diet, and lifestyle if I was you. Skin health comes from within and there might be some kind of imbalances, nutrient deficiencies or food intolerances causing these issues. Skin doesn’t freak out like this for no reason. Excess sensitivity of the skin is just a sign of a bigger problem inside. Have you ever tried to eliminate certain foods that are known to cause health issues one by one and see what happens? I would try gluten, dairy, and fructose first (look into something called fructose malabsorption). As wrong as it may sound at the moment, try to look at it as at a sign from your body, as a message it’s desperately trying to send you, and I promise you there will be a moment in the future where you will look back and realize that your skin troubles were a blessing in disguise because they guided you to a better health. Skin issues are a relatively kind first sign (I know it may sound very wrong right now and remember I’ve been there), which is so much better than serious, life-threatening diseases. Try to look at it like that. Nourish your body from within and the skin will soon follow. Remember I’m here if you need support. I have my electricity back, so I’ll be able to reply normally now. xx

      • Dear Vita,
        Thank you so very much for replying to another of my posts. It’s so kind of you to offer your support and it’s appreciated hugely. I’ve been reading your replies to other people who are so upset about their skin. That skin will and does heal. I think this is what I’m so terrified about. My skin is so reactive and intolerant since my reaction. I have rosacea which makes skin so sensitive and reactive. I think I’ve overloaded it too much with makeup over the years trying hard to stick to organic but when my skins been fine for years, I got complacent. Since my foundation reaction last year, my face hadn’t been the same since and I can’t use anything on it at all. If I do, I’m left with burning pain and itching which is very distressing. Not being able to wear makeup anymore now (I don’t know if this will be permanent?) is the worse thing. I’m having to have counselling to help me cope. I know this sounds so silly but wearing makeup gave me confidence and helped me cope massively with other illnesses I suffer from that have made my body physically disabled all my adult life. I guess I thought ‘well I’m not able to do anything physically but I still have what I look like’ and that’s what I focused on. Without it, the confidence it gave me and ability to love my life, accept the illness I suffer by using makeup, I feel lost and broken. Plus the fact I just don’t feel like ‘me’ anymore. I’ve asked all my friends and they all say they’d rather die than not be able to wear makeup! I feel awful around them, all dolled up and my face is bare and red. I know I’m more than my skin but that’s easier said than done in our society. How long does it take for skin to heal and stop being reactive? How do you know when it has healed without ‘testing’ a product with fear of reaction again? Will I be able to tolerate makeup again or has my skin just had enough? I’m trying so hard to be positive and am adopting a gentle ‘do nothing’ skin regime. Thanks for all your help. Sorry to bother you again. I’m just so frightened. It’s really affecting my social life…well, my whole life if I’m honest. 🙁

        • Lynne, I understand what you’re going through. I truly wish I could hug you and be there for you when it gets really tough. I know it’s easy to say it’s just skin, but it’s really not just that. It affects our confidence so much. Strangely enough, when I accepted my skin with all of its acne and redness and peeling, it’s actually the moment when it started improving. I kind of subconsciously stopped hating my skin and stopped putting so much pressure on it. All I can say is that perhaps a few years down the line you’ll be able to look back and understand the reason why you had skin issues. Perhaps you’ll find it was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it will lead you to the answers or root causes for other health issues. Perhaps it will lead you to the most profound health. Perhaps it will lead you to the most unconditional love for yourself. Don’t give up, it will get better. It takes a long time for the skin to recover. My skin was still dry and super sensitive for the first year or even two. It’s much more resilient now but even now it can get temperamental. However, with each passing month it gets less and less reactive. Healing is a slow process, but it’s rewarding as long as you see movement in the right direction. Hugs! xx

  39. Hi there!

    I am wondering if you have a fix for “dehydrated” skin. My skincare routine has been simplified greatly since I over-exfoliated my skin with the oil cleansing method over the summer (ended up with huge cystic acne and now a LOT of scars to heal). Now I only wipe with rose water/cotton pad, mist some rose water on my face and then apply a creamed shea butter/grapeseed oil as a moisturizer. Oil cleanse once a week.
    What i’m having trouble with now is deydrated skin. So my skin feels soft/moist to the touch, but it’s plagued with a scaley texture, thin-feeling skin, clogged pores, flakes if i scrape it, and it feels tight. I regularly exfoliate about 1-2 times a week depending on if i need it (oil cleansing once a week counts as a form of exfoliation).
    I did research and learned my skin must be lacking water. I’m not sure how to put more water into my face without drying it out some more. AKA: i don’t know of any all-natural remedies for this other than a humidifier – which I have been using for about a week now.

    Do you have any suggestions for this? Should my face be more wet before applying my shea butter/grapeseed oil moisturizer in order to lock more moisture in?
    I don’t want to revert back to a chemical moisturizer but I am feeling really desperate.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Bella, I still remember days when my skin was badly dehydrated and tight. It’s really not fun and so uncomfortable when even speaking or smiling makes it feel like it’s burning or is going to crack. The only thought that came to my mind is that perhaps grapeseed oil is too drying for you. It certainly was for me. Maybe try to use shea butter alone. Also, you could try to rinse your face with filtered water instead of wiping with rosewater. A cotton pad is still exfoliating a little, plus some people react to rosewater. It could be a good idea to strip the routine to a bare minimum and see how it goes. It might make it easier for your skin to sort itself out and find its natural balance. Personally, I love just rinsing my face with water and applying some oil for moisture. Nothing beats it. I don’t even use rosewater anymore. Definitely worth trying.

      Looking back at my past when I was struggling with dry skin, I realize that whatever I was doing to my skin topically did help a little, but not much and definitely didn’t help it profoundly until I got healthier on the inside. When I ate low carb on the Paleo diet and later when I ate gluten, my skin was horrible. Once I quit the Paleo diet, but remained gluten free, my dryness disappeared. I’d definitely suggest looking into your diet, finding what works for you, and checking for any nutrient deficiencies or food sensitivities. Beautiful skin comes from within. P.S. I always apply oil with totally wet hands. so the skin is able to trap a lot of water. If my hands aren’t wet enough, I definitely feel the difference. It’s huge! xx

  40. I’m in need of great help! I’m having an anxiety attack as I type. I’ve been doing 20 percent salycilic peels at home once a week for 12 weeks with no break. Also using a neutrogena cream cleanser with salicylic acid and a glycolic wash which is supposed to be gentle- I’ve been on atralin and benzaclin sporadically. I have congested skin that is oily and dry and I’m afraid I have permanently thinned my skin!!!!!! It’s crinkly and dry but yet I’m still breaking out. I have yet to find a face wAsh that doesn’t break me out. Please please help me. What products do I need to get? Have I caused permanent damage?

    • Hi Melissa, so sorry you’re going through this. First of all, I know it’s hard, but be kind to your skin. Give it all the time it needs to recover and don’t get angry with it, don’t blame it for what happened. Just wait it out. There is nothing permanent when it comes to skin. Healing doesn’t have limits. It might take a while, but your skin will get back to its normal thickness and health, as long as you start treating it with respect. Try to do a so called caveman regimen, where you use nothing but filtered water and moisturise with oils. You can also use a soft muslin cloth or washcloth very gently for exfoliation, but not every day. There is really no better than just minimizing your return as much possible, so that the acidic mantle can rebuild itself. xx

  41. Hello,
    Due to the semi-sever nature of my acne and acne scars, I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to fix my condition. After # days of exfoliating, my skin is actually better but my black spots still remain. Apart from the black spots still being there, my forehead and my eyebrow region have this dry scaly appearance, which feels very leathery. i believe its because of a cleanser I used immediately after exfoliating my face. I have a major event in 2 weeks, and I would like to know what I can do to fix my condition (without a lot of products).

    • Hi Sylvia, I’d say the first thing is looking into your diet. This sort of skin issue (or all kinds of skin issues really) point to some kind of nutrient deficiency, food intolerance, wrong food, etc. Also I would go a bit easier on the exfoliation. Exfoliating so much is detrimental to the health of your skin. Try to be as minimalistic with your routine as possible and your skin will rebalance. However, there is no quick fix. Nothing ever is when it comes to health or skin. xx

  42. hiii! my face looks grey after washing n I’m not sure if I’m over exfoliating.
    As I was recommended by a lot of people I started using gram flour but it began to dry out my skin so i stopped using it . lately I went back to using
    it once a week n began to regularly moisturizing it. My concern is , wat is it tht s making my face alone look like zombie skin! can someone help me!

    I use a mild cleaner , also rosewater glycerin moisturizer (Diy) everyday. someone helllpp!

    • I would look into your inner health. Grey skin is due to nutrient deficiencies rather than your skincare. No matter what you do topically, it’s not going to affect your skin much if you aren’t eating right or if you are eating something you’re intolerant to. xx

  43. Micheal Gibson says

    This is very informative. I’m very young only 18 and my eyes sag and I already have wrinkles and my face is very bumpy and hot. But I’ve been using all these different products for many years not knowing how they work and absolutely killing my face. I just took a cold shower last night without putting anything on and my face felt very refreshed. I’m excited to see if new skin appears in 28 days and I am very optimistic. I just have one question.

    How do you recommend I clean the sweat off my face after working out? Is it just a cold shower?

    • You can also use warm water, just make sure it’s not hot. Kind of on the lukewarm side. I find that for me it removes enough sebum and dirt after a workout or a long day hiking. If your skin isn’t too sensitive, you can also try to wipe with a muslin cloth, but I wouldn’t do it every day and I wouldn’t try it if your skin was seriously over-exfoliated right now. xx

  44. Hi vita,

    I once had smooth and good looking skin till age 16 but somthing went completely wrong and I start having pimples on my face ….I used to use face creams before that ,I thought the probable reason of my pimples was due to the face cream blocking my pores of my young skin……!! Now I m 18 I still have pimples on my face ,the pimples started leaving marks on my face so I decides to exfolicate my skin to reduce the marks and redness caused by the pimples using skin exfoliating face wash ..the face wash works perfect and pimples started to reduce..except some 1 or 2 pimples coming out with time…..I have been using the face wash for about 3 months and I start experiencing thinning of my facial skin near my nose and redness starts to form and I start have burning sensations…my skin becomes rough and dead PLIZ help!!!

    • Hi Oliver, I think the answer can be very simple. Just try to use that exfoliating face wash less frequently, like once or twice a week, rather than every day. You’ll still get all the benefits but without thinning of the skin and without over-exfolating. xx

  45. Sue Henderson says

    I used black soap and an exfoliating scrip pad. Then put store bought moisturizer with sunblock on my face. I hadn’t looked in the mirror. When I finally did, I was horrified. My entire face is red. It looks burnt with huge blotches all over. There are no raw areas. It’s not burning now. Only a little burn when I applied the moisturizer. Along my laugh lines is slightly irritated and on my eyelids. Will the red turn to brown spots? All I have available is hydrocortisone cream and pure organic coconut oil. However, I will buy whatever you suggest. I just really want my face to go back to normal. Please help

    • Hello Sue, I really hope your skin is already doing better. It doesn’t sound like a very serious irritation and whenever I had something similar, my skin just gradually recovered without leaving brown spots. Of course, stay away from the sun while it’s healing. I wouldn’t use hydrocortisone. It’s far from natural. Coconut oil is great if you’ve used it before and know that works well for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t risk because coconut oil is a bit of hit or miss for people. The safest oils I’ve found are pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E oil, possibly argan oil. In general, just try to rinse your face with filtered water and do as little to it as possible. It will soon be back to normal. xx

  46. Hi Vita,
    It’s been almost 4 long months and I have not fully recovered. I’m tired of this affecting me so I am now only washing my face once a week. I have not picked any pimples and I have been eating healthy but I just really hope my face does not scar it would kill me. I withdrew from school to deal with this against my parent’s commands. I am not using any products and installed a humidifier in my room to give my skin more moisture. Do you have any tips to hasten the healing process. I turn 21 in May and I would love nothing more for this to be behind me by then

    • Hi Connor, I’m so sorry to hear you’re still struggling. Unfortunately, your skin depends very much on your digestive health than what you do to your skin topically. So if you’re not seeing any improvement, perhaps it’s worth looking into what you’re eating? Health foods for one person might be poisons for another person. Do you have digestive issues at all or constipation etc.? xx

  47. Hi! Do you think these tips would work on the body as well? I have a bunch of bumps on my leg from getting a little over zealous with my body scrub. They irritate me sometimes but for most part are just annoying to look at..

  48. Hi, what are your thoughts on emu oil to heal damaged skin? Does it work? Will it clog pores?. Your post has really summed it all up in terms of why my skin has gone crazy, scrubs and ocm, turned it into a frightful sight. Thank you for taking the time to help others!! 🙂

  49. Hello, MY name is Cylvia for the past 2 year i have been going under alot of stress, divorce, single parenting and many many other things. I’m olny 29 and i have already developed malesma , under eye wrinkles I have acne big pores and now i develped rocea. All this has me really depressed, I no longer interact with my friend anb now I’m starting to isolate my self from everyone exept my 7 years old. What would you recomend. I have heard of liver flushes but I have lost alot of weight that i’m now scared that i will lose some more. Please help I’m a mess

    • Hi Cynthia, so sorry that you’ve been through so much in the last couple of years. Your body has definitely taken a hit from all that stress and I think the first thing to do would be trying to reduce the stress. Meditation and yoga or any gentle exercising would help a lot. Also finding some kind of hobby, like knitting, drawing, etc. where you can completely immerse yourself and forget about your troubles. Stress usually also makes your immune system weaker, which often makes your body more susceptible to candida and all kinds of opportunistic bacteria, such as h. pylori. I personally have benefited a lot from mastic gum and wild oregano oil. They have fixed my digestion completely and have cleared my skin 100%. Your root cause might be different, but it’s definitely something to look into. Healthy, nourishing food and stress-reducing techniques, as well as some natural herbs and supplements can do wonders. xx

    • Oh, I forgot the liver flushes. I tried them in the past and I wouldn’t recommend them. But of course it’s just my personal opinion. I think they are well too harsh and can potentially disrupt the bacterial balance even more. Milk thistle tincture is a much more gentle way to improve the function of the liver if you need to. xx

  50. Andrea Stafford says

    I sent a seperate contact email but thought I would comment here too. Thank you so much for the tips and information. I believe I am suffering from beginning symptoms of
    Over exfoliation. My pores are very large and my skin is becoming sensitive but it’s not red and irritated yet. Just a few very small bumps are starting to appear so I am so happy to have found your blog. However, does this method to heal the skin help with melasma or hyperpigmentation and acne scars? Your skin looks flawless and I would love to have glowing and healthy and bear flawless skin too.

    • Hi Andrea! Healthy skin starts from within, so the first thing I would recommend is fixing the digestion and replenishing any nutrient deficiencies that you may have. Once you do that, you’ll often find that your skin heals by itself and any kind of skin discolourations and scars disappear rapidly. So that’s definitely the first line of defense. Then, using nourishing oils and not overexfoliating skin definitely helps to reestablish the acid mantle as well. It will gradually make your skin more resilient and should help with hyperpigmentation and acne scars. xx

  51. Hello!

    What about using a dermaroller once a month? I have seen so many great results from other people using this device(acne, sagging, wrinkle, discoloration…), they say it also benefits the skin with cummulative results, is it worth it or it is just destroying the skin acid mantle?

    • I have no idea, I’ve never tried it. What I can say though is that I would never try it myself because I don’t think healthy skin requires this kind of treatments. All it needs is correct nourishment from the inside and nourishing oils. xx

  52. Very helpful blog post! I got a pedicure today and the young lady exfoliated the top of my feet and I’ve been experiencing some burning but it’s improved since I left the salon. Quick question though… My husband and I are going to have couples’s massages this Saturday, should I just tell the massage therapist not to touch my feet? I read that you said even a gentle massage could exfoliate.

    • Hi Nichole, I’m sorry, I think I’m too late with my answer. Had some family matter to take care of and I just got back to working! How are your feet doing? How was the massage? I don’t think a gentle massage would be a trouble, especially if it’s with oils. Just apply oil on them every single day, don’t scrub them, and they should be fine in a week or two. xx

      • It’s fine, and the massages were great, thanks for asking. Hope everything is okay with your family! My feet are okay but I’m noticing that three of the scratches are scarring. I’m going to give her a suggestion not to do this to other clients. She used a pumice sponge on the top of my feet, which I’d never had anyone do that before and I’ll never let anyone do it again! What type of oil would you suggest?

        • Everything’s great with the family, thanks! We simply had my sister in law and niece visiting for a week. It’s so strange that she used a pumice stone on the top of your feet. Such a strange idea! So glad that your skin has recovered now. xx

  53. Hi! So thankful that I found this post! It has proven so helpful already.
    So as it turns out I have been over exfoliating my face for some time now. I don’t have acne prone skin and over all it is pretty low maintenance. I washed my face every morning and most nights. I started using exfoliating wipes every other night to really get in and take off of my makeup. Seemed very intuitive to try and rub off the dead dry flaky flaky skin– but it kept coming back. Eventually my face started feeling tight and uncomfortable and just dryyyyy. Now I know it’s 100% from over exfoliating my face.
    Since I’ve self diagnosed this I’ve stopped wearing makeup and sarted applying cold pressed avocado oil on my face constantly (has proven to be the best oil for my skin in the past) and a bit of the hydrating dermalogica toner spritzed on my face as it’s helped in the past. Now my skin is starting to flake pretty badly I’m assuming this is a step of healing my shiny gross scary skin and it needs something to cover the new skin while its forming but like…. When can I remove it! It’s driving me crazy! I’ve been at it for like 4 days now. It’s definitely improved but my skin still isn’t producing oil on its own. Any guidance?

    • Over exfoliating for like probably 4 months or so

    • Hi Molly, you just need to give it time. That layer of dead skin will eventually come off, but if you take it off by exfoliating, the process is just going to repeat itself over and over again. Perhaps give it a couple of weeks and you can start wiping with a soft muslin cloth and that should be more than enough exfoliation. Those exfoliating wipes can be so nasty! xx

  54. Hi and thank you for your post. I was prescribed tretinoin by a med spa dermatologist for my dermatitis and I ended up over using it which over exfoliated my entire face. What’s worse is that I got sunburned on my face when I went on vacation! After I got back I just let it heal on its own but I am still faced with scars and blotchy skin color. It’s now been a couple of years since this happened but my skin has never been quite supple, even toned, or healthy looking since the incident. I know it’s no longer over exfoliated but it still looks unhealthy, dull and fragile. Any suggestions?

    • The only suggestion I have is try to transition to natural skincare and oils. It’s the only way to have truly balanced, healthy skin. If you continue using chemicals, it will never truly recover. Good luck! xx

  55. Hi dear, I find ur blog so helpful. I did a facial treatment for myself where I used head2toe pumpkin peel that contains 30%glycolic acid after which I used this ancient clay mask which is a combination of (fuller’s earth,bentonite,French green clay) but I added a very large amount of “L-Ascorbic acid fine Granular Powder” to the mask and it real was burning and itching badly when I applied it but I wanted it to stay for a while so that my face would absorb the mask a little but it got to a point that I couldn’t take it so I started to remove the mask as I did this,I noticed little rashes and serious redness on my forehead,at the sides of my nose and sides of my face and it’s burning seriously. And I have done this procedures of facial on my face before and never experienced this,the only change this time was that I let the peel stay longer and I added much more l-ascorbic acid this time. Pls is there any thing wrong with this procedure? Pls I need ur help what do I do to stop this burning and redness to avoid a dark patch.

    • You really don’t need to abuse your skin so much. Treat it gently and it will respond by being beautiful. Your skin has sent you a very clear signal, so now all you have to do is listen. I’ve shared all of my best tips on how to heal over-exfoliated skin in this blog post. If you apply them, your skin will recover in a while. I really hope you’ll be more careful next time! xx

  56. Most DEFINITELY!!!! It took me such a long time to realize that, which is very unfortunate for my skin. All these cosmetic brands do such a good job programming you into buying their stuff and doing all these unhealthy things to your skin. Some of them have covert ‘agents’ on youtube pushing their products, which you’d never ever suspect. I bought into it and tried p-a-u-l-a’s c-h-o-i-c-e products and, oh my gawd, they destroyed my skin. It turned dull, dry, and the ugliest shade of gray. As you said, it’s very difficult to find any real information online on the subject:( Thank you for the article and the rose oil recommendation and more importantly for the push to stop exfoliating and washing my skin for a bit until it heals!! It’s a scary thing to do when you’ve been brainwashed by all these commercials. I think I’ll only use organic cold pressed oils to moisturize when the skin feels dry and to lightly cleanse my under eye area in the morning (with oils) and nothing else.
    Do you think it’s ok not to exfoliate your skin at all? Men don’t and they generally have no skin problems if they are on healthy diet. Also do you think it’s a good idea to apply probiotics to your face, like breaking open the capsules you’d take internally and mixing it with oils and applying it to your face?

    • Hi Anna, it’s the cosmetic companies’ job to make you want to buy the products and to make you hooked. If they don’t success, there will be no business. If their products actually helped the skin, it would actually just heal and you wouldn’t need the products anymore, but that’s not the case unfortunately. They want repeat customers! YouTubers covertly or openly advertising products they don’t even use makes me mad all the time because all of the viewers really do believe that if they buy those products, they will get their skin. It’s just sad! Paula’s Choice was a nightmare for me, too. I dislike that brand so much (or any chemical brand if you ask me). I don’t conventionally exfoliate my skin at all. All I do is massage some oil into my skin every night and then take off the excess with a paper napkin. That’s it! The oil takes off any dead skin cells that are ready to be removed and I wouldn’t use anything else. Perhaps just a damp muslin cloth from time to time. I’ve never tried applying probiotics on the face, but I did apply kefir, which I guess is the same thing (plus the benefits of lactic acid). It’s probably worth trying, although if you nourish the skin and stop taking the protective layer off, the bacteria will balance naturally very quickly anyway. xx

      • Thank you:) Muslin cloth is probably the best idea for me right now. I thought of getting ground adzuki beans, but muslin is much better.
        I have actually used only all natural skin care products for the last 4 years, but those guys are really clever, they really dupe you into believing that their products are the real deal and the only thing that will help get rid of the blackheads:(

  57. Such a great article! I could definitely use your help. I have known for awhile now that my skin is overexfoliated but it is SUCH a hard cycle to break. I am addicted to that freshly-exfoliated, soft feeling – even though I know it is never allowing my skin to heal. But if I don’t exfoliate in some way daily, my skin feels so rough and scaly within a matter of minutes after cleansing my face normally. It is so uncomfortable and unnerving that I end up caving in and exfoliating it anyway. It always feels like the dead skin is clogging my pores and trapping the oil. It’s especially hard to break the habit because I wear makeup almost every day (to cover acne scarring) against my own better judgment and removing it generally requires a mild exfoliation (a cleansing oil and a soft washcloth) or at least more cleansing. I know my skin is so fed up because it is constantly trying to produce more skin cells to repair itself, causing the scaly feeling. How do I break this cycle in a way that is bearable for someone like me who can’t stand going out with rough skin and no makeup? Do I just have to suck it up? If so, how long do you think it will take? Maybe I could ease into the process gradually in some way?
    I also use a micellar water on a cotton pad sometimes to remove makeup, followed by a natural cream cleanser. Since thats not as exfoliating, would you recommend I stick to that instead of the OCM?
    Water definitely dries out my skin. Tap water, at least. Even when I try to keep water from hitting my face, I still walk out of showers with scaly skin. Which specific shower filter would you recommend? I have one, but it’s 2.5 years old so I don’t think its effective anymore. It’s a shame there’s no filters for small sink faucets.
    I’m also very curious to try the shea butter to speed up the healing. Will that also prevent my non-exfoliated skin from feeling so dry and scaly? I didn’t think that was possible, since my skin will still want to protect my raw skin by producing new layers of skin. My skin is also very prone to acne and clogged pores, so I’m worried shea butter would clog it. But I’m hoping it will provide a smooth base under makeup while I go through the process (since I normally need the exfoliation for my makeup to go on smoothly).
    Sorry for all the questions! I would just love to hear your thoughts, because it’s so true how most people are overloading their skin and actually damaging it under the impression that they are helping it. Humans didn’t evolve to require sudsy cleansers and creams and exfoliation just to have good, clear skin – that would make no sense. I’m hoping I can become less and less dependent and eventually stop needing any of it!

    • Hi Rebecca, I’m so sorry about such a late reply. I got overwhelmed with comments while I was on holiday in my country. Now I’m trying to catch up.

      I think you can do the whole oil and washcloth routine daily for makeup removal but only if you do it gently, with warm water (not hot), and without a very long oil massage. In that way, your skin shouldn’t get overexfoliated, but it will still remove most of the annoying dead skin cells. The main thing to do here is looking deeper into your body and trying to find what’s causing these skin issues. Remember it all comes from within. Often, it’s some kind of mineral deficiency. I’d look into zinc, kelp (it contains iodine) and boron supplements. They’ve helped me a lot! Especially kelp. Iodine deficiency is a hugely common cause of acne.

      If you feel that tap water dries your skin out, just avoid it. Don’t rinse the face. Simply take a paper napkin and wipe all the makeup and oil off. It will be much more soothing and gentle for your skin. It works wonders for me during colder months when my skin is drier.

      Shower filters generally only last for 6 months, so yours is probably not effective anymore. It’s true that there aren’t any filters for sink taps. It’s a shame! But you can always wash your face in the shower or just bring a little container of filtered water from the kitchen or simply avoid water whatsoever! 😉

      Regarding shower filters, I had something similar to this one. It’s not very expensive and works well. They’re all very similar though.

      Shea butter is a great skin healer, but isn’t clogging either, so it’s great for acne-prone skin. It should provide lots of nourishment, but as I said above, the flakes will keep coming because there is something missing inside your body. You need to find what it is. You’re right that people weren’t made to use all of these chemical products. Just 50 years ago everyone had flawless skin and all they did was rinse with water occasionally. But they were also much more nutritionally replete compared to us. xx

  58. If I don’t keep up with exfoliation my skin gets so flaky… but now I’m thinking that I’m over exfoliating.. especially last week.. I exfoloated, Used rosehip oil, and then went in the sun.. pretty sure I had a reaction because I have flesh colored raised bumps all over where I really focused the exfoliating.. I’m getting good married next month.. what should I do? I havnt exfoliates I 8 days I want to so bad to get rid of all the skin I feel like I have.. how long should I wait until I exfoliate again?? CAn I just stop exfoliating all together and this will eventually just go away.. even tho it seems like it needs to be almost pulled out of my skin.. oh and I only wash with water and just started moisturizing with avocado oil. Please help!

    • Exfoliating and then going into the sun is a very bad idea. Plus, rosehip oil isn’t very good to apply on raw skin or on active spots. It’s only good for healing scars once the rawness or spots are gone. You can try to use a natural soap to wash your face, like an neem soap, Aleppo soap or an olive oil soap. It would take off a bit more dead skin cells, but without overexfoliating. Or try to wipe your face with a washcloth very gently. Finally, if your face is feeling dry, you can also try to omit water completely and simply wipe with a soft paper napkin. xx

  59. And one more thing, gentle exfoliation doesn’t get rid of what I have.. I literally have to wipe and wipe and wipe to get skin off.. feels smooth for literally a day and then bam.. back to rough.. if I just do gentle exfoliation it literally does nothing..

    • This soft of roughness is coming from within. Exfoliation won’t fix it because it will just keep coming back. You need to look into mineral deficiencies, mainly zinc, iodine (the best source is kelp in small doses), and boron. These three have been miraculous for me. xx

  60. Hey Vita!

    Thank you for the very concise post! I was wondering if you have a few extra tips for me though. So once I hit puberty, I started getting acne. Thankfully not the stubborn cystic types and honestly, I was never too bothered by them since they’d disappear a few days later. However, it was not until I got into my late teens, early twenties (which is where I am now) that I noticed the pores on my cheeks and nose were huge but clogged simultaneously. I’ve also got hyper pigmented scars (some from picking pimples but some I’ve noticed are there without me even touching the pimple, they just seem to get dark?!) and a few bumps here and there. I tried the OCM method and at first it really helped with the blackheads and clogged pores on the nose but I’ve noticed the pores on my cheeks would get bigger. After research I’ve now attributed the big/clogged pores to me over exfoliating without realising. I’ve realised my skin was probably so oily only because I’ve stripped away the essential moisture. So I’ve now toned down my skincare routine. I’ll wash with water in the morning, slap on a tiny amount of olive oil and if I’m going out, add another moisturising lotion and then makeup (I wish I had the courage to leave the house without it but unfortunately I don’t, yet). I’ll then take off my makeup with olive oil, rub a bit of it in until I feel the sandy bits come out (a bit like the OCM) and then wash my face with Neutrogena’s foaming cleanser, tone with Dickinson’s with hazel and moisturise with olive oil again. I’ll do a clay mask with ACV maybe 2-4 times a month. I’ve also switched to eating much cleaner and drinking more water, exercising more and I’ve noticed a huge difference. My skin is much softer, the scars are fading (I’m assuming due to the olive oil) and sometimes my pores will shrink. However, it’s still not at the point where I’m comfortable with going out with a bare face. My pores are still extremely visible (to give you an idea, you can see them on camera if I take a photo with my phone) and they’ll sometimes be clogged after my makeup. Do you think I should tone it down even further? Apologies in advance for the extremely long post and thank you!

    • Hi Tash, I think your routine sounds great. I wouldn’t tone it down any more than that if it’s working for you. Now it’s time to focus your attention on your nutrition and lifestyle. Perhaps there’s something missing that’s causing those blocked pores. Common nutrient deficiencies related to acne are zinc, iron, iodine, and even certain b vitamins. I think I’ve completely cleared my skin now (before it was around 90-95% clear, now 99%). If it stays like this for a longer time, I’ll be sharing what cleared it up completely. I’m also literally watching my pores disappear in front of my eyes, but it’s too early to talk about it for now. xx

      • Thanks for the reply Vita! I’ve tried incorporating those extra supplements but it’s hard to tell what working at the moment and what’s not. I’m still sticking to the same routine daily. Sometimes I’ll wake up with much better skin but sometimes it looks worse. It’s frustrating because I can’t seem to figure out what’s causing it?!

  61. Do you recommend any specific brands of rosewater, Shea butter, and/or pumpkin seed oil(or other oils)? Also, I’ve never really used oil in my skin care regimen… How do you advise applying?

    • Hi Susan, I’ve linked to the rosewater, shea butter, and pumpkin seed oil in the post, but it really doesn’t matter which one you get as long as it’s cold pressed, unrefined, and organic. For instructions on how to use oils in your skincare regimen, read my Oil Cleansing Method post here and my current skincare routine here. It will give you lots of ideas. xx

      • Thank you for your response. I purchased 100% pure Moroccan rose water (by Elbahya), Australian organic pumpkin seed oil (by Botanical Beauty), and Unrefined Shea Butter (by Better Shea Butter). I’m trying not to rub or exfoliate, but I tend to get white, kind of prickly dead skin cells on my chin and around my nose when I do not rub when washing. Should I just leave them or lightly rub them off? Also, will this method help with hyperpigmentation (or PIH) and texture scarring from problems with skin peels, etc?

        • Hi Susan, did you mean that they are basically clogged pores, sort of like whiteheads sticking out? Wiping with a muslin cloth should provide plenty of exfoliation for those places. Also another thing you can try is cleansing those parts with a natural soap after cleansing with an oil (things like neem soap, Aleppo soap, olive oil soap, etc.). I believe it would help with hyperpigmentation and scars, simply because your skin would get more nourishment from the oils, plus it wouldn’t have to continuously rebuild the acid mantle after all the harsh treatments, so it would be able to use more energy on the repair of the surface. xx

          • They may be clogged pores. I notice them any time I stop rubbing when washing. They are just very narrow spots sticking out, but they look more like little strips of skin than white heads. (Not flakes, though.) I’ll try your recommendation; I so appreciate the guidance!!
            In regard to the damaged skin, which is my primary concern, do you recommend neem oil over Shea butter oil for healing?

          • Neem is great because it’s antifungal, shea butter is extremely healing and nourishing. They’re both really good for damaged skin, but depending on whether you need more acne treatment or damaged skin healing, you would choose one or the other. Or even better, combine them both together. xx

          • Is it okay to allow the Shea butter oil to sit on face over night (without patting off excess oil)? I’ve done it for a few nights now and it seems to be helping scars and hyperpigmentation, but I’m just curious what your thoughts are. Thank you!!

          • Or course! I do it myself all the time as well. Whatever isn’t needed will just get absorbed into the pillow case overnight. xx

          • Hey Vita,
            Just wanted to mention that when I initially visited your site, the product links would not load… As a result I tried to purchase products as similar to your descriptions as possible. Now, that the links are working, I have purchased the actual products you recommended and like them even better!!
            Thank you for your guidanc; it is so appreciated!!!

          • Hey Susan, I’m so happy that my product recommendations were helpful. It’s nice for me to earn a little commission that helps me run this site, but it feels so good to know that I also help others by recommending the best products. You’ve made my evening. Thank you! xx

  62. Hello,
    So for the past month I have used many differnt face masks and differnt face washes and I realized that I have been over exfoliating my skin after reading your article which was very helpful so thank you for that.
    I noticed that my skin is really red and has little bumps. I have a lot on my nose and cheeks and they are small white heads. My skin feels like sandpaper and you can see the bumps in the sunlight. I don’t know how to fix this problem and I was wondering if you could help me. I drink a lot of water and eat healthy but I just want my face to heal and it is stressing me out more that it is not healing. Please help I don’t know what to put on it or how to go about fixing to it to make it heal.
    Thank you so much for taking the time out to read this.

    • Hi Kish, your skin sounds like a classical case of over-exfoliation. Just follow the steps I outlined in the blog post and also perhaps check out my current skincare routine for ideas. Also don’t forget that healthy skin comes from within, so you really need to look into certain nutrient deficiencies that are known to cause skin bumps like this, from my experience it’s mainly zinc and iodine. Kelp supplements might be a great way to add some extra iodine (very important for healthy skin) and lots of trace minerals. Good luck! xx

  63. Hello there

    After reading your article I realized that I have been over exfoliating way too much. I have used multiple fast masks but organic ones but on top of that I used scrubs to wash my face. I noticed that my skin was really red and started to get bumpy but I thought I needed to scrub more to heal it. Well that just ended up with me having really dry skin on my nose and cheeks and very tiny whiteheads. So when I touched my skin it felt like sandpaper and you can feel all of the little bumps. I am not sure if I just have clogged pores or I just need to stop using all of the products and wait.
    I tried using coconut oil which I think made me break out more. I’m only 21 and I’m scared that I ruined my skin forever. I just want to go out and not streso about this. I have very clear skin until I used all these products. I have been really sad and I cry so much because I just want it to get better :(. Please is there anything I can do to help this problem. I stopped using products and have just been rinsing my face with water and putting aloe vera on before I go to bed. How long will this take to heal?

    • Hi Karish, skin really takes its time to heal, so you’ll need to be patient, but it will heal. Just be gentle. Aloe vera alone might not be hydrating/nourishing enough, so you might need to add some oil to it. xx

  64. Hello!

    My eye bags are stretched and thin from over exfoliation, will it tighten back if I stop and do the caveman regimen?

    Thank You!

    • It would help a lot, but also don’t forget that healthy skin needs to get all of the necessary nutrients to stay elastic and healthy, so make sure you eat a balanced, varied diet. xx

  65. Hello ma’am! I’ve just bumped into your blog. I’ve been searching for a good advice on what to do with my face. I am almost crying with what I am experiencing right now. My friend recommended a product (shark oil) for removing dark spots, clearing blemishes, acnes and whatsoever skin problems. Since she heard me complaining about my pimples (just a few, small ones). She told me that when she uses shark oil on her premature pimples, it fades and gives her clearer skin. So I went out and bought one small vial of shark oil as to test it on my pimples. I applied little amount of the oil on my pimples. At first application, I felt a sting but I ignored it thinking that maybe it was just a part of the treatment. I left it on my skin overnight. The following day, I woke up with my face feeling itchy and burning. When I looked at the mirror, the areas that I have applied on looked so red and irritated. I take antihistamines to prevent it from worsening, but it didn’t work. The following day, my face got worse. The areas affected started to spread a little inch as it was. And the redness got thicker and more red. My older sister told me to use atopiclair lotion to reduce the redness. I apply atopiclair on the affected areas three times daily. It is now my 3rd day on the atopiclair regimen plus the antihistamine. I could say that it already healed a bit. But it seems like my skin is starting to form a plastic-like layer on the affected area. My aunt told me to see a dermatologists for the right prescriptions. But I am afraid they might make it worse because I’m starting to see my skin get thinner and thinner. I am terrified. What can you suggest me? Will these plastic-like skin scar? I am starting to be depressed. Worst is that, it is on my face. 3 circular red scaly skin on my face. So embarrassing!

    • Hi Roselyn, I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. Don’t worry, that plastic-like layer is just a natural step of healing, you can’t really avoid it. The injured skin basically dies and dries out, while new healthy skin grows underneath, but don’t take that protective layer off or you’ll expose the new skin that’s not ready yet, which will just create another plastic-like layer. So just be patient and wait it out until it falls off naturally and you’ll be left with fresh, beautiful skin underneath. I hope you’ll be more careful next time and will listen to your skin’s cries more! xx

  66. Kristen Daniel says

    Hey Vita! You are a DOLL for posting this information….I just want to add that after I do my own micro-dermabrasion, I always use C Serum and watch the redness disappear! However, one night I went a little ballistic and thought I might be superwoman, and yeah, I over-exfoliated and my face hurt! I actually ended up using a hand-held treatment that many posters here wouldn’t have, but this tool really helped me….the Face FX…however, I would add that a very warm washcloth pressed on the skin, from one place to another, would be soothing. I make up etc. and stay out of the sun with a big hat!

  67. I heard that exfoliating skin is really good so I went from exfoliating once a week to like 4-5 times a week. One day I woke up and upper lip was burning a bit when I touched it but I took no notice and continued with the process anyway. I used creams on my upper lip and realised it was so sensitive to touch and it was stinging. Later on I looked at my face before bed and realised that it was dry and slightly darker than my usual skin. I’m really upset because just a few days ago my skin was nice and smooth and I’ve ruined it. Sudocrem usually sorts out any dry skin I get but I’m really self conscious about this and it’s really bothering me. I have cried a couple of times because I really wish I just left my skin alone and stopped believing everything I see on the Internet. The worst part about this is, I have school next Tuesday and I’m scared that they’ll be no improvements.

  68. Hello!

    First of all I am freaking out! I’ve always been the kind of person to leave my skin alone. A new ship opened by my work and the women convinced me that my skin was so oily and that my pores were really showing and that the solution was an exfoliating glove and soap containing olive oil, coconut palm and castor, essential oil blend. It was my first time ever and I think I exfoliated a little too hard. My face is on fire and the right side of my face is so red! I am in so much pain and I look horrible! I wish I left my face alone! Please please help as my birthday is in two days. Thank you!

    • Hi Reem, sorry I was on holiday and couldn’t answer until now. Hope you had a lovely birthday and that your skin is doing better. Over-exfoliation only needs time, patience, and gentle skincare and everything will go back to normal in time. There’s no quick way out. xx

  69. I just want to say thank you for this post. I knew next to nothing about exfoliation when I had a free facial at Nordstrom and was given samples to take home and try. They did not tell me which products had exfoliators in them nor warn me at all of the dangers. I woke up the next morning with a horribly swollen and irritated face. I have spent the past week trying to bring down the incredible swelling and heal the skin. I could not get the Moroccan Rose Water fast enough. So I went to Whole Foods and got Evan Healy Rose Petal Facial Tonic Hydrosol. I iced my face several times a day, took aspirin, and slathered pure cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil. These things are helping. Thank you for you for the guidance! What an ordeal. Not worth it!!!

  70. Hi Vita,
    Thank you for all your postings and keeping current with everyone. This is the first forum I have found where there are still current ordeals. I am 41 and in a guilt ridden panic about my face. Over the summer I used Ocean Potion SPF 50 sunblock and Banana (sooooo not for the face) Boat aerosol spf 50 on my face. Then I bumped it up to SPF 100. I work out hard and sweat a lot when I do and I didn’t have a great skincare regimen, just occasionally washed my face in the shower with the olay brush thing and some cleanser, no toner, and then lotion. I noticed by end of summer that my chin looked kind of bumpy and weird, I have a lot of clogged pores, and then I noticed how deep my smile lines were, I have lines on the outside and all but I knew that, but I’ve lost volume. But mainly, my skin had started burning a bit, and I think it was something different in the SPF 100 that kind of set it off. I went to a medispa my sister raved about because she had gone for a coloration and texture issue. She had a totally different experience. I went in, mentioned aging, and they didn’t even listen to me from then on they were trying to push Sculptra and Botox. I didn’t want that, I wanted to get a good skin care regimen like my sister did. I left with Tretinoin 1% and Melamin and Melamix (both Hydroquinone 4%). I was instructed to use the Tretinoin 2 days on 2 days off with no moisturizer on days I did it and to use two garden peas size drops. I only did this for 2 days and my face peeled off, and swelled and now I’m left with open pores further onto my cheeks and down my “sagging” ha, smile lines. I feel so upset and anxious and I’m afraid my aged skin will not repair. I had a facial for calming, but I still think it irritated my skin. It has been two weeks since using the tretinoin and I’m told that by now is when I will have seen all that it will do? I know the repair cycle is longer for someone my age. I have been trying to eat better, and by that, I mean, eating real food. I tend to supplement with protein shakes and not really get any true stuff. So while I have clinical grade omega 3, I am eating a lot of salmon, spinach, carrots, etc, and drinking tons of water. It is so hard to be patient. But basically, I tried to fix my burning face and it seems to now be a bit calmer after leaving it alone, however, I did use aquaphor on it and that seems to have clogged my pores, and there is a bumpyness that I see in some lights that are, I think zits too. I need to stop touching my face. I know, I just feel hopeless and mainly because of my age and thinking that my sunblock didn’t help me but hurt instead.

    • Hi Angel, I’m so sorry to hear about your ordeal. Unfortunately, you’ll need time and patience. You really need to stop doing things to your skin, including calming facials. They’re still irritating! Try the tips I listed in this blog post and I promise you that your skin will get so much better. There’s nothing that your body can’t repair when it comes to skin, unless it’s really deep scars, but that’s not your problem it seems. Just have faith and be patinet! Also Aquaphor is made of petrolatum as far as I know which basically suffocates your skin. Realing not a good idea when you’re trying to heal it. xx

  71. Okay, I wrote way too much, I’m sorry. I’m just so worried. My skin has that orange peel look where the pores are open and I feel like my skin needs so much moisture and I just don’t know how to get it without some irritation happening and then scarring or I don’t know what else.

    • Try shea butter. It’s amazing! That orange peel skin is just dead irritated skin that will eventually peel off and reveal much healthier skin underneath. xx

      • Even at 41 do you think my skin will heal itself and go back to what it was before I tried the Retin A or Tretinoin .1%? I was told it took the two weeks to show ultimately what it would do to my skin. I understand it has purged a lot, and it caused my skin to look dry, lined, and bumpy, so that, yeah, now, to me, I see a puffy orange peel look. It did not do this to my cheeks or any other place. But I’m told that’s because we move that area all the time. I have to stop staring at myself in the mirror and making faces and watching the lines and the pores and trying to determine if the lines are from pores or are they lines and none of them did I have before this Retin A. I’ve been given Bioelements suggestions and even that seems to irritate. I need to find this rosewater I suppose and what shea butter can I use? So far I keep getting huge zits on my face. Could be stress and I keep touching my face. I just feel doomed because of age and being in the sun, even if I used sunscreen. I have stayed out of the sun and am sticking to hats because even Cotz sunscreen seems to irritate my skin. But the Retin A did exfoliate right? That’s what happened when all that skin peeled off. I was told I still have a lot of dead skin on my face and clogged pores, but to just moisturize for now. I just need to find something that won’t irritate. Even aloe stung a bit but my skin isn’t red, just ugly right now.

        • That’s what Retin A do: exfoliate the skin and make it peel to supposedly reveal healthier skin underneath. BS if you ask me. Anyway, try any shea butter as long as it’s organic and unrefined. And age really doesn’t matter for recovery. If you give your skin all the tools it needs for repairs (the right nutrients from the food and nourishing oils), it has no other choice but repair itself. Just focus on feeding your body as well as you can. xx

  72. Hi, I too am suffering from over-exfoliation and I was wondering if you knew anything about Marula oil? I bought this (along with other products that I will be returning), but I’d like to keep this if you think it is good for moisturizing / to help in repairing my skin. Thank you!

  73. Hey I been looking all over on how to heal my skin. I didn’t know what was wrong with it I just thought that it would go away over time. But it hasn’t but reading your article I think I just over exfoliated it’s only right beside my nose on both sides the skin had piled off. And now it has dead skin over the spot so by reading what you said in the article that the dead skin is protecting the new skin underneath I leave it alone now. And I have one more question I’m not washing that spot but when I rinse my face off the skin kinda comes off should I just leave that spot dry. Thank you

  74. Kymani green says

    Hey I have this raw spot I had it since June and been trying to figure out what it was from. It’s right beside my nose on both sides. But after reading your article I think I just over exfoliated I’m leaving it be I’m not washing the spot at all and it has a bunch of dead skin over it. And as you had said that that dead skin is there for a reason it’s to Protect the new skin under it so I haven’t bothered it so it could heal properly. Would just like some feedback to let me know if I need to do anything else to help it heal thank you.

  75. Hi Vita!
    I think I have a serious redness on my face from irritating with benzoyl peroxide wash 5%. At first I just have some acnes at both jaws, but later I got 2,3 more, so I were worry about that and went to see my family doctor. He gave me doxycycline hyc 100mg, one tab per day and benzoyl peroxide wash 5%. After using 2 days, my skin immediately was burn when I were done with the first time washing in second day. I stop using any of those and went back to my doctor. Then, he allowed to me to make appointment with Dermatologists, but I had to wait almost 1 week because of my medical insurance. When I went to Dermatologists, they told me continue to take 1 tab per day, and give me tretinoin cream .05% using only at every night. I had started about almost 3 weeks, I got more pimples, my skin really reallly dry, peel, and redness. I am working so I need to wear make up on my face. I use Origin liquid and power but just light , I did not put to much. My skin right now is very very sensitive . It is immediately dryness even I just wash my face in 2 min. Today my face it turns to be really red, and all my pimples also more red too, I wish I could send to you the pictures about my face right now. Today, I just go to Ulta store and bought dermalogica ( skin hydrating boostes and multi active toner) . I think I should stop using tretinoin cream for awhile to avoid dryness. I just use dermalogica products and before going to bed, laying thin cetaphil moisturizer for face. When I do that, Does it help me reduce the redness. I have hard time for every day waking up and look my face. Crying not make me feel better? Could you please have any suggestions for my problem skin? I do not know how long my face skin not redness anymore, when I tought my face, it is really warm or even hot after using hydrating moisturize to keep water for my skin. I need to put some makeup on my face when I go to work, what I should do right now to deal with this? I am 25, female, and my skin is from oily to sensitive.
    I am so embarrassed when I go to school. I hope I am invisible and no one can see me.
    I need you, Vita.

    • Hi! I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. Try shea butter instead of a moisturiser. It’s the most healing thing on earth but it also doesn’t clog pores and prevents excessive oiliness. I’m sure you know by now what I think of all these chemical treatments: they do nothing else but cause even more damage. You need to look for the cause of your acne inside of your body and you also need to transition to the most natural and gentlest skincare regime ever. That’s the only way to rebuild the protective acid mantle of your skin. Stay strong! <3 xx

  76. Hi Vita, Of late dark spots are appearing on my face. Beautician s can’t get them away and doctors can’t too. I’m only 32 but look like 45. Please help.

    • Hi Ramya, I would first look into your nutrient levels because dark spots don’t just come out like this without any reason. Rosehip oil is really good at lightening dark spots, but I don’t know how much a topical oil would be able to help when the real solution is probably somewhere deeper in your body. xx

  77. yessss.. and im suffering it now as i type this.. the suspect was actually me and the morrocan bath scrubber.. and im such a hard headed fool that i over scrubbed to the point of having a stinging, painful scratch.. the thing is i hate dust with passion as i am allergic to it and suddenly we were swept with a thick fog of dust courtesy of the strong wind and fine sands of Abu Dhabi.. and as soon as i reached home i hit on the bathroom and the scrubber..

    im now regretting everything.. so a good person lend me a bottle of honey for a ‘soothing effect’ but i doubt its working.. ur advice is really a big thing for me.. and if my skin can scream at me, i bet it also has a punch accompanied into it.. GOD IT HURTS! ARGH!!!

    • Oh no, I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you. I can relate to the sand in the air. We get it from the Sahara desert and it gets everywhere! I feel it in my nose, in my lungs, on every single pore of my skin. Yuk! 🙂 Hopefully your skin is doing better by now. xx

  78. I have a quick question do you let the all the dead skin pill off by its self an then its healed or do you take it off your self after 28 days please respond

  79. Carrie Biggs says

    Hi – my mom stumbled across your blog while researching my current skin condition. Here is what is going on (or what I think). I was using a rodan and fields regimen for a year then my husband I went on vacation to Mexico. Not wanting to pack up all my product, I bought a travel size face scrub that had microbeads (I’m 32, not 16, so this is probably where it began). I used it for about a week then occasionally when I didn’t feel like going through the four step process of my old product. One day I noticed a rough patch on my cheek and assumed it was clogged pores. This is when I really went crazy (using scrubs, masks, other exfoliants trying to unclog my pores that were probably never clogged in the first place). Now I’m left with shiny skin, super enlarged pores, and an orange peel texture over the majority of my face. I’m so deeply depressed, I’ve become reclusive for fear of other people seeing me. Makeup only makes it worse. I saw a derm who gave me Vitacream but I’m honestly terrified to put anything else on my skin. For the past week I have been doing nothing but cleaning it with water from a water bottle with a cotton ball. Do you think that’s what I should be doing? I’m trying to leave it alone, and I’m scared that any product will irritate it since it seems everything as irritated it so far. What do you think? I really need emotional support right now as this is the lowest I have ever felt. Thank you for your time and your blog.

    • Hi Carrie, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. What you instinctively want to do is probably the best thing for your skin right now. You can also try pure rosewater instead of water for even more soothing. All you need is time now to bring balance back to your skin. Also don’t be afraid to apply some oil on your skin while still damp. It will help repair your skin. xx

  80. Okay i’m only 15 and yet my skin gets infected so easily! Since last month i had to this blind pimple and i picked on it leaving raw skin so i used hydrocolloid patches and the skin around became easy to peel. So when i removed the patch thinking there was a head. My finger pushed the skin right out leaving a much bigger hole , it was like 3 times of the previous one! I went to camp with a plaster on my face for 4 days but it didnt heal until i returned home and took 2 days to close at least 2-3 of the hole. Recently it was just red and alittle dark, also a bump on that healed area. I got annoyed with it and exforliate that bum. Once i got out of the shower i realized my skin was alittle peeled off. Now it clogs my foundation at that little peeled dot and feels like it has a layer of skin on it. I don’t know what to do since it feels like a extra skin. Please help.

  81. Hello,
    In past in 2012, I used Benzolyl Peroxide on my face due to pimples, it went away with it but it made my skin super sentitive too. I was getting rashes and all, i used tea tree face wash for 3 to 4 years continously which damaged my skin even more. I didn’t realize it until my skin had that orange colour, and rough red patches. i am still struggling and paying for it today. I am only 24 and going through a tough times. My face gets super oily, red, rashes from everything i put on my face and some allerI am thinking to try caveman regimen. But very skeptical. How long would my skin take to restore its acid mantle? Please help.. kindly. Thank you

    • Hi Sim, it’s impossible to say how long it will last to restore your skin’s acid mantle. Mine was still very sensitive and unstable for around a year after embracing natural/simple skincare. It’s a very gradual process and you need to be patient. Also remember that acne comes from within, so whatever you do will have very limited effects unless you focus on healing inside at the same time. xx

  82. I shave my face weekly and sometimes it can leave my face red and blotchy but I do it on a day when I don’t go out so that my skin can repair itself
    I use a silicon facial brush very soft and no brissly brush just vibrations feels great on the face in the morning I use oats and at night I use black seed soap which I have heard helps repair the skin
    I do have a problem with scarring which was from a while ago which happened due to hair removal cream but I have been using micro needling which I think has started to help with the scarring do you have any others that can help with scarring? Prefer the natural remedies even though it does take longer to make an effort also been using an oil called repair oil similar to bio oil

  83. Hi,
    I have had this problem for a while where I get tiny spots (not acne more like clogged pore) on my nose . They come and go but sometimes get worse acne I sweat or when I over exfoliated. At one point I didn’t have them but they still ended up coming back. Doing nose strip does not work and they only get irritated after I exfoliate.
    I have combination skin and the more oily my face it the larger the pores. I have tried steaming my face and using product like benefits porefssional but all in vain.
    Could you please tell what they are and how i can permanently get rid of them.

  84. Hi Vita, i did caveman regimen (no water) for a good 4 weeks, then after i removed the dead skin from my face. My face was smooth but it was all red, quite discoloured and it was hot as well. My face skin looks little darker/reddish than my neck. I suppose that is due to over exfoliation. I was wondering if my skin tone will improve and will lighten up? I am going again on another month of caveman regimen (no water). Water still seems to be bad for me to use on my face skin as it still irritates it. Please advise. Thank you Vita

    • Hi Sim, it will take a while but your skin will eventually toughen up and calm down. It took around a year for my skin to start reacting to water normally again. All you need is a little patience and your skin will be healthy and resilient again. xx

      • Hi Vita, In the meantime, would you suggest me to try to just splash cold water and use a little bit shea butter on face once a week? I also have another issue which i’m assuming it is called urticaria where my face turns red, burning, and also get rashes appearing and disappearing on my body.
        Please advise.

        Thank you

        • Sure, that could be a good idea. But try to use filtered water rather than tap water with chlorine. Urticaria, just like acne, comes from within, so you really need to look into your diet, nutrient deficiencies, lifestyle, etc. xx

          • Hello Vita,
            I tried a pea size of unrefined shea butter on my face and since then I am having headaches, and itchy +pain in eyes. Not sure if it is an allergic reaction. I could be allergic to shea butter unrefined.
            I am really lost… i am not sure with what should i moisturize my face skin. If i use any other kind of moisturizer, i get big cyst like pimples and my face turn so red. Botanical products like rosehip oil does not work on my skin either. Please help 🙁

          • Hi Sim, it seems that you’re allergic to shea butter. Very strange! It’s impossible though that you’re reacting badly to every single oil in the world. Rosehip oil doesn’t work you said, but have you tried argan oil, sunflower oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil, and lots of other awesome oils? Also remember that if you want to use oils as a moisturiser, you need to apply them on damp skin. If you apply them on dry skin, they will do nothing but sit on your skin and dry it out. xx

          • Hi Vita,

            I am wondering if I could try mango butter. I’ve previously tried olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil but none worked. I may give a try to the ones you mentioned. The thing is that my skin is hypersensitive due to overexfoliation. So I am hoping that my skin will be able to bear oils. 🙁
            I tend to lose hope at times…. My skin is way too thin due to use of benzol peroxide and harsh tea tree oil cleanser.. used vigorously twice a day since 4 to 5 years.. Damaging my already sensitive skin… I blame myself for all this..

          • Hi Yushna, mango butter is great, but I’ve never tried it myself. The reviews are amazing though. Be patient with your skin and have faith. All it needs is time and everything is going to be alright! <3

  85. Dominique says

    So grateful i found this forum! 🙂

    My name is Dominique, and this morning i bought that electronic brush and the mistake i made is to over use it over my skin, just next to my nose on my cheeks! I didnt know it would have worked this much, i used the second speed and i started stinging and i made another mistake of putting a lotion with acid, now i have a skin rash not much but it hurts a bit and burns it i touch it. Can ice cubes work for that as well ?

    • Hi DOminique, I don’t know if ice cubes could work for that (and sorry for such a late reply, I’m a bit overwhelmed with messages at the moment!). Your best friend in this case is time. If you are very gentle on the skin, it will recover very soon. But be more careful next time! xx

  86. Zaid Khan says

    Hello, I am a 14 year old who has very uneven skin and darkened skin due to sun exposure over the years. Ive started to try to attain my natural color back, so a couple of days I exfoliated physically for the first time. I’m quite sure I scrubbed too hard as my skin is red/swollen and also dry with flakes. I was wondering how long does it typically take to heal before i should start to reintroduce exfoliating? Also since I want to lighten my color, I have been using a tumer/lemon/yogurt/honey/gram flour mask every day. When can I get back into applying the mask? Would I wait the same mount of time I would before introducing exfoliation or can I start before?

    • Hi Zaid, if your skin reacted like that, whatever you used was too much for your skin. Please be gentle! Your skin darkens during sun exposure to give you the best protection from the harsh sun. Why mess with it? You should embrace your natural colour and the protective layer on the skin rather try to strip it no matter what. I can’t really tell you how long it takes to heal the skin, but I’d say for at least a month your skin will be quite sensitive while it’s rebuilding the acid mantle. Go back to applying the mask when your skin feels comfortable again. I can’t really tell you when it’s going to happen. xx

  87. Hi, I have been applying your tips for the 7-8 months – I have seen so much progress with my skin I can not thank you enough, specifically in the areas I did more damage to there seems to be more flaking involved that seems to be clearing up more and more as the weeks go by but I want it to clear up soon but it is hard to tell what I should do cause I don’t want to risk permanent damage. I haven’t done too much exfoliation maybe every 2-3 weeks. the areas kind of had red flaking marks with the spots the damage has been done. To speed up the process do you think I should maybe exfoliate more often maybe once or twice a week with a loofah or continue to wait it out with more patience?

    • Hello Brian, I’m so happy that my tips have been helping your skin heal! I wouldn’t exfoliate your skin with things like loofah yet (in fact, I wouldn’t use loofah on the face EVER because it’s way too exfoliating. Using a soft muslin cloth once or twice a week should provide plenty of exfoliation while your skin is healing. Those patches will go away as your skin gets stronger and stronger. xx

  88. Dear vita,
    Thanks for this blog post, I have found your tips for over exfoliated face very helpful and I have used it for almost two years, I have noticed a great improvement…. but my normal balanced skin is not back, I still have an excessive oily skin (facial skin) that is dry/flaky/dehydrated underneath…. I can’t go for an occasion and look matte, my face just becomes extremely oily especially my forehead, and the skin at the sides of my nose. I have to keep dabbing off the shiny surface and also I have resorted to washing my face only at night as I get red when I wash my face with water but it subsides in the morning but flares up under the sun…. So therefore I can’t wash my face in the morning or any other part of the day as water gets it to be red and I don’t want to walk around with a red face…. My question basically is how can I get over this excessively oily skin that was as a result of over exfoliation? And how do I deal with redness from water as I would love to wash my face sometimes after class in the afternoon before stepping out for any other programme?….. I can be very patient I just want to be sure that it will eventually work….. Ur response would be highly appreciated has it is really worrisome…. Thank you…

    • Hi Jenny, have you tried using filtered or bottled spring water to wash your face? It should make a big difference. Excessive oiliness like that is probably due to some sort of internal imbalance, perhaps some mineral deficiency or thyroid/adrenal issues. There is only so much topical remedies can do. xx

  89. Im not sure if youre still replying to comments but due to acne i began washing my face, i ended up exfoliating like everyday and i noticed the skin on my forhead and cheeks look tight and feel dry. Going against the obvious i began pickinv at my dry skin and it just got worse, and i got dark patches on my chin and side of my nose. I’ve used coconut oil but i feel as if it just sits in top and does nothing. Would you recommend the shea butter and rose water for this as well?

  90. Hello Vita
    I’ve just read your post on over exfoliated skin & I would love your opinion on if you think that might be what I’m experiencing. I have fairly reactive skin – prone to a few blocked pores/breakouts on occasion. I was wary of over exfoliating as I know my skin had broken out from doing so in the past. However, for the past few months I’ve been using a beautiful skincare range that is 100% organic, coldpressed naturopathic ingredients. The products I used included a face oil, a serum oil a natural scrub exfoliant & a gentle cleanser. I was only using the exfoliant once or twice a week, and was oil cleansing with the oil every night (as well as applying it & the oil serum to my skin after cleansing). My skin seemed ok with this for a month or so, however under the advice of the lady who worked selling these products – I increased exfoliating to every night (as she said this would help bring any blockages under the skin to the surface). I really wished I hadn’t listened to her! After a week of doing this, I now have a strange bumpy sandpaper texture to my skin & what look like microscopic little bumps. There are other areas where I can now see my pores filled with what look like blackheads or whiteheads, where as before I could never see the pores in those areas (are these enlarged or clogged pores that need to be extracted?) I also seem to have a few clogged pores in areas of my face I never usually breakout. Do you think this is due to over exfoliating or could it be something else? I have stopped using the exfoliating scrub, but I don’t know how to go about expelling these clogged pores/bumps that seem to have appeared. Please give me any extra advice possible! I don’t want to do anything that might increase the amount of clogs/blocked areas. I also eat a very balanced, clean diet & exercise a few times a week – generally very healthy 🙂

    Many thanks! Monique 🙂

    • Hi Monique, it does sound like you exfoliated your skin too much. Using an exfoliant every day is really, really unnecessary and too harsh. If the skincare brand worked well for you for a few months, it’s safe to say that they aren’t causing the clogs, so it’s probably just the over-exfoliation. If you stop doing it, your skin should go back to normal within a few weeks. xx

  91. Hi , I have also suffered from over exfoliating and it started with some sort of dermatitis on my forehead. I try to not exfoliate for a couple of days but my skin must get too dry and i can see dead skin build up and I feel that the dermatitis is coming back on my forehead so again I have to exfoliate with a wet washcloth. Is this where the rose water comes in handy. What would you suggest? Or should I try and just push through not exfoliating, I know that my forehead has definitely been over exfoliate I have been exfoliating nearly every day for a year or so. Thanks very much

    • If I were you, I would push through and not exfoliate at all for a few weeks. I had a similar situation with my face a few years ago and any of my attempts to exfoliate was just leaving me with even more flakes, bumps, and dryness. I feel for you, but with a bit of patience it should resolve. <2

  92. Good day Vita,
    Thanks for these tips for over exfoliation, i’m 23 years old and I have realized after reading your post that my prolonged damaged skin( flaky and dry underneath With red patches and much excess oil on surface) is due to over exfoliation since I was 19.. but I have a question, do I need to wash off rose water toner after using it at night or I can sleep off with it since its natural…. Also what mild if possible natural, non-drying, non-exfoliating, mosturising, yet cleansing soap would you recommend I use as I have to discontinue my soap which contains some drying chemicals and agents to allow my natural facial acid mantle to regenerate (read from your other post)…. p.s one that would be readily available in or to west Africa would be highly appreciated…. thanks in advance

    • Hi June, you don’t need to wash rosewater off your skin. Leave it on because it’s very hydrating and healing. Pure olive oil soap or Aleppo soaps are great if you can get hold of them. I really don’t know what you have available where you are. xx

  93. Hi, I have seborrheic dermatitis on my face & now my chest, neck & ears. I’ve tried everything that the dermatologist gave me (Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo, prescription strength hydrogen peroxide wash & the worst was an anti fungal cream called Ketoconazole which all dermatologists agree works best, lol) & it either didn’t work or made things worse. So since then, it’s been years, I’ve been exfoliating with a manual buffing pad & in between Simple exfoliating face wipes. Well, for the longest time now before I exfoliate my skin peels everywhere! It’s absolutely disgusting, but after I exfoliate the next day my skin is very oily. I never had oily skin before, actually I’ve never had any skin issues before this. Since being diagnosed a long time ago, it has spread to my entire face, neck, ears & chest. I was also told by dermatology NOT to exfoliate it because it would make it worse. Well last night I exfoliated with the simple wipes & I noticed the brand new wipes weren’t that moist. Long story short, I either over exfoliated or the wipes weren’t that moist as usual. I woke up looking like I had a bad sunburn & my face is swollen. I plan on buying the raw rose water, but in the mean time what can I do to calm down the slight burning & stinging. I do have organic Real Aloe The Only Real Aloe Vera Since 1972 Gel, but from what I’ve read hear, it can be very drying. Also, any recommendations on how I can successfully treat my seborrheic dermatitis naturally? I read somewhere that using pure dead sea salt in a facial steamer & then rubbing of the dead skin by hand works, but I really do NOT want to do anything else that’s going to make things worse. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Renea, exfoliating is really not a good idea when you have any kind of dermatitis, even if it does feel very tempting. I also had seborrheic dermatitis, so I know what it feels like. In my case, it was all due to internal imbalances. I believe it’s the same for everyone. Anything that comes up on the skin is due to internal health issues. You know what? I think I’m going to do some research and make a video about seborrheic dermatitis. It might be help you and someone else, too. Just bear with me. <3

  94. Heya this is Sakshi .since last 2 years I have been harshly exfoliating my skin to get an even complexion and have also used a lot of hydroquinone creams on my face as a result of it my skin becomes so dark and dry can you give some advice and tips for making my skin supple and glowing as such there are no marks on my face due to the creams but I have a lot of darkness called hyperpigmentation around my mouth for six years plz give some tips to get rid of it

  95. Hi my name is Lonnie,
    I just spent hours reading all of the comments and I see that you answer each and every question which is so amazing of you! My situation VERY over exfoliated skin. I’m actually friends with the commenter Carrie Biggs who wrote above. What happened to me is I derma needled for a couple months then started using Retin A. I used the Retin A 12 times over a two month period. I didn’t have a reaction until I started using Retin A. My skin is flushing and has this awful exploded pore appearance except it looks more like chewed up skin rather than huge pores. I’m 3 months out from when the damage happened and it’s only spread and worsened. Now it burns whereas it did not before. It’s a molted color and is quite inflamed with these acid like indentations all over my forehead. I spoke with a dermal repair expert who says my skin will have little chance to heal. Is that true?How can that be? My life will never be the same if this doesn’t go away. I am just existing and no longer living. My friend Carrie who commented in January is still suffering with her damaged skin 10 months later. I just want this to heal. I’m already using Shea butter, and was recommended to use Psoria Gold. It is a curcumin gel for skin inflammatory reactions. What do you think? Do you think my skin will in time with the right nourishment and gentle care? Will these huge pore like scars go away? I’m eating a Whole Foods plant based diet and working with a nutritionist to balance my hormones as I have hypothyroidism. But I never had skin like this until 3 months ago and I know in my gut it was a reaction from the Retin A. There are even connections between hypothyroidism and Retin A reactions as we do not have the right receptors in the skin to tolerate it normally. I’d love to share photos with you through email and get your input. I’m in a very dark place right now, and need some encouragement. But I also would like honesty too. Can the skin really heal instelf from this type of severe damage? Please get back to me, and thank you for taking the time to help all of us.

    • Hi Lonnie, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. 🙁 It makes me so angry that all these dangerous products are prescribed without any care. Retin A is such a harsh and dangerous product! The truth is I don’t think anyone knows whether the skin can completely regenerate and heal the damage. It can definitely heal over-exfoliation from scrubbing too much or using harsh acne products, but a chemical burn like that caused by Retin A is a totally different beast. I really don’t know. By time, given the right care and the right building blocks from nutrition, I want to believe that anything can repair, but I guess only time will tell. Wishing you lots of healing! <3

    • Hey Lonnie,

      Did your textural issues ever resolve? I’m dealing with the same thing, but from a 30% glycolic acid peel.

  96. My skin is over exfoliated can I use milk cream?

  97. Hi, Vita.
    I am 23. I have very oily skin. Both my parents have very oily skin with large pores. Neither of my parents have many wrinkles except “11’s” and expression lines. I get a lot of comedones, but few breakouts, mostly isolated around post-ovulation time right before my period. I drink a lot of caffeine (coffee only, 4 shots of espresso/day). I have heard that cutting out milk products can help skin.
    I have been using Curology, which is a custom formulation by a dermatologist (azelaic acid, clindamycin, and niacinamide). When I apply it, it makes me break out in tiny pustules all over my face. I think the chemicals are causing the comedones to come to the surface? It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I get really gooey comedones and cystic acne where a pore will become inflamed and form a pustule around a comedone and if I don’t get it out, it will stay hard, red, and painful for days. I have become an expert at removing these cysts from my face by lancing them and removing what I believe are vellus hair cysts from my arms, back, and chest. After removing the comedones gently, pustules do not usually appear unless the skin has been squeezed too hard, starting a histamine reaction and the subsequent inflammatory process.
    This is why I think I have minimal scarring. The only scars I have are from chemical burns on acne when I was a teenager using Proactiv and the Walmart equivalent. I also have an overlapping laceration scar on my nose from an accident 2 months now, using biocorneum to massage 2x/day for 10 min, and the remodeling has been slow but my body is smoothing it out.
    I am out in the sun every day at least 4 hours as an athletic trainer. I find that sunscreens are comedogenic.
    I do ok with exfoliation. It occasionally makes me break out in pustules, as my skin is mostly sensitive to any kind of pressure I put on it. If I lean my head on my hand, I will get pustules under my jaw line and on my cheek. I usually use warm water and my hands to wash my face. If it feels extra greasy, or dirty, I use Cetaphil gentle foaming cleanser or Cera Ve hydrating cleanser. I use Shea oil as a moisturizer, but not every day. Only if it feels dry, which is almost never. I used to use olive oil but I found that was too greasy. What is the deal with ceramides? I am also curious if honey is a bad thing to put on my face. I read somewhere that fructose breaks down the collagen in skin.
    I am not a big believer in facials or masks.
    I also do not wear makeup on a daily basis. I rarely if ever put foundation on my skin.
    Basically the only thing I do to my face is evacuate comedones.
    I think I am causing inflammation and I am in a vicious cycle. If I leave the comedones alone, they will turn into cysts.

    • Hi Genie, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to answer. I was on holiday, completely switched off from the online world. The truth is that nothing you ever do topically is going to solve the problem. All these comedones are coming from an internal balance, whether it’s underactive thyroid, hormonal imbalance such as estrogen dominance, or nutrient deficiencies. You’ll need to keep digging until you find the root cause. Honey is a great thing to put on the face as long as you aren’t sensitive to it. You could try clay based masks to help bring the comedones to the surface and keep your pores clearer. I know what you mean about the need to extract the comedones or else they will remain there forever causing redness, pustules, etc. My skin was exactly the same. In my case, the main root cause was low thyroid function. xx

      • Thank you, Vida.
        My father’s mother and sisters (one is his fraternal twins) were all diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in their 20’s and had ablation. Now they take replacement hormones.
        I asked for thyroid panels as part of my biannual CBC since puberty and have always been told the levels are within normal range, no alarm bells for T3, T4, or parathyroid. I no longer use hormonal contraceptives. I think something is still going on at the mollecular level. Maybe adrenocorticoids.

  98. HI vita

    Not sure if you still respond to enquiries on this blog. I really need help for my 16 year old daughter. She used some new cleansing regime on her face about 3 weeks ago and her face has broken out so bad. She has lots of little bumps all over her face. The kind you see in the sunlight. Some are becoming pus filled and red and sore. She stopped using the cleansers straightaway. She is currently using a cc cream to try and cover up. She also using an Elemis balancing lime cleanser and lavender toner mainly to remove the cc cream. Her forehead is the worst area but the sides of her face and jawline are also affected quite badly. Prior to her new products she had some hormonal breakouts on her forehead only. I’m not sure if it is folliculitis? What is your view on a salt water wash or mandolin acid application. I have ordered some rose water and shea butter. I have also beeneed applying somemail marigold and chickweed ointment. This seems to help with redness but nothing is helping with these bumps.

    • Hi Amarjit, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles! It does seem like her skin really disliked that cleanser and once it reacts like that it can take a few months to calm down again. You really need to first wait it out until completely calms down back to normal and only then try to deal with the forehead bumps. In general, remember also that acne or clogs come from within, so skincare often isn’t going to provide any long lasting solutions. Cleansing with rosewater or filtered water only, perhaps gentle wiping with a muslin cloth, and shea butter or any other oil that works well for her would be a good strategy for now. For forehead bumps, you could try weekly clay masks. Clay draws impurities out very well, so it’s a great tool for clogs, but perhaps add a little bit of oil to prevent excessive drying. And wait until her skin calms down before trying. xx

  99. Hi Vita,

    I’ve read through this wonderful article over and over, yet I still make the unwise mistake to over exfoliate my face. I’ve exfoliated nearly every single day with a wash cloth and although my skin could handle it most time, it didn’t this time. It happened two weeks ago, I’ve stopped all exfoliation and only wash with baby shampoo and apply aloe Vera, the itching and most red angry bumps and pustules have gone but sometimes a feel a hive coming on then turns into a pustule that takes a couple of days to go. Is it normal and expected to still get ransom bumps even though it’s been two weeks? I have a lot of dead skin accumulation, but I’m scared of even gently exfoliating with my fingers, should I just leave it alone? I’m sorry for all these questions, but I hope you can help me. Thank you so much for doing what you do!

    • Two weeks is very little time, Lee. Give it a few more weeks and you’ll definitely start seeing much more resilience. It depends, if you skin is really raw and you see scabs protecting new skin underneath, better to leave it alone, but if it’s just dead skin accumulation, even a soft muslin cloth wouldn’t be too bad if you used once every few days. Hope this helps. xx

      • Thank you for your quick reply, I was wondering if it’s normal for small random bumps to continue appearing even though I’ve stopped exfoliating for over 2 weeks? Thank you again for your help.

  100. Hi Vita.

    I am so glad I stumbled across your blog! I am at a loss as what to do for my skin. I have Always had good clear skin, just the occasional breakout here and there. However Since last year i started having issues with my skin. My normally normal skin was breaking out and feeling really itchy. So i did the most stupid thing and overloaded my skin with Acne products like salycilic acid, tea tree etc and my skin got worse! Skin becames parched,dehydrated with big spots that stayed skin was compensating for the lack of pios and so overproduced even more oil. Makeup throughout the day looks awful as it gets shiny andczn see huge pores. I never had an issue with pores begore but after stripping my skin of itslipid barrier i now have that orange peel look. Its looks so awful i cry everyday. I literally live in the dark as i dont want anyone to see my face and have serious anxiety. Its affecting my family life as i feel so depressed all the time. I use to be an outgoing bubbly person before and now I wont leave the house. I dont see my friends anymore and have no confidence. My skin looks so flat and dehydrated and i just dont know what to do. I have spent so much money on products that promise to rebuild the skin barrier that contain ceramides, squalane yet nothings worked. I am so worried that the skin wont rebuild itself andi haveto live like this. All i do is google how to heal the skin and then read stories about people who have tried everything yet nothing worked! All I want is my skin to heal andgo back to notmal. Can repair the skin barrier and how long does it take? Can you get rid of that orange peel look andwhat causes it? Desperatly need help. I am 36 years old. THANKYOU.

    • The skin barrier does get repaired but it takes time. A long time. You’ll really need to be patient and very, very gentle with your skin. My skin was very similar to how you described yours. It took my skin around a year to become reasonably resilient and comfortable. The orange peel look will go as well when your skin starts repairing. Wishing you lots of healing! xx

      • Thankyou Vita for your reply. It really means alot you take the time to reply. Im being really gentle lately, havent cleansed my face, just wash it when i am having a shower. I am using shea butter as you have suggested in your blog and ordered some pure rose water with no alcohol. I am
        Praying, that slowly but surely my skin starts to heal, and i can start feeling like myself again. Do you think shea butter and rose water are enough to help rebuild the skin barrier, or do you suggest using something else as well?x

  101. Hi Vita,

    I would just like to ask what kind or brand of shea butter product would you recommend because i don’t have much knowledge about it so i would really appreciate your help! Thanks!

  102. Dear Vita,
    I left you instagram and email messages so sorry, I just am making sure you see this. My name is Kameron I am 18 . For the last 3 years almost I have been living with over efoliated skin in the areas on my forehead, temples, cheekbones, cheeks lightly, on my smile lines and vertical under my eyes I have lines of redness and where the skin is raw and bumps around my mouth and chin and welts:((. My dermatologist had me on a horrid acne product that contained a retin a and I also over exfoliated. She told me I had perioral dermatitis but through my own reserarch I have realized my skin is just trying to heal and I have been causing the bumps, flakiness and problems and not letting it heal. Right now I have switched to only rosewater spray that I just started today! My skin does feel better all I put on it is CV Skinlabs calming moisture and the rescue relief spray for inflammation. I have a layer that looks like a residue buildup on my chin, around my mouth, forehead a little bit and on my smile lines. Should I stop washing with water, I think only using rosewater will help, can I keep applying moisture to the buildup layer of what I think is new skin? I also am developing what looks like acne on my forehead and all the places that were damaged is this normal? I do not pick at my skin, but I am just unsure what to do for it.

    • Hi Kam, you can either try to wipe your face with rosewater or rinse very gently with filtered or bottled water. Just make sure to not use plain tap water because the chlorine in it is really irritating for the skin. Yes, it’s a good idea to keep applying moisture on the healing skin. There will be buildup and possibly some breakouts while the skin is healing, it is normal. Also, don’t forget that healthy skin comes from within, so does acne, so whatever you do topically can only do so much. xx

      • Thank you!
        Is it normal for the layer build up to be gooey like a soft consistency when wet? and some parts of it never fully dry during the day , I just want to be sure I properly manage it. What are your thoughts on squalene oil for the skin? I eat a pretty vegan diet with the exception of fish sometimes so I think internally I am good, it’s just whatever I do topically affects it I have noticed. Any other tips for topical skincare?
        Thank you for this blog!

        • Yes, it’s excess dead skin mixed with excessive sebum. Taking it easy and not stripping oils off your skin for a long while will help calm your skin down and hopefully will stop the overproduction of oil. But in most cases, you need to look for the root causes internally: perhaps hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or thyroid issues. If you’re eating an almost vegan diet, you might be missing out on some nutrients or it might be adversely affecting your hormonal balance. I’ve never tried squalene oil, so I can’t really say much about it. xx

  103. Siobhan Harnett says

    Hi vita … what do you make of cerave moisturising cream to repair a disrupted skin barrier?

  104. Hello! I am in need of some help! Although I didn’t over-exfoliate my face, many of my symptoms are the same as you describe here. 3 weeks ago I rolled my face with a dermaroller. It didn’t hurt and wasn’t aggressive. There was no bleeding. Afterwards, I applied hyaluronic acid. A few days later I started noticing my skin felt different and looked different under my makeup. Slowly my skin started revealing “scratches” maybe even scars? Everywhere I rolled. The texture of my face completely changed. I started breaking out in rashes. My face feels red, irritated and “open”. I tried using Cerave products to repair the moisture barrier, but they caused me to break out and itch. My skin feels chapped but also oily at the same time. A dermatologist suggested Vanicrean and a hydrocortisone cream which I am hestitant to use because of the steroid. I am having a horrible time and I’m worried I’ve scarred and permanently damaged my skin. Any advice is welcome! Thanks!

    • Please don’t despair, Linda. Everything can heal given enough time and patience. Just give your skin a few weeks and you’ll see how beautiful it’s going to look again. I’ve shared all my best tips for skincare in the blog post. xx

  105. Awesome advice thank you SO much! I just have one question! So my skin is starting to heel from when I over exfoliated way to hard around my lip and chin area. Now the skin is growing back I guess and it is VERY flaky and dry. You said not to pick at it because it protects the new skin trying to grow but how long will that take? It’s very frustrating having it constantly flaky and dry. When will my skin be replenished and what can I do to speed that up?

    • I’d give it a couple of months, then gentle exfoliation with a muslin cloth would slowly get all of the dead skin layer off. That transition period can definitely be annoying, but it’s necessary. <3

  106. Hello! I am in desperate need of some help! I bought a new Clarisonic brush because I had been suffering from breakouts. The day I un-boxed it, I decided to try it out. I was so excited! Maybe I was pressing too hard or maybe the facewash I was using wasn’t gentle enough to pair with a spin brush – whatever the reason, my face was red and burning afterwards. I immediately applied aloe+coconut oil & some vitamin C cream I had on hand. I waited for those to soak in and then I had to continue on with my day because I had my daughters soccer game to attend. I quickly applied come concealer and tinited moisturizer on my face and left. With the makeup you could hardly tell anything was wrong other than the strange texture of my skin and seemingly enlarged pores. When we returned home I washed my face and reapplied the coconut oil and aloe and left that on it. This morning the redness on my cheeks and forehead turned into more isolated darker reddish colored blotches that have a scaley texture. The pain has subsided, but my skin is so shiny and leathery looking along with the deep red blotches. I am so embarrassed and my face looks so ridiculous that I don’t even want to walk around my own home without some sort of concealer to cover the big dark red spots. I don’t even want to reveal the redness to my husband out of pure embarrassment. I have so many things going on (taking my children to school and practices,etc) all week long. I wish I could be makeup free, but the redness is so bad I could never leave the house like this. I leave to go to my future sister in laws bachelorette party in about 30 days in Tampa and I am currently freaking out over my skin. I am already a self conscious/anxious person – so add this mess to the mix and I am basically in tears … I’ve always had such clear and porcelain skin – so this Is all very overwhelming for me.

    • Hi Kelsey, I know how frustrating and scary it can be, but trust me, your skin will heal just fine if you give it some time and lots of rest. Please don’t ecfoliate it anymore for a while. There’s not much else you can do apart from the steps I outlined in the blog post. A certain amount of time needs to pass in order for it to heal, but I think for most people around a month is enough time to heal. <3

  107. So this is probably the most ridiculous comment on this post, but I have managed to over exfoliate the skin around my lips and nose by kissing a very stubbly man. I’ve always been prone to break outs when exfoliating (especially on the nose) which is why I don’t use any exfoliators in my skin regime. It’s been around a week and the area around my mouth is now healing just through only washing. However my nose is a mess! At first I had 3 large pus-filled spots, so I used a charcoal facemask to dry them out and draw out the impurities. They scabbed over and I thought it would be over soon! But this morning I woke up with most of the skin from my nose gone and this whole open wound is just oozing pus. I clean it off with warm water and half an hour later, my nose is soaking again. If I leave it, it goes all hard. Any advice??

    • Wow, that sounds crazy. But I can relate! When my husband doesn’t shave, I also really suffer from it. The hard scab is necessary. Without it, healing can’t happen. So if you keep taking it off, the new healing skin underneath keeps getting exposed way before it’s ready. Just leave it there until it’s ready to fall off by itself and it should heal in no time. I definitely feel for you! xx

  108. Amaniya Humaida says

    Hello there, I am from indonesia. After read all these articles about over exfoliated skin I knew I am not the one. I already have this over exfoliated skin since June. And now my skin is better, before this my skin over exfoliated very bad i can’t even eat and lose my weight almost 3kgs. Your article very help me out to take care my ober exfoliated skin. It Needs very patient heart for healing this.

  109. Rose water is an astringent, which is the last thing you want on your face when dealing with an impaired barrier. Any oil high in linoleic acid are also astringent. Any oil high in oilec acid are great and actually moisturize skin but they penetrate the skin causing adverse reactions. You dont want to use anything that is going to penetrate the skin eg glycols…. your using mineral oil in my experience, no adverse reactions, no penetration. Just my take, thanks for your post.

  110. For 5 months I kept putting on lotion, creams, oils, ointments to soothe my overexfoliated skin. It got so bad that if I didnt put any lotion on my skin would get acne and inflamed. I finally realized I was reacting to everything. I thank you for your post. Like seriously, the moment I stopped putting anything on my delicate skin and just letting it be and taking fish oil pills; was the moment my skin stopped breaking out.

    My skin is still very sensitive and dry/flakey, but I realized that I need to let my skin be. My biggest tip is to stop putting anything on your face, only splash your face once a week with distilled/ reverse osmosis water and make sure you are getting your omega 3s and dont touch your face. You are inhibiting the healing if you do. The more I touch it the more bumps i get. It may take 2, 3 months or even up to a year, dont give up! I have read your post indicating that it took you to years to heal your skin, and depending on the severity that can definitely be the case.
    Thank you!

  111. II did have a question for you. Did your skin grow lots of thick dead skin while your skin was healing? I have so much dry skin buildup, and I notice that certain parts of my face are starting to peel naturally and there is soft smooth skin uunderneath!

    • Yes, totally. That’s what happens when you allow your skin to heal from overexfoliation. Over time it will stop overproducing all that extra skin and there won’t be so much buildup anymore. It’s just because your skin was so used to continuously being stripped bare that it learned to protect itself in this way. <3

  112. Hello Vita!
    I’m so glad I came across your blog! I’m in dispair and I’d appreciate your advice. I’ve never used products or chemicals on my face, only natural face masks that kept my face clean and smooth. However, I recently made a big mistake and applied gelatin and turmeric face mask and had a shower straight after and I think it caused damage to my face. The next day my face was tight, cracked, flaky, burning, and I even have fine lines on my forehead along with two small scars that I’m afraid it will be permenant. I’ve been trying to moisturize my face with argan oil and olive oil. Will these scars and fine lines fade as my face is healing or will it be permenant ? And how will it take my face to repair itself properly ? I’m really scared that the damage is serious. Thank you so much.

    • Hello! Don’t worry, our bodies have an amazing capacity for healing. Everything heals with time, patience, and gentle care. For irritated skin like that, I’d say a month or two should be enough to go back to normal. Hope it’s much better by now! <3

  113. Thank you so much for your knowledge on this matter! I wanted to let everyone know that my skin is getting better each day. At first I had a lot of dry skin build up, it was terrible, I left it alone and finally my skin stopped producing so much dry skin. Today my akin is still a little sensitive, with each touch, I have to be careful. I dont put anything on my face just water once a week.

  114. Hi Vita, I’m very grateful for you. Like others I have over exfoliated my forehead because I was trying to spot treat acne for the last year. After reading your post, I have:
    discontinued exfoliation completely
    I only wash my face at night with warm water
    I suspect moisturizing irritates it so I don’t even apply any of that
    Just in this one week, the angry pimples have subsided. Sadly new ones form but they’re not as big, itchy and irritated. In this week – I have possibly accumulated a lot of dead skin as my forehead felt like sandpaper. I made the mistake of buying a gentle wash from Vanicream and have used it twice in a row over the last two days. My thought process was, the dead skin is clogging up pores and causing pimples as well as microcomedomes. so I was hoping this gentle wash that contains no hidden exfoliates (I think) will help my skin breathe a little. Today, my forehead looks a bit irritated again. It’s a little itchy here and there. New pimples are forming.
    How can I stop this vicious cycle?
    It doesn’t look as bad as before but it is a bit irritated. i also fear ramifications of not using a moisturizer of some sort for the next few weeks. I don’t know if it will do more harm than good.
    Will you give me some thoughts on how you would go about?
    Should I use a moisturizer?
    Does 28 days of doing absolutely nothing to the skin start over again?
    How do I combat these pimples? I have never had them before.
    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Any face wash, even the gentlest one, is still drying and slightly irritating. It makes sense that your skin isn’t very happy after using it. That’s why rinsing with water alone helps so much. If you feel that your moisturiser is irritating as well, how about using s few drops of oil? that’s what I’ve been using for years. Also, it does take for the skin to normalise when you stop doing anything to it. It definitely takes longer than 28 days. It should gradually be getting more and more balanced. <3

      • Thanks Vita! I appreciate your response. At what point do you recommend introducing a gentle cleanser back into the routine? I understand it is a different timeframe for everyone. But how should the skin look before it’s ready for a gentle routine again?

        • Hello, and sorry for replying so late! I hope your skin is doing so much better by now. To be honest with you, your skin doesn’t really need any cleanser at all apart from water and oil. But if you really want to use one, I would wait until the skin doesn’t feel dry or tight at all and there are no more breakouts. <3

  115. Hello this information has been very hopeful. My face has been over exfoliated for some time now and it is simply just dehydrated along with breakouts. I started using a new moisturizer that made my skin feel even more dry and caused some breakouts but I have stopped using it and bought a moisturizer today for sensitive skin to see if it helps. I usually wash my face twice a day but until my face stops feeling so dry I’ll stick to only washing once a day in the evening. In the mornings if I just splash my face with water do you recommend moisturizing after for the skin being dry or just let it be? Or should I just do absolutely nothing in the mornings? Thank you hope to hear a response!

  116. I overexfolated my skin and it hasn’t healed for almost a year now. Even water stings and makes my trouble areas red n raw. I’m thinking of trying the caveman regime, will it help?

  117. I’m so late to the party! Haha. But I see you are still replying to comments so ill leave mine. I was wondering, I know everyone says it takes about a month (28 days) for over exfoliates skin to heal… but i don’t think j over exfoliates mine too badly. But it is over exfoliated :((. Do I have to wait that full 28 days to put makeuo on? I only received a minor breakout on my forehead ans minor itchiness and redness on cheeks. Do j have to wait the full 28 days before mu skin goes back to normal? My skin isn’t looking too bad at all and this is the first day I’ve gone without exfoliating. I understand I am probably going to spend the next week makeup free, but because my face isn’t badly damaged at all… can I wear light makeup or moisturizing foundations in a week or 2 and not have to wait a full 28 days?

    • Hi Ellie, only you know the answer to your question. Just listen to your intuition and to your skin. If you feel that the light makeup and the makeup removal process don’t irritate the skin, go for it. But if you feel and see that your skin is reddened, drier, angrier, etc. after the makeup wearing days, then stay away for a bit longer. <3

      • Thank you so much for answering! This helped a ton. I agree. I think ill wait two weeks and see how my skin looks 🙂 I absolutley live your website by the way. God bless you and thanks for the help.

      • Thank you so much for answering! This helped a ton. I agree. I think ill wait two weeks and see how my skin looks 🙂 I absolutley live your website by the way. God bless you and thanks for the help.

      • I only have one more question… can I use just cool water to wash my face and nothing else? Or is rosewater necessary?

  118. Hi! Your post has been helpful for me since i over exfoliated few months ago by scrubs and washcloths. I didn’t understand that it was over exfoliated so I kept exfoliating the dead skin off till I fot to know that I have actually over exfoliated my skin. The skin on my nose and on the sides of the nose has been red with very tiny pimples and its wuite itchy. Its totally dry and my chin is breaking out too with very small pimples. I have stopped using any cleansers or moisturisers and I’m just using water and rose water on my skin. Sometimes i apply a but of coconut oil and I’ve been waiting for my aloe gel to come. This has made me extremely anxious. Can you please tell me that this actually happens to people and heals? And how long does it take to completely heal and get back to normal.

  119. Just to help others out there… a little about my story and how I healed my overexfoliated/damaged skin. My skin got damaged by using Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser along with hard water for a few years. I didn’t know why my skin was so dry, irritated, itchy and reacting to everything. I tried so many things to recover my skin but nothing worked and just kept making matters worse. So then I decided to do the caveman regimen and take a high quality fish oil pill. I didn’t wash my face for 3 months… my skin still wasn’t completely healed, I then went on for another 3 months. At last smooth buttery, soft skin! I made sure I didn’t get it wet, and developed the thickest dead skin ever, my face was practically black. It was difficult, but I knew I had to get through it.

    Hope that helps anyone out there, it took me about 6 months until I could handle water really and a full year of being able to tolerate lotion, even natural oils were breaking me out.


  120. Lindsay Stack says

    I got stretchmarks from weight gain and one day I started exfoliating them and didnt stop for e weeks. Kinda dumb I know. I just wanted them to go away. They look worse now actually and also the skin around them has turned brown. I stopped all exfoliating, microneedling and retinol. I am just moisturizing now and doing red light therapy. How long will it take for my skin to go back to white? Is there anything I should or need to do or will time and moisture eventually do the trick?

    • Hello Lindsay, I really don’t know as I don’t have any stretchmarks and don’t have experience with them. I do know of a product that could help stretchmarks fade better than anything without damaging the skin. Look up Asea Renu 28 gel, it’s incredible! (I’m not affiliated with them, just love that product so much) <3

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