Will Exfoliating Thin Out Your Skin?

A top derm weighs in.
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Q: I've been told by two different estheticians that I should be exfoliating my face as little as once every three months. The reason being, I have "thin skin" (I'm 31) and that by exfoliating, I'm thinning my dermis and letting more capillaries show through (I have redness issues).

I actually went the entire summer without exfoliating once. When I do exfoliate, I use an AHA cream as opposed to granular formulas, and I love how that feels. But I am constantly freaked out that my skin won't regenerate properly if I over-exfoliate. I can't even use the lowest grade retinol, as my skin freaks out and flakes off.

Are there certain skin types that should exfoliate as infrequently as possible? — Allison

A: Allison, thank you for your question.

Exfoliating will not thin your skin unless you are doing something out of the ordinary.

Using retinols may thin your skin temporarily when you first start using them. But in fact, the opposite then happens—they stimulate collagen and your skin will thicken.

Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum.

You only need to exfoliate if you are getting a build-up of skin, or if you are having clogged pores or acne issues. 

If you use a product like glycolic acid or retinol properly, then you will not need to do any additional exfoliation. Your skin will likely improve and possibly thicken.

Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer.

Dr. Nowell Solish is one of Canada's top cosmetic dermatologists, with an office at 66 Avenue Road, Suite 1, in Toronto. Call 416-964-8888 to book an appointment.

Disclaimer: This information is for general purposes only and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Dr. Solish recommends that you consult your physician or other medical professional for insight into your specific condition and medical options.

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