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Statement on Exfoliation Practices

Over exfoliation practices cause long term thinning of the skin increasing risk for permanent skin damage and skin cancer. Exfoliation practices should be reviewed with your health provider to determine risks and benefits.



The skin is the body’s first line of defense from exposure to the environment.  Skin tissue is made up of several layers of cells, each with a specific and necessary function. The skin protects us from the invasion of environmental threats. The skin regulates our body temperature. 


The top layers of the skin are made of non-living cells, these layers for a protective barrier for the other skin cells and the rest of the body.  Ultra-violet light, micropollution, and disease would threaten our health without healthy skin. The top layers of the skin holds in natural moisturizing factors to keeps our skin hydrated and supple.  

Exfoliation targets removal of the outer-most (top) layers of the skin by breaking down the protein bonds that hold the cells together.  When the top layer of skin is removed its specialized function is no longer present.  There is less protective barrier and more transdermal water loss.


Additionally, other skin cells must respond to this NEW STRESS. Many reactions take place to repair the traumatized skin. The repair process itself produces NEW PROBLEMS evidenced as redness, dryness, flaking, tenderness, irritation, bumps, sun-sensitivity, etc..

Rise in exfoliation practices.

Companies and skin services promote exfoliants because of the temporary effect these products and services have in producing softer skin and reducing the appearance of fine wrinkles.  Exfoliation is generally inexpensive and readily available to consumers.  Suppliers are driven to capture the market in delivering exfoliation to consumers.


Exfoliation products and services have come into more frequent use and deeper skin penetration. Results come at the expense of thinning the skin and sometimes causing irreversible damage. Additionally, costly corrective creams, serums and moisturizers needed to repair damage caused by exfoliation creates a perpetuating cycle.


In an unregulated market, those seeking anti-aging treatments become vulnerable to inappropriate and misguided recommendations with potentially adverse consequences.



American Academy of Dermatology Statement.

The American Academy of Dermatology issued a statement late in 2015 warning consumers about adverse risks for skin problems triggered by over exfoliation practices.


Exfoliation Products and Treatments (incomplete list).




tretinoin (Retin-A)

adapalene (Differin)

salicylic acid

glycolic acid

lactic acid




spinning facial brushes




microderm abrasion

exfoliating facials

chemical peels

ablative/subablative treatments (laser)


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