What I’ve seen, and what the dermatologists and plastic surgeons I know see, time and time again is red, raw, irritated skin—and I’m NOT talking about a diaper rash on a baby’s bottom—because women over-exfoliate their skin.

What do I mean by over-exfoliation? I mean women going at their skin with micro beads (just now banned, in California, thankfully!), daily scrubs, excessive microdermabrasion, and way too frequent acid peels.

So you don’t get the wrong impression, moderate exfoliation is good. Doing a mild fruit acid peel that you get from the drugstore 1-2 times a week is fine. So is getting a yearly series of 4-6 microdermabrasion sessions over the course of three months. Using exfoliating microfiber towelettes several times a week? No problem.

The problem comes when you do any of these too often or all at once. This doesn’t allow new skin cells to come to the surface naturally. It strips your skin of not only dead skin cells, but of new skin cells and disrupts your skin’s natural oil balance. This leaves the skin looking red, raw and irritated. And oftentimes, it leads to breakouts, broken capillaries and enlarged pores: everything you’re trying to avoid!

So what are my recommendations? Start off slowly! Start with ONE peel (I like the Lemon Strip Flash Peel by Ole Henriksen or Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive) for shorter than the recommended time to see how your skin reacts. If you want to start on microdermabrasion, visit a dermatologist’s office and have them do one to see how your skin reacts. If it’s ok, then do a series, but space out the sessions at least 10-14 days. And just remember: If your skin hurts or stays red and irritated longer than is normal, tone down the exfoliation. Because red, raw skin is ok for a baby’s bottom, but not for your face.