Exfoliating cream

Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

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Are You Overexfoliating?
File this one under the way-too-much-of-a-good-thing category. Many women inadvertently give themselves problem skin by exfoliating too hard and too often, says Ava Shamban, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. You risk drying out your skin and stripping off the top layer. That's not all: When you rob your skin of needed moisture, it responds as if it were an injury and produces more oil, which often results in acne, says Shamban. Overexfoliating can also break blood vessels. (Hellooo, rosacea!) To avoid self-sabotage, use a face scrub or sponge only once or twice a week—or not at all, if you're using retinoids or glycolic acids. And when you dry your face, blot it gently. 

— Jessica Matlin