When asked how best to go about cleansing the face, de-clogging pores, preventing fine lines or wrinkles, the answer is often to simply exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.  This step in any woman's beauty regimen either involves a traditional cleansing with a washcloth on the face, an old school toothbrush beauty method, exfoliator masks, a sweet-smelling formula filled with tiny little micro beads, or a handheld exfoliator brush.  And all in the name of beautiful clear skin, right?  But is there such a thing as too much exfoliation?

We all know the point of exfoliating. Using a slightly textured scrub on the face gently helps to slough away dead skin cells, unblock pores, and help skin cells regenerate for a brighter, healthier-looking glow. The benefits are obvious. Removing dead skin cells helps eliminate dryness, flakes, and makes for a more youthful appearance. Regular exfoliation can also help boost skin's ability to absorb moisture and stay hydrated. This makes for a great anti-aging beauty regimen, preventing lines, wrinkles, improving acne and its potential to leave scars.  With so many pluses, it's hard to fight the need to exfoliate often, but there are drawbacks.

Before you change your skin regime, simply be aware of the telltale signs that you're level of skincare may be causing your face some real despair.  In an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Dennis Gross, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, highlighted what too much exfoliation can cause for skin.  "The [tell-tale] signals that you're using your exfoliator too much include: excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and sensitivity," Gross said. "If you see any of these signs occurring on your completion, it's important to stop using the product immediately."  Ouch!

And while some of us simply love our designer exfoliators (I heart the Clarisonic Mia!), Gross believes a traditional cleansing will get the job done just fine. "As far as manual exfoliants go, such as scrubs with tiny granules, sloughing sponges, or hand-held devices, I find that many people overuse them and/or scrub too vigorously," he explained. "Cleaning your skin daily with a washcloth, and applying very light pressure using circular motions, is all you need to gently remove most dead-skin cells."

So how often should we all ideally be exfoliating our skin?  Definitely not everyday. Gross recommends scrubs be used 3-4 times a week, and hand held devices only once or twice. When choosing your exfoliator, opt for formulas with small beads versus harsher seeds, nuts, and pits found in many scrubs. And if you're an exfoliator offender, fear not. Dr. Gross says there are ways to undo the damage. "To calm your complexion once it's red, use products that contain green-tea extract," Gross said. "And licorice root extract and cucumber extract also work to soothe and calm the skin, alleviating redness."  It seems too much of a good thing is never truly good, even in the world of beauty.

Are you guilty of over-exfoliating skin? What type of exfoliator do you use? Let us know in the comments section below.