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please help! I don't know how to fix my face skin after I scrubbed on it too hard!




About 4 days ago I washed my face with a Dove soap bar while I showered (like I always do) except this time I used the "Rose" one (I typically always use the white bar or sensitive skin one but didn't have one this time). While I washed my face I also grabbed a rough exfoliating sponge and used that to brush all over my forehead, nose and part of the cheek area and I sort of went ham on my face with it.... (I don't usually scrub my face like this)


The next morning, I woke up with a weird rash and tiny, tiny

pus filled pimples and a weird texture on my face. Now I'm freaking itchy too.

I have normal to dry skin also if that helps and don't have a skincare routine.


Please help me! What is this? Will it go away? Is it irritation? Did I over-exfoliate?

Re: please help! I don't know how to fix my face skin after I scrubbed on it too hard!

@B3len  Ouch, sorry your skin’s throwing a tantrum. 😞 I’m not a dermatologist or other type of doctor who can diagnose your skin (none of us here on BIC are), so all I can do is guess. Your best bet is to see a derm or your primary care doc for diagnosis and treatment. 


It does sound like you over-exfoliated and broke your skin barrier. But you could also be having a bad reaction to the rose soap bar you used. Or the problem could be both those things. 


My recommendations: 


  1. Don’t exfoliate (via manual scrubby thingy or any chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc.) your face for a few weeks. Exfoliating more right now will just make your skin angrier. Rub very gently with your hands when washing your face. 

  2. Switch to a gentle cleanser for your face. I don’t know offhand what’s in the Dove soap bar you normally use, but consider using else. Vanicream makes a good basic cleanser that’s available at your local Target (if you’re in the US) or drugstore. Other gentle effective cleansers are CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar, CeraVe Cream-to-Foam Cleanser, and e.l.f. Pure Skin Cleanser. That last one contains oats to help soothe irritated skin. So does The INKEY List Oat Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm 5 oz/ 150 mL which is what I use whenever my skin’s in angry bad reaction mode. I gently rub that balm on my face, let it sit 5-10 minutes as a soothing oat mask while I wash the rest of my body in the shower, and then rinse it off. 

  3. Use a basic effective moisturizer on your face. Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion is a good one. If you want something thicker, consider Vanicream Moisturizing Cream or even CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. 

  4. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) each day your skin will be exposed to sunlight, all year long, regardless of weather or season. It can be chemical, mineral/physical (zinc oxide), or a hybrid sunscreen: all 3 types work largely the same way, and one’s not safer/better than the others. When your skin barrier’s broken, it’s extra sensitive to UV rays that can worsen the damage (and cause more serious issues like skin cancer). It’s hard to recommend one because it depends a lot on your personal preferences. Many people (including me) like Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Invisible Broad Spectrum SPF 40 PA +++ 1.7 oz/ 50 mL , but there are many other good options out there by La Roche-Posay, Trader Joe’s, Native, Eucerin, and far more brands than I can remember right now. 


I hope your skin feels better soon! Healing can take 3-6 weeks, so be patient and gentle with your skin. 

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