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If I have a skin problem, can I use an exfoliant?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology
If you have eczema, stay away from abrasive exfoliants and any kind of acid. They can make the problem much worse. You really need an emollient-rich moisturizer instead of a scrub. For someone with psoriasis, especially if it has formed a dry, silvery layer, try a cream or lotion containing salicylic or lactic acid. This creamy acid formula will help dissolve that thick surface more gently than a scratchy mechanical scrub. Plus, this allows emollients to get through that heavy scale. As with any exfoliant, once or twice a week is plenty. Exfoliant abuse can absolutely damage the skin's barrier function. It can actually create new psoriasis by traumatizing the skin, a phenomenon called koebnerization.
Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.