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Most of us just avoid eraser on actual pixels 99% of the time ...
I almost always erase ON real layers (and it is not destructive) and often have no more than two or three layers going at a time. I have found ways that work easy and dont require elaborate masking or tons of complicated layers. But having said that, I also use masks for certain things to, as well as the under-exploited "Blend If" (Layer / Layer Style / Blend If) sliders (one of my very favorites)! As far as masks go, an example may be that you want to isolate a certain color or tone using "Color Range" (Select / Color Range) which will create a live selection (marching ants) of the specific color or tone. Problem is that if you now tweak that live selection it is immediately rendered 8 bit even on 16 bit images (all live selections once adjusted, turn into 8 bit - and are now prone to major issues - like banding and posterization - due to the very destructive loss of data there). So, instead of tweaking the live selection I will simply make a mask by clicking on the "add a mask" icon on the bottom of the layers pallet. So, don't be afraid to erase, but learn to use masks too. You need both in a great workflow, but I don't think layers and layers of elaborate masks are necessary. Some of the very best Photoshop users in the world use very non conventional ways to get done what they want. Whatever works best for you. But do know what is "destructive" and why. Side note, I teach post production for a living and some of my current clients have done workshops and have seen how Marc Adamus works on his images. His ways are so non conventional they are even hard to understand. Some might be appalled. But for what he is after it works. So, there is no one answer to your question. The best idea is to learn it all, that way you can pick the tool that works best for you and learn to minimize the destructive stuff.