Here are the commonly used active ingredients and treatments that can amp up cell turnover and pave the way to skin purging: Acids - The most common acids that can cause skin purging are AHA's and BHA's, which include salicylic acid, malic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid.
Purging should then last the length of time for a full cycle. While that is different for everyone, it should on average last between 4 to 6 weeks. However, if your skin isn't getting better after 6 to 8 weeks, your skin may be having an adverse reaction to the new product(s).
Chemical exfoliants can also cause a purging effect, including alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs). For example, products like The Ordinary's fantastic AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.
Using too many AHAs, BHAs, and chemicals at once can cause irritation. In turn, this can make wrinkles, acne, and other skin concerns more noticeable.
You will usually see terms like 'inflammatory lesions', or 'inflammatory acne', associated with ingredients which increase the skin turnover. Ingredients like retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, PHA, chemical peels and even lasers can prompt skin to purge.”
BHAs clear up blackheads, whiteheads, and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This umbrella term includes the popular anti-acne ingredient of Salicylic Acid. BHAs also exfoliate the top layer but are best bought for their deep penetrative qualities.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.
You may experience skin purging from exfoliating acids, too. “Certain facials that involve a chemical peel component may also trigger this reaction,” Mraz Robinson says, “because again, it's all about a reaction in response to an accelerated exfoliation.”
Purging can last for anything from one or two weeks to one or two months. Breakouts can last a while; there is no time period that indicates when the breakouts will go away. The cell turnover speed is usual. The purging of the skin starts after a few days of using a new product.
Purging is a sign that the product is working and you should continue with the treatment as prescribed. After a few weeks of purging, your skin and acne will have noticeably improved. Breaking out is when your skin is reacting because it is sensitive to something in the new product.
Because BHA is oil-soluble, it exfoliates not only on the surface of skin, but also inside the pore lining. That kind of exfoliation can trigger a mass exodus of inflammatory substances and oil that, under certain conditions, can create more breakouts.
“Purging” is another term for breakouts, though there are some differences. Though some people do report experiencing irritation and breakouts after using the ingredient, niacinamide is unlikely to cause purging. That's because it doesn't affect the skin in a way that usually triggers purging.
If you want to prevent skin purging or limit a purge's severity, make sure you introduce your new acne treatment products slowly into your routine. This is true of other skincare products for most skin conditions! Slow and steady usually wins the race.
Skin purging occurs because newly introduced skincare ingredients increase the rate at which your skin cells turnover, causing you to shed more dead skin cells than usual. This, in turn, pushes layers of dead skin off and also brings clogged pores to the surface, Chang says, resulting in more breakouts.
A purge can last as long as two months, and you should start seeing an improvement by the six-week point, if not sooner. On the other side of a purge is cleaner, clearer skin!
Use a Gentle BHA
Yes, BHAs can cause initial skin purging, but they also happen to be the most effective way to clear and prevent acne. Not only do they exfoliate dead skin on the surface, but they also deep-clean pores, reduce excess oil, calm inflammation and fade post-acne marks.
While physical exfoliants may buff away dead skin cells, leaving your skin feeling smooth, the friction involved may irritate your already-inflamed skin, leading to increased redness and breakouts.
After applying an active exfoliant to the skin, it loosens up the congestion deep within pores and pushes it toward the surface of the skin -- causing what looks like a breakout but is actually just your skin going through a cycle.
Many have questioned whether skin purging is real. It may seem contradictory that continuing to use a product through breakouts and holding on through some serious bad skin days can result in your complexion eventually clearing. But purging is absolutely real—especially if you have acne-prone skin to begin with.
BHA seems to be more effective for treating skin conditions like acne because of its antibacterial properties. AHAs, such as glycolic and lactic acid, may be effective in treating changes in skin color such as melasma, solar lentigines, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
"Do not overuse an alpha-hydroxy-acid product," confirms Bolder. “Once every other day is plenty, unless you are on a programme with an expert that says otherwise.” However, it is often safe to use BHA daily.
Which of these products can be used after the AHA peeling solution? You're welcome to apply Alpha-Arbutin or Niacinamide after the Peeling Solution.
How long does it take to work? You will find there are some instant results when using a product containing salicylic acid, particularly chemical toners. The skin will appear fresher looking with a healthy glow, in regards to treating any breakouts or other blemishes, you can expect to see results in 4-6 weeks.