Skin purging happens when new ingredients, like retinol, promote increased cell turnover, which causes clogging and worsening breakouts. This is particularly the case as oil and debris that is trapped deeper underneath the skin comes to the surface.
Purging is slightly different, appearing on the skin mostly as blackheads or small skin-coloured bumps just under the surface of the skin. But it is also possible for purging to cause similar spots to a breakout, too.
You might also get more breakouts once you start using retinoids. Keep calm and stick with it. “It's common to see acne get worse before it gets better, as the retinoids can cause a mass 'purge,'” says Robinson. Basically, as skin cell turnover increases, new clogs rise to the top.
Your skin may react viscerally to retinoids and face acids
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.”
Retinoids such as Tretinoin, acids such as salicylic, and benzoyl peroxide are just a few of the products that cause purging. These products contain active ingredients that increase the skin cell turnover rate, therefore causing your skin to purge.
In general, retinol is one of the more gentle varieties of retinoids, however, “if you're going to experience shedding it will begin on day three to five of daily night time use, and this usually continues for about five to 10 days depending on your skin type and the percentage of retinol you've used,” adds Ejikeme.
Peeling, redness, and irritation are common onset reactions for some people when they first start to use retinol. Some reactions get so bad that the common term used to describe the list of effects has been dubbed the “retinol uglies”. Note from a skincare expert: Many things in life get worse before they get better.
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.
Generally, it takes a few weeks to see results, but some OTC options may require months of regular use. Most dermatologists said you'll need to use retinol for a few weeks before you see results, but you should see improvements by 12 weeks with most products.
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 neither good nor bad. It can happen after using excellent products but, equally, it also frequently occurs when the skin barrier is compromised prior to starting with a product or treatment.
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.
“If you're overusing your retinol, or if you're using a retinol that's too strong for you, it can lead to peeling, irritation, and excessive dryness, which may have led to retinol's association with skin thinning,” she says.
Retinoids work best if you use them daily. Specifically, they should be used at night because some types are deactivated by light and air. It's important to start slowly and allow your skin time to adjust. Using too much too quickly can cause redness, dryness, and irritation.
First, the answer is yes, retinol can make wrinkles worse, especially when you first start using it. What is happening is a drying effect, and one can get epidermal sliding from separation from the dermis.
Skin purging is when a new skincare product causes the skin to break out, flake, or peel. Skin purging is different from a regular breakout because it will resolve in about six weeks. To ease skin purging, moisturize, wear SPF, and gradually introduce new products.
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.
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!
Some people have noticed acne breakouts after using retinol, though this is a rare side effect. Eczema flare-ups, skin discoloration, swelling, and stinging are also rare occurrences. Side effects are likely to disappear after a few weeks of regular use, so it's important to give your skin time to adjust.
Should you use retinol under your eyes? Yes, definitely. While it is true that retinol – a form of vitamin A – is a powerful ingredient and the skin under your eyes is delicate, there's no reason why you should miss out on the amazing benefits of retinol.
After two to six weeks of using tretinoin, it's usually okay to start using an exfoliant. However, it's best to use exfoliating products as sparingly as possible while using tretinoin to avoid potentially irritating your skin.
6: Myth: If you have peeling or redness, you should stop using the retinoid. With retinoids, it's often a “worse-before-better” type of situation. Typical side effects include dryness, tightness, peeling, and redness — especially when first starting out.
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out.
These unwanted effects — particularly skin dryness and acne breakouts — are widely referred to as the “tretinoin purge.” While they don't affect everyone, many tretinoin users experience some degree of purge effects during the first several weeks of treatment.