Purging pimples do not leave marks or blemishes on your skin. It actually heals the skin to form fresher skin cells. Breakouts don't benefit the skin; they leave marks and blemishes when they go. The cell turnover is faster to remove dead cells.
Another key differentiating factor: Skin purging typically manifests as clusters of small, red bumps and pimples (think: pustules, which are similar to whiteheads) that all crop up at the same time, explains Dr. Farhang.
Be patient for one skin cycle, or about 28 days
Everyone's skin is unique, so that time frame can differ from person to person. Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen.
Signs your skin is purging
Your breakouts cleared up much faster than your usual acne or pimples. Your breakouts did not leave marks or blemishes on your skin. All the breakouts seemingly started all at once. The breakouts settle down in 2-3 weeks and your skin appears clearer and healthier.
Continuing use of a product when purging occurs increases the frequency of that skin cell turnover cycle and helps improve the texture of your skin in the long-term.
“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.
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.
What does it look like? Distinct, acne-like bumps may be purging. However, if you're noticing welts, diffuse redness, or anything resembling a rash, stop what you're doing. Inflammation is a sign of reaction and generally appears as all-over redness rather than individual, blemish-like spots.
Additionally, if you experience any itchiness, redness, burning or pain immediately after applying a new product, these are clear signs you're experiencing an allergic reaction and it's best to wash it off carefully and stop using it altogether.
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.
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!
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.
Why do some people break out directly following a facial? During a facial, skin is well stimulated and much of what's below the surface is encouraged to come up and out. If extractions are not done well then pores and pimples may have left over debris that come to a head in the following days.
Skin purging is a process that happens when certain skincare ingredients increase skin cell turnover. This encourages shedding of old, dead cells and growth of new, healthy ones. Unfortunately, this process often makes the skin look worse before it looks better.
Your skin might burn, sting, itch, or get red right where you used the product. You might get blisters and have oozing, especially if you scratch. The other kind of reaction actually involves your immune system. It's called allergic contact dermatitis and symptoms can include redness, swelling, itching, and hives.
On a positive note, itchiness can be a sign indicating that the acne is getting better. When acne is healing, the red, pustular skin needs to be replaced with new, healthy skin. During this process, your body exfoliates, or sheds old layers of skin to uncover new layers of skin.
When you start a new skin care routine or you incorporate new products into your current regimen, you may experience breakouts or skin flaking. This process is sometimes called purging. This is a normal, short-term condition where the skin will rid itself of underlying oil, bacteria, or dirt, according to Dr.
Breakouts. "When doing a lot of extractions to clear out bumps, sometimes not all of the lodged oil will come out and because we don't force anything that doesn't want to come out, some purging can occur a day or two after a facial as the pore does its own self-cleaning," explains Rouleau.
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.
Most niacinamide products also contain a variety of other ingredients. If any of these ingredients increase skin cell turnover then they may be behind any 'purging'. Some ingredients can also be 'comedogenic' which means that they are more likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.
You may experience some redness and irritation when you start using niacinamide products. Some of this may be normal and lessen over time, but lasting irritation may be a sign you're using too much or a product with too high of a concentration of niacinamide for your skin type.
Over time, this phase will pass (for some, it may be one to two months, depending on the severity of your breakouts.) The most probable reason for the breakouts experienced after using a BHA is pure coincidence.
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.