A cystic pimple on your chin? You're probably not purging. Though a skin purge can technically appear as any type of acne, it typically looks like “small, red, tender bumps on the skin, and often [can be accompanied] with the appearance of blackheads or whiteheads,” says Dr. Nazarian.
She notes a purge period can prompt allkinds of pimples. “It may look different from person to person, but you can get a mix of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and even the tiny 'pre-pimples' that aren't visible to the eye, called microcomedones.”
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.
Grade IV: Grade IV acne is the most severe grade of acne. With grade IV acne the skin will display many pustules, nodules, and cysts. Blackheads and whiteheads are usually numerous. There is pronounced inflammation, and breakouts likely extend to areas other than the face, such as the neck, upper chest, and back.
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.
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.
It can range from minor pimples to cystic acne, as well as dryness, redness, and peeling. Also, it is important to remember that retinol isn't the direct cause of acne.
Grade III acne is considered severe acne. Severe acne causes breakouts that often extend deep into the skin. In severe acne, a single pimple or cyst can stay on the skin for weeks or months at a time. Grade III acne is considered severe acne.
Cystic acne — the most severe form of acne — occurs when oil and dead skin cells build up deep within hair follicles. The resulting rupture within your skin may form boil-like inflammation.
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!
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.
In the end, purging is a good sign and is just one step to better skin. Keep at it, persevere, and continue using those products to improve your skin.
“Because purging is thought to be due to increased cell turnover, it's really going to bring preexisting microcomedones [small clogged hair particles] to the surface and will potentially turn into whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, and cysts,” Dr. Shah explains.
For concerns like cystic acne, BHA is safe to use every day to help regulate oil production and keep painful blemishes from appearing. Dr. Sperling recommends using both acids at night after cleansing and toning, because they increase sensitivity to sunlight.
Underground pimples that swell up and never come to a head (these suckers are known as cysts) are notorious for showing up in the same exact spot, says Dr Zeichner. They develop when your pore, which is shaped like a long tube, branches out and causes oil to take a detour from its path to the surface of your skin.
Warm compresses and acne stickers can help to bring a pimple to a head so that the sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria can exit to the skin's surface. Using ice can relieve inflammation. If blind pimples occur frequently or are particularly inflamed and painful, a person should seek advice from a dermatologist.
Most people have acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older. Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-20s. In some cases, acne can continue into adult life.
What is cystic acne? Depending on the treatment, cystic acne can last for eight to twelve weeks. When a pore gets clogged from skin cells, oil, and bacteria, it can become infected, leaving a red and swollen bump.
Does purging mean you should stop using retinol products? “No, purging is a temporary phenomenon. Your skin should improve if you persevere,” advises Dr Derrick Phillips, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. “Retinoids dry out the skin and can cause irritation, particularly in those with dry skin.
How to treat skin purging. “If the skin barrier is compromised when you see purging then start ingredients which help with barrier repair, such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid in a non-comedogenic formulation. If you are using a treatment or product continue with a slower approach.”
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.