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.
What does skin purging look like? 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.
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 necessary process that your skin must go through to adjust to new skincare products. There is a method to all the madness that may be occurring on your face. Skin purging takes form in mostly blackheads or tiny skin-colored bumps, and looks incredibly similar to a breakout.
Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen. If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist. It could be that you need to adjust the dosage and/or frequency of application.
How long does it take for skin to purge? Unfortunately, purging can be a lengthy process and it can take up to three or so months before results start to show, especially if the treatment is an acne medicated 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
You Breakout A Lot
This is also a common sign and goes in junction with clogged pores. If you find yourself breaking out a lot, that typically is a good sign that you're using too much moisturizer for your own good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While retinol definitely gets a bad rap when it comes to skin purging, it's not the only culprit. "Any ingredients that cause cell turnover can cause purging, and that includes exfoliant acids like alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids," says Dr. Farber.
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.
"Ideally the skin is smooth, supple, and uniform in color," Waldorf said. If your skin feels less bumpy, the size of your pores has been reduced, and you're noticing less marks, acne, and discoloration, your products are likely working.