Skin purging occurs when you start using a new product that contains chemical exfoliants such as alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, and retinoids, all of which speed up the rate of skin cell turnover (the rate at which you shed dead skin cells and replace them with new cells), says Dr. Gonzalez.
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.”
“The term 'skin purging' refers to a reaction to an active ingredient that is increasing skin cell turnover rate,” Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Healthline. As skin cell turnover speeds up, the skin starts shedding dead skin cells faster than normal.
Ultimately, skin purging is not a bad thing – it's just a sign that your skin is getting used to a retinoid or skin acid. If you have skin purging, you may experience whiteheads, blackheads, dryness, or even flaking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to treating your skin during a purge, the best thing that you can do is actually the least satisfying answer anyone really wants to hear—you just have to wait it out. “Depending on how congested your skin is, a purge can last from two to three weeks,” Dr. Linkner states.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Alongside its many benefits is the side effect of initial skin purging. When using products with Tretinoin, you may notice dry skin and excess production of oil, which contributes to the increase in skin cell turnover. Do not freak out! Rest assured that this is just the first phase to better skin.
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.
Anything that makes your skin cells turn over faster can cause skin purging, so generally those with exfoliating benefits, such as retinoids (Vitamin A), Vitamin C (a very gentle acid that can slough off dead superficial skin) and hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, malic acid and salicylic acid).
Some serums can be too oily, which can exacerbate bumps and cause excessive buildup in the pores; other serums may contain high amounts of acids or exfoliants that can irritate the skin and worsen the condition—especially if your skin is sensitive, she explains.
So if you used a vitamin C serum and it gave you acne, redness or any other skin issue, it is because the serum took away your body's ability to fight off bacteria, and weakened it, inviting pathogens to infect your skin.
A tell-tale sign of vitamin c over-use can be increased blackheads or a development of blackheads. General skin irritation and breakouts can also occur if you are using your vitamin c too much or too often. We recommend using your serum 1-2 times a day and 2-4 drops is all that is needed.