So, you’ve just gone out and bought a whole bunch of new skincare products and you can’t wait to get all of that good stuff on your face. You lather on serums and acids only to wake up and, what the heck? Your skin is breaking out worse than when you were 13!
It might be a little something called skin purging. Don’t worry, it is not as scary as it sounds! Let’s dive in…
What is Skin Purging?
When your skin purges, you’ll see a bunch of new breakouts in a short period of time.
Do you want the bad news or the good news first? The bad news is that skin purging is a real (and very annoying) issue and makes your skin look worse before it gets better (sorry).
Now for the good news! It happens when you start using a new skincare ingredient that brings all of the toxins and congestion to the surface of your skin so it can be cleared out. Your skin is how your body removes toxins, so all of those microcomedones (just a fancy word for blackheads and whiteheads) have their moment in the sun. When an ingredient speeds up cell turnover and detoxifies, the end result can be temporary acne but it means your skin is working to clear itself.
Some of the main culprits include retinoid, AHAs and BHAs, pretty much any product that works to clear the skin and increase cell turnover. So don’t stress, it is all for a good cause and usually a sign that your product is working!
It usually presents itself as a regular breakout. How long it lasts really depends on the person (sorry we can’t give you a more concrete answer!) but typically resolves itself within 4-8 weeks. A standard breakout can last longer than this so there’s another bit of good news for you!
How to Tell the Difference Between Skin Purging and a Breakout
The key way to tell if your skin is purging or if you’re experiencing a good old fashioned breakout is if you’ve recently started using a new product, especially one with those skin resurfacing and acne-fighting ingredients (such as salicylic acid). In this case, the purging can be a sign that you’re onto a winner with your skincare. Taking note of the active ingredients in your new products can help you put two and two together.
Another telltale sign of a purge? It is an accelerated process of clearing the skin, so it won’t last as long as a breakout (phew!).
If you’re seeing pimples and haven’t started using the cheeky little ingredients we’ve talked about, the bumps are likely a breakout, caused by trapped oil in the pores. That’s when you’re going to want to break out those acne-fighting superhero products.
If that 8 week mark passes and your pimples aren’t showing any signs of packing up, visit a dermatologist or naturopath if you’re concerned you may be having a negative reaction to a product or aren’t sure how to clear up your skin.
How to Stop Skin Purging
So by now you’re probably wondering, “how do I kick skin purging to the curb?” We hear ya! The best advice we can give you is a little sprinkle of patience and self love. As we’ve mentioned (we know, we’re a broken record by this point), your purge should start to clear at that 8 week mark. So deep breaths, more often than not, your skin will start to calm down and look clearer than ever.
As strange as it may seem, you’re going to want to stick to your products and skincare routine, as purging is a sign that your skin is detoxing, which is a major plus! It means those little beauties are working. But if you’re looking to speed up the process, follow the age-old acne checklist: don’t touch your face, clean your phone and pillowcase regularly, stay clear of too many harsh products and always, always apply SPF, like our Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen.
Skin purging may still feel irritated and sensitive so please show your skin a little TLC and be gentle. That means chilling out on the physical exfoliation. In other words, don’t strip your poor skin raw.
Speaking of being gentle, if you’ve got sensitive skin, starting slow with one product at a time can reduce the likelihood of skin purging. Overloading skin of any type, especially sensitive, is a recipe for disaster. Baby steps!
If you’re not sure whether you’ve got a purge or breakout on your hands, or you simply want to know how to leave purging at the door, chat to one of our skin consultants.