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Is my skin purging or is it a breakout?

by Kendra Ruebsam |

Ever wake up to a pimple and think “I’m taking such good care of my skin, what the heck is going on?” Well, it may not be a breakout, it could be a purge. So what’s the difference?

What is purging?

Purging occurs when the skin’s cellular turnover rate has increased. Before these new, healthy cells can cycle to the surface, some other stuff has to rise to the top first, like the excess sebum, flakes, and buildup that clog pores. During this stage, as the surface layer of the skin sheds more quickly pimples and blemishes hidden beneath the skin surface are revealed. Basically, our skin is expediting the recovery process. This typically occurs after using a skincare product with an active ingredient that targets cellular regeneration.

 What ingredients can cause purging? 

  • Vitamin A (tretinoin, retin-a, retinol, retinoid)
  • Vitamin C
  • AHA and BHA chemical exfoliants
  • Benzoyl Peroxide

Is it purging or a breakout? 

Irritation from a new product can cause an allergic reaction or sensitivity. If you’re seeing breakouts or dryness in an area of your face where you don’t normally break out, it’s probably a response to a new product you’re using.  In this situation, it’s best to stop using the new product ASAP. Your skin is clearly not into this product. 

Purging happens where you frequently break out and will disappear faster than a normal pimple.

How long will my skin purge?

Purging takes time. We recommend giving your skin 28 days to adjust to your new skincare routine. As annoying as it can be, this pesky purging period will be worth the wait. Who knew that clear, youthful skin was waiting just beneath the surface that whole time?