When you start using a new product, your hopes are always high. You expect that your skin will magically recover from all the damage that it has been through in the past. You think that the results mentioned on the package will occur smoothly – and instantly.

However, often, quite the opposite happens. Pimples rise as your skin gets triggered owing to the new addition to your skincare routine. This makes you wonder if the product is a waste of money and doesn’t suit your skin at all.

Though most would immediately stop using the product, its best to wait and see. Is your skin actually breaking out or is it purging? Though similar, there are some differences between skin breaking out and skin purging. Let’s jump to what skin purging is to understand.

What is skin purging?

Skin purging is what happens when you try on a new product. It causes your skin to break out as your skin learns to get used to this new formula. You see, certain chemical products cause the skin exfoliation rate to speed up, which leads to skin purging.

As the cell turnover rate goes up, pimples that were in their earlier stages start showing up. This means clogged pores burst into pimples, smaller pimples become larger, and hidden imperfections make their way to the surface.

If you find your skin reacting like this to a product, don’t halt use immediately. Give it time to adjust to this product. Several times it gets worse before it gets better. If you notice any redness or unusual breakouts, stop use and see your dermatologist.

What’s the difference between skin purging and breaking out?

Skin purging accelerates the skin regeneration cycle. This means existing pimples, blemishes, whiteheads, and blackheads get worse. The microcomedones below the surface of the skin show up. These skin problems are not new ones that the product has caused. They are just pending issues that are pushed out. Once the product’s working kicks in, your skin will start clearing up.

In the case of a breakout and not purging, you’ll experience new clogged pores, new blemishes, and new pimples. Rashes, painful, or irritating ones may also be caused if this is what happens when you start using a new product, its time to stop use. If a product is causing breakouts, the situation is only going to get worse.

To differentiate between both, notice where you are getting blemishes and pimples. If you note that pre-existing flaws have been flared up or there’s a breakout where it usually is, then it’s likely to be skin purging. If your skin breaks out in areas, it hasn’t before then it’s more than just skin purging.

Breakouts that result from an adverse reaction to a product also can be caught when it takes time for the pimples to appear, mature, and shrink. If you are suspecting that it’s a breakout because of an adverse reaction and not skin purging, then discontinue use of the product immediately.

Steps to reduce skin purging

Not all products cause skin purging. However, some that do include retinols, hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, exfoliants, and chemical procedures. When skin purging occurs, it doesn’t last long, unlike in the case of a breakout. Typically, the pimples and blemishes that come with skin purging last until the cell renewal process takes place.

As soon as your old skin cells are shed and new ones replace them, your skin should clear. This process doesn’t take too long. Skin purging lasts for 6 to 8 weeks maximum. During this time, you just have to wait for the flare-up to clear up patiently. Here are some tips that you can follow to minimize the severity of skin purging:

  • Try to keep your hands off your face. Do not touch or pop the pimples on your skin.
  • Don’t use harsh products as they’ll only worsen the condition. Make sure that the products that you use have gentle ingredients.
  • When you use products that are likely to cause skin purging, try to take the process gradually. Instead of squeezing out and applying too much product, take a small amount, and use it less frequently. This will allow your skin to get used to it.
  • Don’t expose your skin to the harmful rays of the sun. Never forget using sun protection when out and about.
  • Don’t use products that dry your skin out, continue gently moisturizing. If you want to get a HydraFacial that might help. However, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll have to be careful. It’s best to consult a professional beforehand about such things.

As annoying as skin purging is, there’s no way to avoid it altogether. In fact, the results that come after the purge are well worth the scary time. You can take the routine slow with the guidance of your dermatologist, but even then, there will be some accompanying pimples. The effects of skin purging can vary from one person to another.

Key takeaway

While skin purging is pretty scary and may make you want to ditch the product, it is not a harmful reaction to the product. Skin purging means that your skin will get worse before the dead skin cells are out, and new cells replace, giving you a youthful glow. So, no, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to skin purging.