What is skin Purging and how can you identify it

It’s mortifying, but it’s also a good sign. There are no two words to thrill a beauty lover like “the purge”. No, not the dystopian horror movie - although some might say the skincare version of The Purge is just as scary. The term “skin purging” refers to a reaction to an active ingredient that increases the rate of cell turnover in the skin. As skin cell turnover accelerates, the skin begins to shed dead cells faster than usual. The end goal? To expose the fresh skin cells underneath and reveal lighter younger-looking skin.

Ah, if only it were that easy. 

Before these healthy new cells can rise to the surface, other things must first rise to the surface, such as excess sebum, flakes, and buildup that clog the pores (i.e. all the components of a button or two… or 10). It’s not so glamorous that it’s called “the skin purge”.

As the top layer of the skin peels off faster, our skin speeds up its recovery and pushes everything to the surface, a purge period can cause all kinds of pimples. It may look different from person to person, but you can get a mixture of whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and even little “pre-pimples” that are not visible. to the naked eye, called microcomedones. Dry, flaky skin is also common.

Your skin may react viscerally to retinoids and facial acids While purging is not ideal, it is to be expected with some skincare ingredients. The most common offenders are retinoids. The retinoid family includes everything from retinol (a common prescription for acne-prone and aging skin, also found in over-the-counter products) to topical tretinoin and isotretinoin (two medications on the market). prescription only).

You can experience the skin purging of exfoliating acids, too. Some facials that involve a chemical peel component can also trigger this reaction because it is a reaction in response to accelerated exfoliation.

What should you do if your skin is purging itself?

Mraz Robinson suggests sticking to a gentle skincare routine to avoid further inflammation. That means just the basics: a sulfate-free cleanser, soothing moisturizer, and daytime sunscreen. And, of course, the retinoid or exfoliant that purges you in the first place.


That's right: it can be tempting to stop using that retinoid or the exfoliating acid altogether, but resist.

If it's a retinoid Rx from your doctor, they gave it to you for a reason. Stay in this phase of getting worse before it gets better.

How do you know if this is a purge or a breakout

There is a difference between a purge and a bad reaction to a new topical product. The first is a necessary evil. The second is… well, useless.

The purge of a product Burst or reaction of a product occurs when you frequently escape arrives in a new area where you do not escape. disappears faster than a normal pimple usually takes 8-10 days to appear, mature and shrink, First of all, the irritation caused by a new product that is not from retinoids, acids or peels is probably an allergic reaction or sensitivity.

If you see a rash [or dryness] in an area of ​​your face where you don't usually break out, it's probably a reaction to a new product you're using.


In these cases, it is best to stop using the new product as soon as possible, as it is clear that your skin is not in it.


The purge will occur in a more defined area where you pass out frequently. In other words: If you tend to get cysts around your jaw or occasionally flake under your nostrils, purging will allow you to get the most out of it.


But there is a silver lining to purging pimples: Pimples that come and go faster than a normal pimple.

Be patient during a skin cycle, or about 28 days

Think of the purge as the two terrible skincare products: Your skin may have tantrums on the right and the left, but this is only one phase (albeit frustrating).

Since purging occurs when an ingredient tries to speed up the natural rate of peeling and skin renewal, it shouldn't take more than one full skin cycle to get through the worst.


Everyone's skin is unique, so the length of time can vary from person to person. In general, dermatologists say the purge should be completed within four to six weeks of starting a new skincare regimen.


If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, see your dermatologist. You may need to adjust the dose and/or frequency of application.

You cannot speed up the purge, but you can help make it tolerable

Four to six weeks can seem like a long time to wait for the skin of your dreams. Alas, there isn't much you can do to change this timeline.

Tips during purging

  • Don't touch your face.

  • Do not use any drying products, such as acid exfoliators.

  • Get a HydraFacial, if possible, to help remove impurities.

  • Best advice? “Don't pick at your acne”. This will only prolong the purge period and may even lead to permanent scarring.


Don't use products that will overdry the skin. Since many spot treatments are exfoliating agents (like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide), keep them away from bleeding or inflamed skin. the skin is already amid cell renewal. Any further stimulation in this service is likely to make matters worse.

Having a HydraFacial can help speed things up

This type of treatment involves “sucking up” impurities from the pores and then infusing targeted serums to treat individual problems.

But be warned: If you already have sensitive skin, you may not have enough energy to take care of your face during the purge.

This is a decision best to make with your dermatologist or a trusted esthetician. Is there a way to avoid the purge? If you are considering adding retinol, acid, or peel to your routine but don't want the side effects, you can minimize the purges. Dermatologists suggest the “ease in” method.

For example, during the first week, apply the retinoid twice a week. Then, for the second week, apply it three times a week, until you use it daily. This will allow the skin to gradually adjust to the ingredient.


You can follow the same pattern with exfoliating acids; start with a weekly application and do not exceed two to three times per week at most. (Neither can this lead to excessive exfoliation.)


This technique does not apply to chemical peels, however. It shouldn't be used more than once a month, at most.



The post-purge is worth the wait for your ideal skin

Boring as it can be, this tedious period of purging will be worth it once your skin adjusts to its new routine.


Who knew that fair, youthful skin was waiting just below the surface all this time? (Oh yeah… dermatologists.)

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