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What is Skin Purging?

Skin purging is your body’s natural way of removing nasty things from your skin’s pores. Your skin is literally pushing impurities out. It’s also a sign that you are shedding dead and damaged skin cells faster than usual. Therefore, think of skin purging as a deep cleanse. The end result of skin purging should be clearer, healthier, and younger-looking skin.


What does it look like?

Skin purging causes little red bumps which are tender to touch. There may also be white and blackheads, pustules, papules, or cysts. Essentially, all kinds of pimples can be triggered. The great news is that while it may look like acne, it should take less time to clear up. Some people’s skin also flakes while it’s purging.


Why does Skin Purging happen?

An active ingredient in a new product can cause skin purging to happen. Some active ingredients which could cause purges are retinoids, vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as glycolic, salicylic acid, lactic, malic, and benzoyl peroxide. If a product’s ingredients differ from those in your current regime, then skin purging could occur. Exfoliating products, peels and laser treatments could also cause purging.  Since a skin purging reaction to a product is basically an accelerated exfoliation response, it means that your new product is working.


How long does it last?

It usually gets worse before looking better. So, don’t stop using the product, it will be worth it. A natural skin cycle is approximately 28 days. Therefore, you should see an improvement in your skin 4 to 6 weeks after starting your new product.


What to do when your skin purges

While it happens, experts advise using a gentle skincare routine. For example, use a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen as well as the product causing your skin to purge.  Speeding up the process isn’t possible. However, you can make it more bearable by avoiding scrubs, peels and drying products. Additionally, despite the temptation, never pick at the acne or pop and squeeze pimples. This can damage your skin and could result in scarring or an infection, which will make things look even worse.


The Difference between Allergies and Purging

Although it can happen across your skin, purging is usually concentrated in the areas where you are most prone to breakouts. The pimples will tend to come out at the same time and take about 5 days to appear, mature and shrink. Therefore, if you notice irritation in areas where you don’t usually have breakouts, you should keep an eye on them. It could be an allergic reaction to the product. If the breakout or dryness lasts longer than 8-10 days, it’s likely to be a reaction to the product, not a skin purge.

If you are experiencing redness or rashes, stinging or burning then discontinue using the product. This is a reaction to the product, not your skin purging.


Testing a New Product

Before using it, it’s advisable to test a new skincare product for an allergic reaction. First, try a small amount of the product on the inside of your forearm. Wait 24-48 hours and if there isn’t a reaction go ahead with using your new product. Your skin may still purge but you’ll know it’s unlikely to be allergy-linked.



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