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Skin Purging 101: What It Is and Why it Happens

Skin Purging 101: What It Is and Why it Happens

Have you ever changed up your skincare routine, only to find that a week in your skin is freaking out?


If so, you may be experiencing a phenomenon called skin purging. Though the term makes it sound less than pleasant, it might bring you a bit of relief to know that when this happens, it’s actually nothing you need to be terribly concerned about.


Essentially, skin purging is a temporary reaction that can occur post-exfoliation or when you begin using a new product with active ingredients such as retinols, benzoyl peroxide, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, and some formulations of Vitamin C.


Because these types of treatments can speed up your skin’s renewal processes, what is happening during a purge is that congested pores and unhealthy skin cells are being pushed to the surface at a more rapid rate.


Skin Purging vs. Breakouts: What’s the difference?

Skin purging tends to look an awful lot like acne - showing up in the form of bumps and blemishes - it can be easy to mistake it for an ordinary breakout. However, there are a few key differences between the two. The biggest one being the root issue.


As we’ve already touched on, skin purging happens as a result of introducing a new ingredient or treatment, whereas acne is caused by other complications such as excess oil, hormones, improper skin care, stress, or other internal health imbalances.


Additionally, you can spot the difference by observing where your breakouts show up and how long they last. Acne breakouts can show up anywhere on your skin and last for months at a time, but skin purging will typically only take place in problem areas like your chin, cheeks, and jawline. And good news: it will also clear up much faster.

Tips for Treatment: How to troubleshoot purging skin

So, what should you do when you notice skin purging? You can continue using your new products, as long as purging is the only complication and no allergic reaction has occurred. Although it can take a few weeks for a purge-related breakout to clear up, you can help it along by using other supportive products and practicing consistent skin care habits. Reminder less is more and try to only introduce one new product at a time.


Cleansing daily, or twice daily, with a gentle face wash is a must, and no HOT WATER. You should also moisturize frequently to promote repair and reinforce your skin’s protective barrier. Once your skin has adjusted to your new care routine, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience further purging activity, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy recovery.

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