Is your skin breaking out after introducing a new active ingredient to your facial routine? Don’t worry, you might just be going through the infamous “skin purge.” In this comprehensive guide, we unravel the mysteries of this phenomenon and provide you with all the essential knowledge you need to navigate through it with confidence.
What is skin purging?
The term “skin purge” refers to a temporary negative cutaneous reaction to a new skincare product or ingredient. The most common culprits known to cause this type of reaction include retinoids, chemical exfoliants, and AHAs/BHAs. By turbocharging your skin’s cell renewal process, these powerful ingredients ignite a revitalizing wave that prompts your skin to purge impurities and toxins from within its pores. These can show up on your skin as blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, and in some cases, even cystic acne.
How long does a skin purge last?
Normally, a full skin cycle, aka around 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, your skin’s appearance may get worse before it improves. Be patient and stay committed to your routine. Your skin will adapt to the new product, so don’t get discouraged.
How to avoid it from happening...
To prevent a potential purge when adding a new product into your routine, take a gradual approach and introduce it slowly. To start with, we recommend using the formula once a week and increasing the frequency depending on how your skin reacts. Moreover, when dealing with products containing retinol, it is crucial to begin with a lower concentration, gradually progressing to more potent formulas once your skin has become used to it. Remember, always listen to the unique needs of your skin.
Everyone’s skin is different, and just because you have incorporated a new ingredient into your routine does not necessarily mean that you will suffer a skin purge. What’s more, not all active compounds have this effect. For instance, milder actives, botanical alternatives to retinol, and gentle clays are examples of ingredients that are less likely to trigger one.
How to tackle purging skin...
If you’re in the throes of a skin purge, there are a few things you can do to lessen its effects and help your skin heal quicker. Opt for products containing ceramides, niacinamide, or hyaluronic acid to repair your skin barrier. Soothing ingredients, such as mallow extract, are also essential to help reduce inflammation and irritation. And finally, avoid products that dry out the skin, like retinol in high concentrations, as they can make things worse.
A word of advice… Skin purging should not be confused with irritation or an allergic reaction. If you experience more severe symptoms, such as intense itching, redness or swelling, discontinue use of the product immediately and seek advice from a trusted professional.
Don’t pop your pimples!
Resist the urge to touch any pesky spots that may appear from introducing a new active ingredient. Picking at them can lead to scarring or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Let your skin’s natural healing process take its course.