Skin purging isn’t the prettiest term but dermatologists say it's nothing to be ashamed of.
In fact, experts say it's an incredibly common condition that 20 to 25 percent of people experience when switching to a new acne product or exfoliating treatment. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s a temporary condition and just requires a little knowledge to navigate.
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So what exactly is skin purging?
Skin purging refers to when an active product or treatment increases the skin’s cellular turnover to expedite recovery. The skin reacts by “purging” itself of impurities which can then bring breakout activity to the surface. Examples of products that can potentially trigger skin purging are alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinols and benzoyl peroxide.
Dermatologists say the purging process can look a bit different for everyone. Whiteheads, blackheads, cysts and even microcomedones are all ways it can show up in the skin. For this reason many people mistake their skin’s reaction for a regular acne outbreak.
Can you spot the difference?
According to dermatologists, breakouts occur more randomly and are typically the result of an improper skin care routine or a lack of acne care. Purging on the other hand, tends to happen in conjunction with starting a new routine and will be more concentrated to specific areas where you usually have breakout activity.
It’s also important to note the difference between skin purging and an allergic reaction. Doctors emphasize that redness, itching, small bumps and swelling are all signs of an allergic reaction to an ingredient or product. In the event that you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to stop use immediately and reach out to a skincare professional to help you troubleshoot.
How long will it last?
If your skin is purging, skin care professionals say it might get a bit worse before it gets better. Because the skin takes time to heal and repair, you may need to wait out a full cellular turnover cycle of about 28 days, before you start to see improvement.
Additionally, depending upon your skin and products used, it may take as long as six weeks for your skin to completely clear. In the meantime, we recommend being extra kind to your skin. Avoid the temptation to pick or use targeted acne treatments which may be too drying and irritate inflamed acne.
Skin repair and relief with Avery Radiance
If you’re struggling with the purging process or stressed skin, Avery Radiance has created two products that help to promote overnight repair and healing. We are a luxury skincare line focused on the regenerative synergy that occurs when you treat yourself to naturally effective products and a good night's beauty rest.
Our Hydrating Face Jelly Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that helps purify the skin without stripping it of vital moisture. Ingredients like white willow, cucumber and vitamin B3 work to soothe irritation and leave it feeling smooth.
The perfect follow up to your cleansing ritual is a nighttime moisturizer infused with calming CBD and lavender oil, rich in vitamins B, C and E - all of which help to promote skin rejuvenation and repair.
By giving your skin a little respite from harsh products and pampering it with good skin nutrition, you’ll be able to holistically address purging and restore your skin to a state of balance.
The Secrets to Deciphering and Stopping Skin Purging by Jessica L. Yarbrough,
Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP
Acne Purging: Full Dermatologist Guide by By Dr. Yoram Harth, MD
Retinoid-Induced Flaring in Patients with Acne Vulgaris: Does It Really Exist? From The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology