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So, your Skin is Breaking out… or is it Just Getting Better?

So, your Skin is Breaking out… or is it Just Getting Better?

You bought a product but as soon as you started using it, your skin starts breaking out. Before you throw out that product you really hope it would give you clear and glowing skin, hear me out….

It is possible that when you start using a product, your skin may go through a process called “Purging”.

Purging is a process in which breakouts appear all over your skin. Now the reason this happens is that all the dead skin cells and excess sebum are pushed to the surface, so your skin can finally get rid of them to make space for healthy and younger-looking skin cells. In other words, Purging is the increase in your skin cell turnover rate to expose clear and unblemished skin.


What Causes Purging?

Surprisingly, Purging is caused by products that are the most effective in dealing with acne. Most of these products contain active ingredients such as:

  • Retinoids (ex. retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, retinyl palmitate)
  • Alpha Hydroxy acids (ex. glycolic acid, mandelic acid)
  • Beta hydroxy acid (ex. lactic acid, salicylic acid)
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Vitamin C
  • Isotretinoin/Accutane
  • Exfoliants (scrubs, brushes, enzyme exfoliants)
  • Treatments such as chemical peels and laser treatments.

Are you Purging or Breaking out

Now, Purging is different from regular breakouts. A purge only happens when you use skincare that contains active, acne-treating ingredients and it only lasts for a short time (usually a month).

Breakouts or acne, on the other hand, are caused by oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria filling up your pores and leading to pimples and inflammation. There are several factors which can make those dreaded pimples pop up all over your skin:

  1. Hormonal Imbalances: The hormones in your body can fluctuate around
    ovulation or just before your period, if you are overweight or have
    health conditions like thyroid or PCOS, or if you’re just a teenager (gotta
    love puberty.)
  2. Hair Products dripping on your skin: Most hair products contain
    ingredients that block your pores and cause pimples. So, if you have hair
    that falls on your face or if you work out and the sweat carries the
    product down to your face, you may get pimples along your hairline or
    largely on your forehead. To prevent that, you can switch to water-
    soluble hair products.
  3. Your diet: Recent studies have shown that there is most probably a link
    between your diet and acne. A diet that is high in refined grains and
    sugars, dairy products, and processed foods can lead to more breakouts.
  4. Stress: It has been established that stress leads to pimples because it
    leads to hormonal fluctuations, which as we have already seen – cause
    breakouts. Stress also leads to poor sleep which is linked to the breaking
    out of acne.
  5. Using several products at a time: If you’re using several products at a
    time, that may be the problem causing your breakouts. In that case, you
    can either try to switch to products which have lighter textures (like gels)
    or you can apply each product at a separate time.

How Long does Purging Last? 

If you’ve identified that you are experiencing Purging then it should last around 6-8 weeks, but it can vary depending on your skin type and how clogged your pores are. Try your best to stick with your routine because ultimately all the dirt, oil, and dead skin cells will be pushed out and you’re going to be left with clearer and better skin than ever before.

Skin Purging can be compared to a body detox. When you start to take care of your body by eating healthy and nourishing foods, your body pushes out the toxins from the unhealthy food you have been eating. This can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, irritability or even mild depression. Ultimately, once these toxins are pushed out, there’s space for the healthy nutrients and antioxidants which will increase your energy levels and boost your immunity.

Similarly, when you swap out the conventional skin products which focus only on clearing the surface of your skin and do not address the main issues causing skin problems and you replace them with products that are nourishing and nutrient-rich, the toxins that are present underneath your skin are drawn out. So even though, it may seem like your skin is getting worse, in reality, it is just going through a purge so that your skin can finally be toxin-free.

comments ( 2 )

Nov 26, 2020

Dear @Maadhav Veer Singh,

Purging is a temporary phenomenon. We recommend to stop using any new product you have introduced & which you consider is possibly the reason for purging. Check for the areas where purging has happened, chances are that your skin purges from new areas on your skin. Purging cannot cause permanent marks or damage. It’s a sign of showing that your skin is shedding dead skin cells faster. Incase your skin is struggling with blemishes and acne scars then you should use skin brightening products. Check out Accoje’s Whitening Series which has Niacinamide, Neolitsea Aceculate, and lotus root extract is known for reducing dull and uneven skin tone.

Maadhav Veer Singh
Nov 26, 2020

Well written article. Is it possible that breakouts caused by purging lead to damaged skin and permanent marks? If so, what would be a possible remedy to these marks and scars caused by purging induced temporary breakouts?

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