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Skin Purging: Causes, Treatment and How is it Different from Acne Breakout?

What is Skin Purging?

Skin Purging is the reaction of the skin to certain ingredients, which may lead to breakout, dryness, flaking, and peeling. It is found to occur mostly when trying any new skincare product.

Many skincare aims to provide clear and glowing skin. They contain active ingredients that might speed up exfoliation. This leads to a build-up of sebum on the surface of the skin. This may cause acne, dry, and flaky skin.

Skin purging may present differently from person to person. Generally, the dead skin comes to the surface making it dry and flaky. The skin may also appear red and irritated as it adjusts to the increased skin turnover rate.

Skin Purging

How is Skin Purging Different from Acne Breakout?

Acne breakout and skin purging may look alike but have different causes for their occurrence. Acne breakout occurs due to stress, certain food products, clogged pores, allergic reaction, and irritation. There may be pimples, blackheads, and pustules that may last for months. These are more painful and swollen.

Skin purging occurs mostly when a person incorporates new products into their regime which causes rapid skin turnover. There may be pimples, pustules, and blackheads that may last for 4-6 weeks These may be tender but not as painful as acne breakout.

Causes of Skin Purging

Some skin care products target various skin issues such as acne, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles. Retinol is a common ingredient causing skin purging. It is a form of vitamin A that is used as an ingredient in skincare. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a mainstay treatment for acne.(1) It prevents the new breakout as well. It also has the ability to promote collagen production making it a standard treatment for premature aging.

Other active ingredients include:

The duration of skin purging varies from person to person. Most commonly it lasts 4-6 weeks. After 6 weeks there may be an improvement as the skin starts responding to the ingredients in the products. As the purging symptoms subside, the person may start seeing improvement in the skin.

How to Care for Skin Purging?

Unless there is a severe allergic reaction, the person can stick to the skincare routine. It takes some time for the skin to adjust to the new skin regimen.

It is important to do a patch test whenever starting a new skincare product.(2)

Stick to a gentle skincare routine to avoid aggravation and also wear sunscreen. The use of other exfoliants and products with fragrances should also be avoided. The skin is sensitive at this point in time and therefore the person should avoid:

If there are signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, stopping the use of the product is important. In very rare cases there may be anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that would require emergency medical attention. Severe or mild, if the symptoms do not subside, a dermatologist should be consulted.

Treatment of Skin Purging

Skin purging can be treated by using calming products with skin barrier supporting ingredients, these include:

  • Peptides: These restore the skin barrier and improves the elasticity of the skin. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to even out the skin tone and ease inflamed skin.
  • Ceramides: These help in building skin barriers and protecting the skin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This ingredient helps in holding water and keeping the skin moisturized and plump. It helps in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Jojoba Oil: It is a lightweight oil that contains vitamin E, D and A, and B complex. These keep the skin healthy and protect against free radicles.
  • Aloe Vera: It soothes and moisturizes the skin and reduces inflammation.

The effect of retinol on the skin can be reduced by slowly introducing them to the skin.

Skin purging is a reaction of the skin to the skincare product and the effect is temporary. It can take some time for the skin to adjust to the products and show their effects. A professional should be contacted for any adverse reaction.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 8, 2022

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