What is Purging?

May 24, 2023

You visited Skyn Lab. Yay! You purchased new skin care products. Double Yay! You came on a mission to improve your skin care routine. You go home and as instructed by your provider you follow their guidelines on how to use your new product correctly. You’re confident.  However, as you wake up the next morning, you realize a couple of new friends appear on your face, blemishes?

There’s no way this could happen! Especially after you purchased medical grade products but don’t panic, this is actually a typical reaction if you have started completely new products. It’s referred to as purging.

Skin Purging: Purging typically refers to your skin reacting to an active  ingredient like retinol or an exfoliating acid that is increasing cell turnover.

Waking up to blemishes can be annoying but this isn’t the same as a normal breakout. In fact this actually means that the products you’re using are working. Purging may look different from person to person but the general concept is the same. While you’re in your purging stage, the skin will push all the excess oil, dead skin cells and other debris to the surface of your skin. However, all that debris can clog your pores which is typically why blemishes appear.

And while this can be frustrating, trust the process because just like you, your skin is adjusting to the new products as well. Let’s take a look at how you can tell if you’re purging or  if it’s just a normal acne breakout:

Skin Purging vs. Breakouts

Skin PurgingAcne Breakout
Peeling, flaking, dry, irritated skin- happens where you frequently breakoutCan happen in any new area where you do not typically breakout
Whiteheads, pimples- may be tender to touchWhiteheads, cysts- typically more painful/swollen
Subsides typically within 4-6 weeksCan last for months

Now, although you can’t speed up the process of skin purging you definitely can make it tolerable. First and foremost, do not, I repeat DO NOT pick at any of your blemishes. Keep using your products as directed by your provider, unless you have a severe allergic reaction. Avoid constantly touching your face or peeling off any of the flaking skin. Just remember to be gentle with yourself and your skin while going through this process.

We completely understand that it can be annoying having to get adjusted but once this period ends and trust us it will, who would have thought that clear, healthy and radiant skin was underneath all along? However, when in doubt about any of your products, don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider or come say hi! We’re here to help you on this journey. 😉

– Mirella Mendoza, Patient Care Coordinator