Skin purging and acne breakouts may be confused or used interchangeably since they almost look and feel the same. In essence, they are both horrible experiences that you wouldn’t want to come back to because they lead to similar results — breakouts. However, they do differ in terms of what caused them to happen.
So how do you know when you are experiencing skin purging or breaking out? Let’s find out!
What is Skin Purging?
Skin purging is your skin’s way of adjusting to a new skincare product or facial treatment, and it takes form into breakouts, flaking, peeling, and dryness.
Is Skin Purging a Good Thing?
Short answer: yes.
Skin purging is a good thing. Take note as well that not everyone experiences the same kind of skin purging upon trying a new product or treatment. You may notice the appearance of different pimples, which may look like a huge acne breakout, and there will also be some peeling and dryness, causing itchiness and redness on the skin.
BUT do keep in mind that with skin purging, your skin gets worse before it improves and reveals a beautiful and glowing skin. The sudden spiral of blemishes indicates that the skincare product or treatment is working.
The good thing about skin purging is that the breakouts you experience are very much different from the typical hormonal breakouts you went through as a teenager — and they will eventually subside and heal once the dead cells are eliminated.
What Causes Skin Purging?
Skin purging is caused by incorporating new skincare products into your routine or getting facial treatments, leading to the swift increase of the skin’s cell turnover rate. When the cell turnover rate increases, it pushes out toxins or dead cells and excess sebum on the surface of the skin, causing clogged pores and breakouts — hence, skin purging happens.
How Long Does Skin Purging Usually Last?
The usual duration of skin purging lasts for a whole skin cell turnover cycle, which is 4 to 6 weeks or 28 to 40 days. During this time, your skin sheds and gets ready to form new or younger cells.
How Do You Know When You’re Purging?
Upon introducing your skin to a new product or treatment, you’ll be able to determine if your breakouts are a product of purging — pimples, acne, or inflammation appear on areas of your face that are typically congested. To simply put, if you have areas on your face where whiteheads and blackheads tend to form more, and they start developing into pimples, then it’s considered skin purging.
Can You Prevent Purging?
Keep in mind that purging doesn’t always happen, but it does happen with certain skin care ingredients, such as retinol, AHA, and BHA.
To reduce the nasty side effects when using retinol and other acids, it’s ideal to gradually introduce them to your skin, so it won’t lead to purging. For instance, when you’re using retinol, you can start by applying it two times only in the first week, and slowly increase it to three days in the succeeding week.
Note: Retinol is not like other skin care ingredients. Make sure to only use a pea-sized amount for the whole face, and spread it.
Now, for AHA and BHA, the first thing you have to bear in mind is that they are both chemical exfoliants, so you don’t want to go crazy in applying them on your face.
Same as retinol, go slow in using AHA and BHA. You can start by applying them once a week, and afterwards, you can increase to twice or thrice a week. However, it’s important to not go beyond that because doing so can lead to over-exfoliation, which can be bad for your skin.
What are Acne Breakouts?
Acne breakouts can be described as the reaction of your skin when your pores are clogged with excess sebum, dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria, resulting in acne.
What Causes Acne Breakouts?
Unlike skin purging, breakouts can be caused by various factors such as hormones, genetics, diet, stress, comedogenic ingredients, mixing the wrong skin care ingredients, unhealthy gut, and more.
How Long Does Acne Breakout Last?
Like skin purging, a typical acne breakout can’t be healed overnight and will take some time, depending on how severe the acne breakout is. A pimple can take about 1 to 2 weeks to go away on its own, but more severe ones may take up to 6 weeks to see improvements.
How Do You Know If You’re Just Breaking Out?
GIven the causes of acne breakouts, you can pretty much tell if the kind of breakout you’re experiencing is a result of bad skin care habits, poor health choices, or something else like genes. That’s why it’s best to evaluate how you take care of yourself both internally and externally because they both play a significant role to clear and healthy skin.
Can You Prevent Acne Breakouts?
Of course, yes you can prevent acne breakouts! But you have to be mindful of how you take care of yourself, starting with the food that you eat, the kind of skincare products you apply on your face, skin care habits, and more. To top it off, resist the urge to pop or prick your pimples because it will only get worse!