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Skin Purging: The Facts and Fixes

If you’ve ever tried a new skincare product only to experience a flare up of pimples, it can be hard to know whether this is your skin purging or just a regular breakout, but have no fear! We’re here to tell you all about the facts and fixes surrounding skin purging…

Why Does The Skin Purge?

Spots are caused when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much oil or sebum, which then mixes with dead cells and gets trapped within the pores. Certain skincare products can also get trapped within the pores causing further congestion, which is why flare-ups can be fuelled when you try a new product. When the skin purges, it is because certain products can increase cell turnover with the aim of polishing away the top, dead layer of cells to reveal a fresh, younger-looking complexion. So, in the long term, products won’t build up or clog your pores but in the shorter term, this accelerated shedding or exfoliation may trigger more breakouts or blackheads. 

Breakouts vs Purging

Purging and breakouts do have slightly different appearances so it’s possible to distinguish one from the other. Acne or hormonal breakouts take a number of different forms such as red pimples at the surface of the skin, cysts, blackheads and tender bumps beneath the skin. Purging is slightly different, as you’ll notice either just blackheads or small, skin-coloured bumps under the surface, however, it is possible for purging to cause similar spots to a regular breakout. 

Breakout or Purge? 

To determine the difference between the two, access the appearance of the breakout as well as your routine. If you’ve recently introduced a new medicated treatment and you experience more blackheads or blemishes than usual, this will most likely be due to a skin purge and it should pass soon. If you start using a new non-medicated product or introduce new make-up and you’re noticing breakouts, this could just mean that the items are not suitable for your skin. Of course, there are other factors to take into account such as hormones, diet and stress levels which can all contribute to irregular breakouts. 

How To Treat a Skin Purge

When it comes to actually treating your skin during a purge, the best thing you can do is probably not what you want to hear – it’s best to just wait it out. Depending on how congested your skin is, a purge can last anywhere from one to three weeks, but there are some ways to make the effects of the purge less irritating. We recommend keeping your pillow case clean, limiting sun exposure and wearing protection when you’re outside as most purge-causing ingredients can lead to skin sensitivity and, most importantly, resist the urge to pick or pop any of the pimples. Remember, purging can be a good sign that your skincare is effective and doing the right thing, so be patient and you should be breakout free in no time. 

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