May 10, 2018 4 min read 0 Comments


by Samantha



People often tell mehow a product (or ingredient) makes their skin "purge" before it improves.We have a lot ofmisapprehensions about purgingandbreaking out, and I hope to put these to rest once and for all. This guide will help youdeterminewhether or not your skin isactually purging, or if it just plainol' doesn't like the product you're using.

First, purging is not a myth. Your skin can and does purge. But, not how you might think.

Some companies claim that their products cause purging due tothe skin "detoxing". This is false, plain and simple. Your skin doesnt "purge" unless theresan ingredient in the product you're using which increases skin cell turnover.

how can i tell if my skin is purging or breaking out?


Although it may seem so, the difference between purging andbreaking out is unfortunately not always very clear.  


Ifyou’re usinga product thatspeeds uphow fastyourskin cells are shed and replaced, then it's possible thatthe product could bepurging” your skin of pimples that were already waiting to erupt.When a product speeds up skin cell turnover the entire skin cell cycle speedsup as well,giving clogged pores thechance toturn into pimples much quicker than they otherwise would have. This meansthat the early stages of pimples were alreadypresent in some form and will generally surface all at once or in clusters. It doesn’t, however, mean that toxins are leaving your body.

After this initial "purge", things should slowly but consistently improve, not only from the point of purging but also compared toyour skin before you started the product. 

Some ingredients and products that can cause "purging" include:

- AHAs & BHAs (glycolic acid,lactic acid,malic acid, salicylic acid)

- benzoyl peroxide

vitamin C

- retinoids (adapalene,tretinoin, isotretinoin, retinol)

- exfoliants

AnyoneusingAccutane can attest to the fact that your skin goes through an adjustment phase, which varies in severity from person to person. The skin breaks out mostly in the regular places (if yourarely get pimples on your forehead, youprobably won’tpurgemuchon your forehead), and usually with the sametypes of pimples you always get

Using a mask that contains enzymes, AHAs, or BHAs can usually cause purging.  AHA and BHA include ingredients like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid.  The purging areas should normally be in places you usually break out, and it will progressively improve over time.  Below is an example of someone using an exfoliating pumpkin enzyme masque, and after 2 months skin has improved although there may have been purging initially. 

Purchase Pumpkin Enzyme Masque - Exfoliating mask for acne



However, if your skin is breaking out, your acnewillget worse,andwon't improve until theirritant is removed.It'salsocommon to startbreaking out in newspots on your face, andthe breakout may be atypical.For example, IfIsuddenly get pimpleson my forehead orcheeks (where I rarely, if ever, get pimples), it’stell-tale sign that I’mbreaking out.

BUT … products that purge the skincanalsocausebreakouts.Ifit containsanirritant orsomething that clogs your pores, this can make acneworse in both the usual and uncommon areas


- if your skinisbreaking out more than normal but in the usual places,gets worse and then progressively gets better - it's likely that your skin is purging

- if your skin is breaking out more than normal, but not in the usual places, and is not getting better - it's likely that your skin isbreaking out

- if your skinisbreaking out more than normal, but in the usual places, but is not getting better - it's likely that your skin isbreaking out 

- if your skinisbreaking out more than normal, and you're using a new product with ingredients that stimulate cell turnover - it's likely that your skin is purging, but if it doesn’t improve with time it’s likely that your skin isbreaking out

- if your skin isbreakingout more than normal, and you're using a new product with NO ingredients that stimulate cell turnover - it's likely that your skin isbreaking out


Thankfully,thepurging phase shouldn't last long. Most purging lasts for only about a month or two, which is the amount of time that it takes for your skin to renew. If your skin is purging, you need to stick with the new routine/product - use it as much as you're supposed to, according to directions. Using a product improperly canmake purging and breakoutsprolonged andworse.

Remember, even if a product has the ingredients to purge,itdoesn't mean it's just purging - these products still have the potential to cause actual breakouts and irritation.


If your skinjust keeps getting worse and your breakouts seem out of the ordinary, just ditch the product, because it'sprobably not right for your skin. 

Once you stop usingit, go back to your "normal" orprevious skin care routine to return somebalance before trying another new product.

When you’rebreaking out and healing from a breakout, it’s a good time totake extra gentle care of your skin. Cleanse morning and night,moisturize and treat,use face masks likeBanish’s Pumpkin Enzyme Masque, and don'toverdo it.


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