Anytime a blemish appears on your face it’s discouraging. But did you know it doesn’t automatically mean it’s part of a breakout? It might be something called skin purging, which is slightly more complex, and is actually a good thing for your skin’s overall health.
Skin purging is a process that happens when you begin using a new skincare product that causes cells to turn over, according to The Skincare Edit. It also happens after some treatments like microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and chemical peels.
These products and processes slough off dead skin cells, causing pores that are already clogged to surface and become blemishes. These pores would eventually have surfaced anyway, so it’s good to speed the process along and get to deeper layers of healthier, cleaner skin.
It’s important that you continue using the skincare product that initiated the purge, though it may be tempting to stop, according to Healthline. Stick with it to keep the skin turning over fresh cells. It may get worse for a while, but purges will eventually subside.
Breakouts have some distinct patterns
If you didn’t recently start using a new skincare product, or if the skincare product you introduced does not contain retinoids or exfoliating ingredients, it’s more likely that you’re experiencing a normal breakout, according to Glamour. Your skin may also be sensitive or allergic to some ingredient in the products you’re using, so consider discontinuing them for a while to see if the breakout clears up.
Sometimes a breakout is simply the result of products that are too heavy for your type of skin. “[This is] often the case with people who use richer creams or wear heavier makeup and is much more common in those with unnecessarily overcomplicated skincare routines,” Dr. Justine Kluk, dermatologist, told Glamour.
If you’re breaking out in places that you’ve never experienced acne before then it’s more likely to be a standard breakout than a purge. Skin purging tends to stick to areas that have been problems in the past, according to The Skincare Edit.
Skin purging typically lasts about six to eight weeks, which may feel like forever. But stick with your skincare routine throughout it to achieve the best results.
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