What Is Skin Purging?
Most of us have some kind of skin-related problem that we wish we could fix, whether it be acne, sun damage, wrinkles, scarring, dark spots, etc., but just don’t know what to do to help fix them. You’ve probably tried all the supposedly “magic” products on the internet but haven’t gotten those life-changing results that you so badly crave. The one thing that you probably haven’t tried is skin purging.
Woah, What is That?
Skin purging is the use of an active ingredient to help boost the natural cell turnover rate in your epidermis and dermis. There are two ‘true’ skin layers, the epidermis (what you touch with) and the dermis (below the epidermis) that protect the hypodermis (which contains blood vessels and connective tissues). The cells in your epidermis are actually dead and don’t provide any function other than protection, meaning that these keratinized cells are likely to dry up and shrivel if they’re not removed at a healthy rate. Skin purging occurs when you use a product, typically a retinoid or chemical exfoliant, to help remove those dried-up cells that cover your epidermis and boost cell production in the hypodermis and dermis layers. It also pushes out all the gunk that is stuck in your sebaceous glands and pores, giving you smoother and less hyperpigmented skin.
What Does Skin Purging Look Like?
Skin purging is different for everybody, but it typically means that all of the stuff that was trapped in your pores is being pushed to the surface of the skin, causing breakouts… but don’t be alarmed! These “purge pimples” are not true pimples and heal much faster than typical breakouts. It can be a little unpleasant, usually for the first few weeks, but then your skin bounces back quickly and becomes more beautiful than ever before.
How Does Skin Purging Feel?
Skin purging may look and feel very similar to a whitehead breakout and there may be little red bumps across the face, usually the cheeks (or wherever you break out most frequently). Most of these spots won’t hurt but might if they’re pushing against a nerve ending. These spots usually flatten within a week and heal altogether within a month, but each person is different and will have a different experience.
Basically, the idea is that your skin will get worse before it gets better. If you notice yourself breaking out after using a new product, keep using it for 3-4 weeks to see if you’re actually breakout or if your skin is just purging. Skin purging is detoxifying your skin and will help balance the pH of your entire body, so don’t be discouraged when you notice the ‘purge pimples.’
Which Ingredients Cause Skin Purging?
- Lactic acid helps speed up the cell building process and pushes gunk out of the skin
- Retinols and retinoids increase the production of collagen and help create new blood vessels, allowing your skin to heal quicker than before
- Vitamin C helps brighten up the skin by gently removing the first cell layer (which doesn’t hurt at all)
- Benzoyl peroxide helps dry up pimples as well as dead skin cells so they can be removed easier
- Salicylic acid, similarly to benzoyl peroxide, is typically used to treat breakouts by drying them out.
- Chemical peels also act as a skin purger; by lifting the first few cell layers of skin away from the dermis, new skin is allowed to form and thrive in the old’s place, giving you brighter and smoother skin
Who Should Purge Their Skin?
Skin purging isn’t for everybody. It’s meant for problematic skin, especially those who are breakout-prone, who may not have the greatest diet (as toxins from what you eat accumulate in your skin’s cells), those who have bumpy, textured skin (which could be from deeply clogged pores), people who hyperpigmentation, and people who just overall want brighter, healthier skin.
How do I Purge my Skin?
There are lots of products on the market that are designed to purge your skin, but we recommend using our Radical Skincare products that are scientifically proven to work. You can click here to shop our full product list and see exactly what is best for your skin.
Not everybody’s skin will purge. If you eat well and take good care of your skin, you might not purge at all. Even those that break out might not purge, signaling that your breakouts aren’t caused by lack of turnover or gunk in your pores, and might be more diet-based or environment-caused. If you don’t see any difference in your skin within a month, see a dermatologist for esthetician for help determining the cause of your skin issues.
How do I Know if My Skin is Purging?
Because breakouts and purging pimples look so similar, it can often be difficult to differentiate between the two. Most people with chronic breakouts have cystic acne rather than pustules and whiteheads (some people might get blackheads, too), making this easier to tell. However, if you use a product for the first time and wake up with a bunch of new pimples that magically appeared overnight, your skin is most likely purging instead of just breaking out.
How do I Take Care of Purging Skin?
If your skin is purging, you want to be super careful about your skincare and beauty routine. Avoid wearing facial makeup, especially on/around the breakout areas (we know this can be tough, so try to purge at a time you know you won’t be going anywhere), and use a gentle facial cleanser that won’t irritate your skin in its fragile state even more. You can even just wash your face with plain water if you feel that would be beneficial!
Avoid steaming your pores, wearing a mask (which causes bacterial build-up and can inflame your pores), facial masks, and any other unnecessary products. Less is more!
Author: Sabrina Cooklin