Understanding Skin Purging vs. Breakouts: What You Need to Know 

Introducing new skincare products to your routine can lead to skin purging, which involves minor acne symptoms due to ingredients that promote skin cell renewal through exfoliation. However, not all skin reactions are a result of purging, and it's essential to differentiate between purging and breakouts. In this article, we'll explore the difference between skin purging and breakouts and provide tips for treating each. 

What is Skin Purging? 

Skin purging occurs when your skin cleanses itself by increasing cell turnover and exfoliation. This can lead to breakouts, but it's important to understand that the ingredients are simply exfoliating the skin, leading to the production of new cells. Active ingredients, even when they’re botanical based can have this effect! 

How to Differentiate Between Skin Purging and Breakouts 

When you introduce a new skincare product to your routine, it's important to determine if you're experiencing skin purging or a breakout. To differentiate between the two, consider the duration of the breakout. Purging acne has a faster life cycle than a typical breakout, and the acne heals faster. If the breakouts last longer than 4-6 weeks, it may signal that the product is not working or is making things worse. 

Location is another factor to keep in mind when distinguishing between a purge and a breakout. Purging typically triggers breakouts in the areas where you usually experience acne symptoms. If you're experiencing breakouts in new areas, it's probably not a purge. Active ingredients are also a key factor to consider when determining if your skin is purging or breaking out. Skin purges often result from chemicals or compounds that exfoliate your skin, while breakouts can be caused by clogged pores due to ingredients such as hydrating oils, sunscreen, or comedogenic makeup formulas. 

How to Treat Skin Purging and Breakouts 

If you're experiencing skin purging, the best thing you can do is to wait it out. Depending on the congestion of your skin, a purge can last from two to three weeks. During this time, treat your skin the same way you would a regular breakout: keep your skin hydrated, avoid picking or popping any inflammation, and limit your sun exposure and wear sun protection since most purge-causing ingredients lead to skin sensitivity in the sun. 

If you're experiencing a breakout, it's important to address the underlying cause. Look for products that do not clog pores and avoid using any products that may be irritating your skin. By Karisse face oils range from “0 - 2” out of “5” on the comedogenic scale (the oils potential to clog pores). The By Karisse Clarifying Facial Oil is rated “0” on the comedogenic scale and is an excellent choice for acne prone skin. Also, make sure to keep your skin hydrated and clean to prevent further breakouts. 

In summary, understanding the difference between skin purging and breakouts can help you determine the best course of action for your skin. By following these tips, you can effectively treat your skin and achieve a healthy, glowing complexion. 

Here are some peer-reviewed studies that support facts in this blog: 

  1. Tanghetti EA. The Role of Inflammation in the Pathology of Acne. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013;6(9):27-35.

  2. Garofalo V, Cannizzaro MV, Mazzilli S, Bianchi L, Campione E. Clinical Evidence on the Efficacy and Tolerability of a Topical Medical Device Containing Benzoylperoxide 4%, Retinol 0.5%, Mandelic Acid 1% and Lactobionic Acid 1% in the Treatment of Mild Facial Acne: An Ppen Label Pilot Study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:363-369. doi:10.2147/CCID.S182317

March 17, 2023 — By Karisse