Is Your Skin Breaking Out Or Just Purging? Let’s Tell You The Difference – ZUMI

Is Your Skin Breaking Out Or Just Purging? Let’s Tell You The Difference

difference between breaking out and purging
Sometimes when you start using a new product, you can experience breakouts. You might be going crazy trying to figure out what’s going on and why a product that’s supposed to improve your skin is making it go haywire.

And then it might be confusing trying to figure out if the breakouts are as a result of your skin purging, or if your skin is having an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the product. Sometimes, you can erroneously continue using a product that’s actually damaging your skin because you think there is a purge going on. So we’re going to explain the difference between breaking out and purging and what you can do about it.

What is skin purging?

Skin purging is something that happens when you just start using a new product. Especially if the product contains active ingredients that your skin isn’t used to. These active ingredients (e.g AHAs and BHAs, vitamin C, retinol) significantly speed up cell turnover, and when this happens everything clogging your pores will be pushed to the surface of your skin, resulting in breakouts.

difference between breakouts and purging

(Photo: Collins Nai for Refinery29)

So basically, it’s called a purge because your skin is suddenly getting rid of sebum, dead skin cells, build up that was deep in your pores. Once your pores have been cleared out, the breakouts will stop and your skin will actually be a lot clearer than before.

So how do you tell the difference between a purge and a break-out?

First of all, check the ingredient list of the product. If it doesn’t contain any active ingredients (AHAs, BHAs, retinol, vitamin C) then your skin is most likely negatively reacting to the product. And some common ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction are silicones, essential oils, preservatives and fragrances.

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With a purge, the acne occurs in areas of your face where you usually breakout and will eventually stop when your pores are finally clear (usually within 2 to 8 weeks). But if it’s a reaction, the breakouts could occur any and everywhere on your face and will continue as long as you keep using the product.

difference between breakouts and purging


Oily skins are generally more prone to purges because they typically get acne more than the other skin types. But if your skin isn’t oily and you usually never have acne but you suddenly breakout as a result of a new product, then chances are, it’s an irritation and not a purge.

What should you do?

If you’re breaking out because your skin is purging, it’s better to just stick it out. It will be difficult to see your face with so much acne but relax! Clear skin is just around the corner. But if it’s a reaction, STOP using the product immediately. Prolonged use can cause serious damage to your skin.

Concerned your breakouts may be hormonal? Find out if it is here.

(Featured image:

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