Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout. Read more
Purging is a sign that the product is working and you should continue with the treatment as prescribed. After a few weeks of purging, your skin and acne will have noticeably improved. Breaking out is when your skin is reacting because it is sensitive to something in the new product.
Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen. If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist. It could be that you need to adjust the dosage and/or frequency of application.
Skin purging occurs when you start using a new product that contains chemical exfoliants such as alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, and retinoids, all of which speed up the rate of skin cell turnover (the rate at which you shed dead skin cells and replace them with new cells), says Dr. Gonzalez.
How long does it take for skin to purge? Unfortunately, purging can be a lengthy process and it can take up to three or so months before results start to show, especially if the treatment is an acne medicated treatment.
Ultimately, skin purging is not a bad thing – it's just a sign that your skin is getting used to a retinoid or skin acid. If you have skin purging, you may experience whiteheads, blackheads, dryness, or even flaking.
Are they smaller and less irritated than usual? If so, you're experiencing a skin purge that won't last forever and will culminate in the best skin you've ever had. On the other hand, irritation will present itself as inflamed, itchy, burning, or just painful in general.
Distinct, acne-like bumps may be purging. However, if you're noticing welts, diffuse redness, or anything resembling a rash, stop what you're doing. Inflammation is a sign of reaction and generally appears as all-over redness rather than individual, blemish-like spots.
Your skin might burn, sting, itch, or get red right where you used the product. You might get blisters and have oozing, especially if you scratch. The other kind of reaction actually involves your immune system. It's called allergic contact dermatitis and symptoms can include redness, swelling, itching, and hives.
An allergic reaction will look red, bumpy, scaly and they are classically itchy. “Skin purging usually looks like your typical blackheads and whiteheads,” says Doyle. They may appear as small, red swollen bumps on your skin that are similar to a breakout.
"When doing a lot of extractions to clear out bumps, sometimes not all of the lodged oil will come out and because we don't force anything that doesn't want to come out, some purging can occur a day or two after a facial as the pore does its own self-cleaning," explains Rouleau.
When you start a new skin care routine or you incorporate new products into your current regimen, you may experience breakouts or skin flaking. This process is sometimes called purging. This is a normal, short-term condition where the skin will rid itself of underlying oil, bacteria, or dirt, according to Dr.