Skin purging is a term us skincare junkies have likely heard before, but what exactly is it? And if you experience it, is there anything you can do about it or is it just all doom and gloom from there? Well you’re in luck because we’re here to help. So let’s get into exactly what skin purging is.
The definition of skin purging is;
‘The term skin purging refers to a reaction to an active ingredient that is increasing skin cell turnover rate. As skin cell turnover speeds up, the skin starts shedding dead skin cells faster than normal.’
What does this mean for you? Essentially the end goal of your skin purging is to reveal fresh, clearer, young looking skin. It’s not 100% a bad thing, however, as the definition says, it’s a reaction to certain active ingredients which you must be careful with depending on your skin’s sensitivity levels. Active ingredients are the ingredients in the product that will do what the product says it's going to do. For example, if it’s meant to be a hydrating product, most likely the active ingredient will be hyaluronic acid.
Now that we know what skin purging is, what are the tell signs to show that it's happening to you? Before your skin can look all fresh and plump, other less desirable things happen first; like your skin producing excess sebum, flakiness, clogged pores and a few extra pimples. It will look different from person to person, some might experience whiteheads and blackheads, on the other hand, some might experience cysts and pustules. None are glamorous but trust us, it doesn’t last forever.
Okay, your skin is purging and you’re trying not to scream and hide under the covers, what do you do? Most seasoned and accredited leaders within the skincare industry will tell you the same thing (or at least we hope they do); leave your skin alone! As its purging, your skin is crying out to be left alone to do its own thing. At most, you should stick to a very simple and gentle skincare routine to avoid further inflammation. This means no fancy serums, no exfoliating, no fancy retinoids - nope! All you need is a gentle cleanser, a soothing moisturiser and sunscreen during the day, of course.
While this will help during the recovery process, it won’t necessarily speed the recovery up unfortunately. You need to be patient with your skin and trust she has your best interest at heart. As tempting as it may be, don’t pick at the acne forming. This will only make it worse and will extend the amount of time your skin is in recovery mode. It’s important to note that skin purging isn’t permanent and is meant to be a temporary reaction, if you experience extended periods of purging, please contact your doctor. There is light at the end of the tunnel and your post-purging skin is worth the wait!