Skin purging or breaking out?
You find a new product that promises to give you amazing skin, you start using it and all of a sudden your skin is breaking out, what??? Why is this happening?? I was promised beautiful, smooth skin, not more spots!
If you are using a new active ingredient (an AHA or BHA for example) or a prescribed product then it could be that your skin is purging.
What is Purging?
Purging is basically where all the blockages within your pores that would have probably turned in to a spot rise up to the surface quicker, so where as you may have had a few spots brewing under the surface that may have popped up with a day or two apart, they may all start popping up around the same time, making it look as though you’re having a major breakout.
Does the skin always purge with new skincare?
No not always, some people add actives or medicated products in to their routine with no problems. Although purging is inconvenient, the positive to take from it is that the skincare product you’ve purchased is definitely working and once the purging has stopped, your skin should start to improve.
Is there a way to prevent purging?
You can lessen the chance of purging by gradually introducing the active to your routine. For example with our chemical exfoliators we recommend that you start by using them for a few minutes, increasing each time you use so that your skin gets a chance to become accustomed to this new product and the increased cell turnover. You can also dilute a product, for example when I started tretinoin which causes awful purging I applied the product and then followed straight after with a moisturiser, this diluted the product and caused less irritation. Don’t dilute your product by adding anything directly to the bottle or jar.
Also, avoid introducing too many actives in to your routine at once, start with one and if you have no issues after a few weeks, introduce the next in to your routine.
How long does purging last?
Usually around 4 weeks, this is basically the skin’s renewal cycle and so you should notice an improvement after then.
How do I know if it’s a purge?
The breakouts with a purge will usually be in the area that you tend to break out, so if you generally notice breakouts around the jawline then the purging will usually show there. If you start getting breakouts all over in areas you don’t usually break out, try reducing how often you use the product or dilute as above.
Do all products cause purging?
It’s typically only medicated products or active ingredients that increase cell turnover that cause purging, so AHA’s like Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, BHA Salicylic Acid, Retinol in it’s different forms, Vitamin C, Benzoyl Peroxide and you may also notice it with manual exfoliators such as scrubs or cleansing tools.
I’ve started purging from my moisturiser
If it doesn’t contain any active ingredients it could be that the moisturiser is too rich for your skin. When choosing skincare products always choose the products suitable for your skin type. If you have oily skin for example and your skin has become dry (dehydrated), this means that your skin needs more water where as moisturisers designed for dry skin tend to be rich in oils and butters, look for water based products like serums designed to hydrate and moisturisers designed for oily or problem skin.
Breakouts with AHA’s and BHA’s
When a customer contacts Bravura London mentioning a breakout from using one of our chemical peels, the first thing I ask is “what product did you use to cleanse and how did you remove the cleanser?” I would say 90% of the time the response will either be that they’ve used a cleanser with acid or another exfoliating cleanser or that they’ve removed the cleanser with a face cloth or flannel. Before using acids do not use anything that will exfoliate the skin as this will cause over exfoliation and irritation which can result in a breakout.
The second cause can be avoiding moisturiser after the acid is rinsed off. When we exfoliate our skin loses some water and oil, it’s important to put this back in to the skin as dehydrated skin isn’t happy skin and unhappy skin can breakout or become irritated.
Lastly overusing actives, please remember that your skin doesn’t need to be exfoliated daily, if you are using a high strength acid daily or if you have acid in every product of your routine, your skin is probably over exfoliated, the natural acid balance is disrupted which can result in breakouts and irritation.
Using actives such as Vitamin C, Benzoyl Peroxide or Retinol after the acids can also be too much for some skin and so if you do have sensitive skin, it’s best to alternate with the actives or use them in a different part of your routine (as a general rule, acids and retinol in the evening, Vitamin C in the morning).
Happy skin is healthy skin, don’t overdo the actives.
I’m breaking out all over and my skin is starting to get irritated
If you’re using the product correctly and the breakouts are everywhere or your skin is starting to feel dryer or irritated, it could be that the product is too strong for you, stop using the active and be gentle with your skin, cleanse, tone, hydrate and moisturise your skin and avoid any actives until your skin has calmed down. There are times where the skin will adjust but it may be that it’s too strong for your face, if it’s not an allergic reaction (you can test by patch testing a little of the product on your inner elbow) use the product on another area of your body, AHA’s can be used on the feet to help reduce the build up of dead skin.
If you’re using a medically prescribed product you should seek medical advice before you discontinue the product.
Always trust your knowledge of your skin
If you purchase a product and you think that using it as often as recommended would be too much, use it less. We recommend that acids be used no more than every other day, this doesn’t mean you HAVE to use them every other day, you can use them every 2 days or even once a week if that’s what suits your skin. As long as you cleanse, tone, hydrate and moisturise twice a day, active ingredients are an added bonus. As always, don’t forget your SPF!