What Causes Purging?
Surprisingly, Purging is caused by products that are the most effective in dealing with acne. Most of these products contain active ingredients such as:
- Retinoids (ex. retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, retinyl palmitate)
- Alpha Hydroxy acids (ex. glycolic acid, mandelic acid)
- Beta hydroxy acid (ex. lactic acid, salicylic acid)
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Vitamin C
- Exfoliants (scrubs, brushes, enzyme exfoliants)
- Treatments such as chemical peels and laser treatments.
Are you Purging or Breaking out
Now, Purging is different from regular breakouts. A purge only happens when you use skincare that contains active, acne-treating ingredients and it only lasts for a short time (usually a month).
Breakouts or acne, on the other hand, are caused by oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria filling up your pores and leading to pimples and inflammation. There are several factors which can make those dreaded pimples pop up all over your skin:
- Hormonal Imbalances: The hormones in your body can fluctuate around
ovulation or just before your period, if you are overweight or have
health conditions like thyroid or PCOS, or if you’re just a teenager (gotta
- Hair Products dripping on your skin: Most hair products contain
ingredients that block your pores and cause pimples. So, if you have hair
that falls on your face or if you work out and the sweat carries the
product down to your face, you may get pimples along your hairline or
largely on your forehead. To prevent that, you can switch to water-
soluble hair products.
- Your diet: Recent studies have shown that there is most probably a link
between your diet and acne. A diet that is high in refined grains and
sugars, dairy products, and processed foods can lead to more breakouts.
- Stress: It has been established that stress leads to pimples because it
leads to hormonal fluctuations, which as we have already seen – cause
breakouts. Stress also leads to poor sleep which is linked to the breaking
out of acne.
- Using several products at a time: If you’re using several products at a
time, that may be the problem causing your breakouts. In that case, you
can either try to switch to products which have lighter textures (like gels)
or you can apply each product at a separate time.
How Long does Purging Last?
If you’ve identified that you are experiencing Purging then it should last around 6-8 weeks, but it can vary depending on your skin type and how clogged your pores are. Try your best to stick with your routine because ultimately all the dirt, oil, and dead skin cells will be pushed out and you’re going to be left with clearer and better skin than ever before.
Skin Purging can be compared to a body detox. When you start to take care of your body by eating healthy and nourishing foods, your body pushes out the toxins from the unhealthy food you have been eating. This can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, irritability or even mild depression. Ultimately, once these toxins are pushed out, there’s space for the healthy nutrients and antioxidants which will increase your energy levels and boost your immunity.
Similarly, when you swap out the conventional skin products which focus only on clearing the surface of your skin and do not address the main issues causing skin problems and you replace them with products that are nourishing and nutrient-rich, the toxins that are present underneath your skin are drawn out. So even though, it may seem like your skin is getting worse, in reality, it is just going through a purge so that your skin can finally be toxin-free.