Everything You Need to Know About Skin Purging
Above: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Marty S.
Many of us have had this happen to our skin at one point or another: you buy a new skin care product that you’re really excited to try, you put it on your skin, and in the next couple of days, you notice one or two breakouts on your skin. What gives? There are two possible explanations for this. Either your skin is having a bad reaction to your new skin care product, or it is undergoing skin purging. While both explanations sound like terrible news for the health of your skin, skin purging is not as malicious as it seems. In fact, depending on how well you take care of your skin during this process, skin purging can be quite beneficial to your skin and may help it look clearer, more glowing, and more youthful. Today, we will tell you everything you need to know about skin purging and what you should do for your skin if you experience any purging.
What Is Skin Purging?
To explain skin purging, we first have to talk about exfoliation. Exfoliation is a process in which the dead cells on the surface of your skin are shed and replaced with newer, more youthful cells within the deeper layers of your skin. Your skin naturally exfoliates itself, but you can encourage a faster rate of exfoliation by using a facial scrub to gently slough off those dead cells. Regular exfoliation with a facial scrub can help even out your skin, diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and bring out your skin’s glow.
With that being said, think of skin purging as an accelerated form of exfoliation, even more so than a scrub. Skin purging occurs when your skin comes into contact with a compound or natural ingredient that dramatically increases the cell turnover rate of your skin; skin purging is normally associated with retinoids and chemical exfoliants but it has also been noted in certain natural ingredients like jojoba oil and castor oil. This is why skin purging is typical when you use new skin care products for the first time. Some of the compounds in that product may be foreign to your skin, and as a result, it will need some time to adjust to regular usage of that product.
When your skin purges, those new, youthful cells are able to come to the surface of your skin at a much faster rate, but along with them comes any dirt, excess oil, pimples, and bacteria hiding underneath your skin. As a result, you might experience acne, inflammation, and redness during skin purging. While not an ideal situation, this is normal. Skin purging can be seen as a way that your skin decongests itself of these impurities. Plus, acne from skin purging tends to heal faster than regular acne since the cell turnover rate is higher.
Skin purging generally lasts about a month after which, the skin should calm down and react normally to your new skin care products.
"My acne has slowly started reducing, and it’s almost gone now...I’m happy."
What Can I Do When My Skin Is Purging?
First, let’s distinguish the difference between skin purging and irritation. Skin purging from a new skin care product lasts for about a month, and it may cause acne to form in areas of your skin that are prone to acne. On the other hand, irritation from a new skin care product may cause acne to develop anywhere on your skin, even in areas where acne doesn’t typically form for you. So, if your inflamed and irritated skin persists for much longer than a month, perhaps it is time to stop using that new product so your skin can start to heal.
Now that we have that settled, while skin purging is not entirely preventable, you can minimize the impact skin purging has on your complexion by gradually incorporating that new skin care product into your routine. Don’t use that new facial serum or facial lotion on a regular basis; instead, ease it into your routine by using it 1 to 2 times a week and working your way from there.
Once you start to experience skin purging, there are a few tips you should try to keep your skin as healthy as possible. First, if you haven’t done so already, switch to a skin care routine that is gentle on your skin and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. Another side effect of skin purging can be dryness and flakiness so try to use products that won’t dry your skin out and will nourish it deeply.
Second, don’t use more than one new product on your skin at a time. Using too many new products at once can make it unclear if your skin is purging or irritated from a new product.
Third, stick with the routine if you know that your skin is purging and isn’t irritated. Unless your skin shows particularly alarming signs, you should continue to consistently use this new skin care product so that eventually it will start working more effectively on your skin.
To sum up, purging is a necessary part of the skin care process; after a few weeks of acne and decongestion, your skin might start to look more glowing and youthful. However, since purging is mainly caused by chemicals in skin care products, you can avoid purging by using all-natural products. As we mentioned above, while some natural ingredients may induce purging, there are many more ingredients found in Ayurveda that can work wonders on your skin without causing any purging or irritation.
Let us know in the comments if you have experienced skin purging before and if you have used any tips to mitigate it. We and the Apsara community would love to hear them!
If your skin is regularly dull and congested, watch this video to learn how to make a DIY home remedy that can leave your skin clean, healthy, and glowing. Enjoy and please subscribe to my YouTube channel!
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Go natural. It is good karma!