How is skin purging different from breaking out?

Skin purging - what is it? And how exactly is it different to a regular break out? We're answering that, and more today on Beaut.

Skin purging - doesn't sound fun, does it? Unfortunately, not only does it not sound fun, when it's happening it isn't a pretty process either.  But, it can be a necessary part of breaking through to a clearer, healthier complexion. As the old saying goes - if you can't go over the mountain, you'll have to go through it. And nothing can be truer than when you're trying to improve your skin.

There are lots of products that promise to clear and clarify skin. But the problem is, clearing and clarifying usually means pushing all the "bad stuff" to the surface. Which is why it's so easy to confuse a break out with skin purging.

So, how can you tell the difference between a regular bout of spots or acne, and purging?


Skin Purging

First off, what is skin purging?


Fundamentally, it's your skin cleaning house. Purging occurs because your new skin cells are coming to the surface more quickly. This might be caused by using products such as masks or skin care containing the likes of retinol, salicylic or glycolic acids. This sped up cell turnover helps to excrete trapped sebum under your skin, pushing it up, and out.

What all this means, it that any acne that you would have had anyway, will come up and run its course a lot more quickly.

How long does it last?

The length of time that skin purging can last is based a lot on how your skin is to begin with. A couple of months ago, I started using a clarifying oil for my skin, and it's taken until now for my skin to calm down. In general though, purging can last a week to two months. It requires some patience to say the least.

How is it different to acne?

Essentially, as we said, purging is a sped up process your skin would have been going through anyway. So in a way, it is acne. But it's more controlled, and there is a difference in the way it looks. Usually, skin purging results in blemishes that are all quite even in size and will disappear much quicker.


Over all, the lesson here is patience. If you're planning on trying to clear your skin, it won't happen over night. A bit of skin purging is good, if unpleasant!

Related Articles

More from Beauty