Check the labels! Typically, products that cause purges are exfoliants or contain ingredients such as:
- Hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, malic, mandelic, salicylic, lactobionic, gluconolactone, “fruit acids”)
- Retinoids ( retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, isotretinoin, retinyl palmitate)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Vitamin C
For example, some products that contain these ingredients are COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, and Sebia clear Micro-Peel by SVR, among many others.
Be aware that procedures like chemical peels, lasers, and microdermabrasion can cause your skin to purge. And other exfoliants, like brushes or enzyme scrubs, too.
So are the purges good?
YEAH! It's a sign that your skin is clearing itself. And although it is super frustrating to see more pimples and blemishes appear on your skin, in the long run, you will be grateful because you will eliminate this problem once and for all.
And yes, you could not include these types of products in your routine, thus avoiding unnecessary pimples. But you wouldn't have the best benefit of all in the long run: porcelain skin. Besides, whatever the purge brings out on your skin was going to come out anyway. Remember that the purge only accelerated the process... but the pimples and blackheads were there, hidden and waiting for the least opportune moment to come out.
So yes, they are good. And they will help you have the complexion you always dreamed of.
So how do I know if my skin is purging or if it is reacting?
A granite is a granite. And the ugly one is ugly. But there are subtle ways to tell the difference between a purge pimple and an acne pimple.
Normally, purges appear in places where you usually have acne breakouts, be it your forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, etc. Reactive acne breakouts appear in places where you never usually get acne – this is because your skin is reacting to the product, instead of cleaning itself from the inside out in places where pores are normally clogged. So if you're seeing breakouts in new places or where you've never had them before, it's probably a reactive breakout.
But since in the end, they can resemble each other, distinguishing if it is a purge or a reaction can become more difficult. So how can you tell if that new facial cleanser or serum you bought is actually getting all the grime off your face, or if it's just making the situation worse?
There is another way to find out: the life cycle of granite. A “normal” pesky pimple has a different life cycle than a purge-caused pimple. The purge, by accelerating cell renewal, has a much shorter and faster life cycle. That is, the purge pimples should fade more quickly than a normal pimples. (This is because the cells are constantly renewing themselves, causing the acne cycle to go by much faster than normal.) So, if an acne breakout lasts longer than 4-6 weeks using your new product, it is a sign that something is wrong
How to remove pimples from a purge?
There is nothing to do but wait for them to fade on their own. What you can do is protect your skin and let it do what it does best: regenerate and look healthy and beautiful. And also, you can give it a little help by reducing the impact that a purge can have.
How to reduce the intensity of a purge?
If you are about to start using a product that can purge your skin and want to limit the possible results, we recommend slowly introducing the product into your routine. Start with a lower concentration, lower dose, and less-than-normal weekly frequency until your skin begins to get used to the product and its ingredients.
The other recommendation is to help your skin as much as you can. To reduce irritation and promote recovery, the best thing you can do is keep it hydrated. The best way to achieve this is to make sure you always carry a moisturizer or mist with you so that your skin does not become inflamed.
So, you can think of purges as a detox for your skin, which is pulling out all the hidden gunk so you never see it again. Think of it like this: everything has to “get worse” before it gets better.