Skin Purging

Skin Purging Vs Skin Breakouts: What are the top ways to differentiate them

Skin Purging is the one word that reminds of gunk being extracted away from the pores and is often confused with the breakout. It might be annoying to have this but it's also a good sign to have skin purging. Well, your question might be what is the goal of shedding the dead skin? Well, it's exposing the skin present underneath making your skin look young and clear as well.

But it's not that easy because sometimes it's difficult to differentiate it from breakouts. So, here are some significant ways that might help you in acknowledging whether your skin is purging or you are suffering from a breakout.

In the Article:-

What is Skin Purging?

Skin purging is when after using a certain skin product your skin starts to release dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and bacteria from the skin's surface. This sometimes might also release in breakouts and it is known as purging. Purging is often seen in cases when you use certain creams, especially while using retinol is very common.

What results in Skin Purging?

Purging of the skin is the signal of acceleration in the process of skin exfoliation which sometimes leads to acne. The ingredients that can commonly result in the purging effects are Retinol, AHAs, BHAs, Salicylic acid, Lactic acid, and Vitamin C.

Generally, this process approximately lasts 28 days and promotes the process of skin renewal.

What to do when you experience Skin Purging?

If you are suffering from skin purging then continue applying the product and allow it to adhere to the skin. Except when you start to see some allergic reactions adjust your skin care regimen. According to the studies of the American Academic of Dermatology Association, it is recommended to perform a patch test on your small area before applying them.

If you have sensitive skin then you might experience symptoms like redness, acne, or inflammation with the use of some active ingredients. It is advised to stick to a gentle skincare regime and avoid any kind of skin inflammation. If you are one of those then use of cleanser free from sulfate, gently moisturize, and don’t forget your skin's best friend sunscreen.

But when you start to see some clinical symptoms like skin hives, raised skin areas, redness, itching, etc then it's your time to stop using the products.

How to prevent Skin Purging?

If you want to reduce the side effects of retinol then go for using it two times a week and gradually increase it.

If you are choosing exfoliating acids then start once a week and gradually increase it up to two times a week and avoid over-exfoliating your skin.

If you are a person of chemical peel then use it only once a month and not more than that.

What are the ways to treat Skin Purging?

Skin Purging Treatment

If you are looking for a way to calm the purging then go for skin barrier-friendly ingredients like

  • Ceramides help in building the skin barrier and also hydrating as well as moisturizing the skin.
  • Peptides improve the skin's suppleness while also repairing the skin barrier. Its abundance of anti-inflammatory qualities aids in lowering inflammation and healing skin damage.
  • Aloe vera and this one of the most famous skin-friendly ingredients which help in soothing the skin and reducing any type of skin inflammation.
  • Hyaluronic acid is the second most skin-friendly ingredient after Ceramide which helps in moisturizing the skin.’

How may skin purging be distinguished from acne breakouts?

What Is Purging Skin

Skin Purging
Acne Breakout
The pimples do not leave any marks or blemishes on the skin. It helps in healing the skin to make new skin cells.
They produce pimples and leave a mark on the skin.
Skin purging last for two to three weeks only.
There are no specific times when the breakouts will go away.
Skin purging is seen after the use of new skin products.
While in breakout the acne and breakouts are seen on a particular area of the face.
Skin purging is seen all over the face.
If your skin is showing any of the above signs then you dont have skin purging.
Skin shows signs like flaking, and peeling along with dryness.
The commonly shown signs are nodules and cysts.
The skin feels tender.
While the skin appears to be painful and swollen.


Skin purging is just a temporary reaction of the skin while using new skin products, especially using retinol, AHAs, BHAs, etc resulting in dryness, irritation, and inflammation. It can take 4 to 6 weeks for the purging to clear out and make your skin smooth as well as bright. While for a breakout takes a long time and leaves you with a mark on your face.

However, if your skin purging last longer than 4 to 6 weeks and causes skin problems like hives or extreme redness then always consult your dermatologist. Always perform a patch test before applying skincare ingredients to your skin.


Q. Are skin purging and breakout the same?

Ans. No, Skin purging is when you apply a new product your skin is adjusting to it and peeling off the gunk from your skin which is a good sign.

Q. How does a purge breakout looks like?

Ans. Purging looks like having tiny red bumps on the face along with dryness and flaky skin.

Q. How many days does the skin purging last?

Ans. The duration might differ from one person to the other but it generally takes 4 to 6 weeks for skin purging to last.

Q. Can Skin purging be caused by Vitamin C serum?

Ans. Yes, Vitamin C serum can result in skin purging even the acids or retinol can cause your skin to purge.

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