Young multiracial woman applying foundation on face with sponge while standing in front of mirror trying to hide skin problems
Is Skin Purging A Good Thing?
In the context of skincare, a purge signifies the removal of toxins as a precursor to achieving healthy skin. This can be in the form of acne, dehydrated skin, or blemishes.
In an exclusive chat with Gliz, dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Bielfield said topical products like retinol and retinoids can cause "acne to flare (purge) at the onset of treatment."
Dr. Bielfield explained, "Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A. They decrease the 'stickiness' of the skin cells." Once this happens, the dead skin sheds at a much faster rate.
"Subsequently, the pores are 'cleaned out.' This is what can cause the purging effect," Dr. Bielfield added. While this can lead to breakouts, it's actually a good thing.
Skin purging often appears in the form of blemishes or extreme dryness where the skin peels. If you have a new skincare routine or are using a new product, it can cause purging.
When this happens, your skin cells "are being reprogrammed to form clear skin," Dr. Bielfield explained. "This typically lasts four to six weeks and then resolves."
In addition to retinoids, purges more often result from using products with glycolic acid (an AHA), salicylic acid (a BHA), and vitamin C.
To know whether your skin is purging or breaking out, check for any skin peeling happening at the same time as your breakout. If you see raw, red skin, stop using the product.