What is Skin Purging, Cause, Symptoms, Effect, Treatment, Side Effects

Skin purging (purgation) is the process of removing older layers of the skin in order to replace them with new ones. It is very often observed that, after several weeks or months after application of a new cosmetic product, the initial symptoms such as pimples and blackheads gradually fade away and the face gets smoother. Such an improvement is usually attributed to the product that was applied.

What Is Skin Purging?

Skin purging refers to the initial worsening of acne that many patients experience when they start using topical or oral medications. The medication may be an antibiotic, topical retinoid, or any other type of acne treatment. If the medication is stopped at the time of this initial worsening, it can result in a relapse and perhaps even permanent scarring.

The purging effect, however, can also lead to a worsening of symptoms instead. With a high number of new ingredients making their way onto the market every day, it becomes increasingly difficult for consumers to distinguish between improvements that result from treatment and those which are actually caused by skin purging.

Cause of Skin Purging

As mentioned earlier, skin purging is the process of removing old layers of skin in order to replace them with new ones. It is usually caused by the introduction of new cosmetic products, such as creams, serums, and toners, into the skincare routine. The ingredients in these new products can cause changes in the pH level, sebum secretion, or cell renewal rate of the skin.

Some examples of new ingredients that may cause purging are: glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, and sulfur.

Symptoms of Skin Purging

Skin purging can cause a number of symptoms. However, it is important to note that the skin may not always react to new products with purging; in such cases, any improvements will be attributed to the product itself and there will be no need for further investigation.

The most common symptoms of skin purging include breakouts (in the form of pimples and/or blackheads), enlarged pores, redness, scaling, dry patches. If the symptoms become particularly severe and last for a long period of time, they may also include itchiness and pain.

Effect of Skin Purging

The effect of skin purging is the removal of old layers of skin in order to make room for new ones. Many people who use a new skincare product suddenly start seeing the results, which include: the decrease in the number of blemishes and blackheads, the disappearance of pimples, decrease in pore size, reduction of redness and swelling, elimination of itching sensations on the face, more even complexion, and increased hydration and elasticity of the skin.

Though these changes may seem positive, it is important to recognize that they are actually a result of skin purging rather than from the product itself. The ingredients in new skincare products can cause changes in the pH level, sebum secretion, or cell renewal rate of the skin which, in turn, bring about the effects described above.

In some cases, purging can lead to increased sebum secretion and a worsened complexion with more blemishes and blackheads being visible than before. This is because too high a concentration of certain ingredients may cause pores to clog up again which makes the skin produce an even greater amount of oil and gives rise to more clogged pores.

After several weeks or months, symptoms such as pimples and blackheads gradually fade away and the face gets smoother. There is however a risk that purging can also lead to a worsening of symptoms instead with an increased number of blemishes rather than their disappearance.

Treatment for Skin Purging

The treatment for skin purging is to discontinue the use of a new skincare product if initial symptoms such as pimples and blackheads gradually fade away and the face gets smoother. It may take several weeks or months before these effects manifest, so it is advisable to wait this period before assessing whether a new skincare product is suitable for the skin.

The discontinuation of new products often results in the disappearance of purging symptoms and, as a consequence, the complexion gets smoother and more even without needing any further treatment.

However, it is important to note that if symptoms such as pimples and blackheads reappear again after quitting a skincare product, it is likely that the product was indeed the cause of skin purging. In this case, it may be necessary to search for a new skincare product that will not aggravate the skin.

Side Effects of Skin Purging

Skin purging can cause various side effects. Some of the most common ones are dry patches, redness, scaling, itchiness, and pain.

Also, in some cases, skin purging may lead to worsening symptoms initially rather than improvement.

Other side effects that are related to skin purging are not necessarily caused by purging itself but, rather, by the ingredients in new skincare products. These side effects can include an increase in sebum secretion and a worsened complexion with more blemishes and blackheads being visible than before.

It is important to be aware of these potential side effects before starting any new skincare routine in order to make an informed decision.

If the side effects are particularly severe and last for a long period of time, it is best to discontinue the use of the new product and seek medical attention.

FAQs Skin Purging

Is skin purging a real thing?

Skin purging is a real phenomenon where new skincare products can cause changes in the pH level, sebum secretion, or cell renewal rate of the skin resulting in an improvement in acne symptoms. However, it may also lead to increased sebum secretion and worsened complexion with more blemishes and blackheads.

Is skin purging harmful?

Skin purging can cause various side effects which are often related to the ingredients of new skincare products rather than to the purging process itself. Some of these include redness, scaling, itchiness, pain, and an increase in sebum secretion leading to more noticeable blackheads. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these potential side effects before starting any new skincare routine.

Can skin purging be prevented?

There is no definite way to prevent skin purging from happening. However, one way to minimize its effects is to start using new skincare products slowly by introducing only one at a time and allowing several weeks to pass between each new product.

What is the best way of treating skin purging?

The best way of treating skin purging is to discontinue the use of new skincare products if symptoms such as pimples and blackheads gradually fade away and the face gets smoother. However, it may take several weeks or months before these effects manifest.

Is skin purging linked to purging from drugs?

No, it is not. Skin purging refers to the process where new skincare products cause changes in the pH level, sebum secretion, or cell renewal rate of the skin resulting in an improvement in acne symptoms. On the other hand, drugs may cause side effects such as dry patches, redness, scaling, itchiness, and pain.

What are the main causes of skin purging?

Some of the main causes of skin purging are new skincare products with ingredients that exasperate acne symptoms, increased cell renewal rates due to aging or ultraviolet exposure, changes in the sebum secretion rates, and fluctuations in the pH levels of the skin.

Can skin purging be avoided if a person has acne-prone skin?

It is important to start using new skincare products slowly by introducing only one at a time and allowing several weeks to pass between each new product in order to minimize the effects of skin purging. However, it is not possible to completely avoid skin purging if a person has acne-prone skin.

Final words: Skin Purging

So you have decided to switch up your skincare routine. You go out and purchase all the new products that are recommended to you by your friends, family, or favorite beauty bloggers. But after a few weeks of using these new products, your skin has broken out in a way that it never has before. You may be experiencing purging.

Skin Purging is a real phenomenon where new skincare products can cause changes in the pH level, sebum secretion, or cell renewal rate of the skin resulting in an improvement in acne symptoms. However, it may also lead to increased sebum secretion and worsened complexion with more blemishes and blackheads.

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I am Amelia Varley, a blogger, and beautician. Here you can see my skills which give you small ideas on understanding all the concepts with different themes. I love to write blogs on different topics, like health, beauty, home décor, Automotive, Business, Food, Lifestyle, etc.