"Am I purging or breaking out?"

We've all been there. You just introduced a new product into your skincare routine and the next day you wake up to - what is that, a pimple?! Not fun. And now you're sitting there wondering, "Am I purging or breaking out?".

What is purging?

Purging is a stage in which pimples and blemishes hidden underneath the skin are brought up to the surface after using a skincare product, like an AHA exfoliator, that is meant to speed up the skin's cellular turnover rate. This is typically recognized as a step that's similar to muscle building as there wouldn't be any gain without any pain. The purging period varies by the individual but can last up to a month. After that, your skin should start clearing up and the active ingredient should help prevent your skin from forming new pimples. 

 What can cause purging? 

  • Vitamin A (tretinoin, retin-a, retinol, retinoid...)
  • Vitamin C
  • AHA, like our Kale-Lalu-yAHA and BHA chemical exfoliants
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Basically, any active ingredients that affect the skin's cellular turnover rate. Often times, your skin would purge after a facial.

How can you determine if your skin is purging or breaking out?

Does the new product contain an active ingredient that increases your skin's turnover rate? Pimples take about a week to form so you don't want to fully blame the product you just used last night, but if you're noticing other forms of irritation, we'd recommend putting it on the back burner for a bit. The causes of a breakout are VERY complex and it's hard to identify if it is due to the product, hormonal changes or your lifestyle choices.

Michelle from LabMuffinBeautyScience is a friend of ours who explains the difference between purging and breaking out pretty well! For more information, check out the video below:

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