Is purging of skin a cause for worry?

Skin purging is the appearance of spots due to the high-speed renewal of the skin on the incorporation of a new active ingredient in skincare.
Use of new actives in skincare may lead to skin purging
(Unsplash)
Use of new actives in skincare may lead to skin purging (Unsplash)

Someone who is trying a new skincare product may experience small bumps flaring all over the face. This could be considered purging, or breakout. A newbie might get afraid of the term purge but this is just a matter of a few weeks.

MedBound Times reached out to Dr. Ishwarya Shree, MD, for her insights on skin Purging..

"When one starts to use a new strong “active” ingredient (like retinol or acne treatment) there are possibilities of the skin turning worse before showing better results. The side effects could be redness, swelling, dryness, itchiness and more pimples than earlier. Skin purging indicates the increase in skin cell turnover and renewal for better skin. Purging signals that the product is working effectively. Hence, it is considered normal for initial weeks and gets resolved by itself".
Dr. Ishwarya Shree Nee, MD Dermatology [NTR University]
Use of new actives in skincare may lead to skin purging
(Unsplash)
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What is Skin Purging?

When one starts to use a new strong “active” ingredient ( like retinol or acne treatment) there are possibilities of the skin turning worse before showing better results. The side effects could be redness, swelling, dryness, itchiness and more pimples than earlier. Skin purging indicates an increase in skin cell turnover and renewal for better skin.

Purging signals that the product is working effectively. Hence, it is considered normal for the initial weeks and gets resolved by itself.

Whereas skin breakout is a condition when the skin is reacting due to the sensitivity to the new product. It can be clogging of pores, allergy, or just plain old irritation. Continued use of the product makes the skin worse. It is often confused with skin purging.

Skin purging can be observed in the form of  redness, swelling, dryness, itchiness and more pimples than earlier
(Unsplash)
Skin purging can be observed in the form of redness, swelling, dryness, itchiness and more pimples than earlier (Unsplash)

How long does purging last?

Everyone’s skin is different, so it’s important to take note of all the side effects you’re experiencing to share with your doctor so they can help evaluate whether you’re purging or need to change treatments. As purging fastens the skin’s natural speed of shedding and renewal, it takes one full skin cycle to wrap up the purge. Generally, it takes four to six weeks of commencing a new skincare routine.

To prevent further inflammation, simple skincare regime should be followed which involves a mild cleanser, a soothing moisturiser, and an active product
(Unsplash)
To prevent further inflammation, simple skincare regime should be followed which involves a mild cleanser, a soothing moisturiser, and an active product (Unsplash)

What to do when skin is purging?

One should stick to the skincare regime exactly as prescribed. Try to be gentle with skin care to prevent further inflammation which involves a mild cleanser, a soothing moisturizer, and an active product. Sunscreen should not be skipped during the day. However, it is always advised to record the progress of skin in the form of photos. If purging lasts longer or the skin gets severely damaged, always contact a dermatologist.

Use of new actives in skincare may lead to skin purging
(Unsplash)
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To diminish the chances of skin purging one can start by using products on alternate days. Once the skin adapts to it, then it can be used daily. Another way is to start with low concentration

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