Purging: What's the Deal? | Standard Beauty

Purging: What's the Deal? | Standard Beauty

So what's the deal with this thing called "purging"? Sometimes, using a new product or a new mix of products can cause the skin to have a 'negative' reaction... This reaction is referred to as "purging", and, although it's not an ideal situation to find yourself in, we want you to rest assured that it is a common occurrence. Read on to set your mind at ease as you learn more about it.

BIPOC model with clear glow skin

This is how we want our skin to look straight after using a new skincare product, 
but sometimes it looks worse before it looks better...

What Is It? 

Skin purging can be caused by using active ingredients that loosen the gunk in the pores, which increases the skin's cell turnover rate, in turn speeding up the rate at which dead skin cells come to the surface of the skin. This sometimes then results in temporary clogging of the pores, which manifests in pimples... The good news is that eventually the skin adjusts to this new, increased rate of cell turnover, and you begin to see that it was all worth pushing through!

Another interesting fact along these lines is that it’s often not even new pimples that are being formed, but rather dormant pimples that were already waiting to surface from underneath the skin. This then accelerates an unavoidable process that was ultimately going to happen anyway. 

Other common causes of negative skin reactions include: an allergy to a specific ingredient or combination of ingredients in the formula; using the wrong product for your skin type; applying too many products with potent ingredients at the same time (this is where our skincare guide / layering manual comes in handy - included in each package we send out from our warehouse, because  we've got your back 😉); and lastly, just having reactive and overly sensitive skin.

Skin rash on cheek from negative skin reaction

This is how a negative skin reaction might manifest.

Now, babe, do bear in mind that there may still be other factors at play, and what you see may not actually be skin purging. It could be that you happen to start using a new product around the same time that your skin would have been breaking out - for example, around your menstrual cycle, as breakouts are a common symptom during this time.

What's the Difference Between Purging and Breaking Out?

A good place to start when trying to figure out if you're purging or breaking out is by checking whether the product contains active ingredients (i.e. the infamous Retinol purge) - if yes, then it's likely purging; if not, then it's likely a breakout.

If your skin starts purging after your first use of an exfoliant, like an AHA or BHA, or a retinol product, you may be tempted to stop using the product immediately, but we urge you not to. Rather stick it out for a few weeks to get through this phase, as unpleasant as it may be, otherwise you’ll be missing out on all the amazing benefits these formulations can ultimately provide. And because of the science behind purging (remember what we said earlier about dormant pimples lying in wait beneath the surface?), it’s actually a good thing when all of this happens, despite the distress it may cause... So hang in there, babe!