Skin Purging: All You Need To Know And How To Manage It

September 20, 2021

Skin Purging: All You Need To Know And How To Manage It


“Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.”

Skin purging cannot be more accurately summed up by this quote from American Author, Becca Fitzpatrick. When introducing a new active ingredient into your skincare routine, the potent compound may trigger a rapid increase in skin cell turnover. Your skin responds with an elevated production of sebum and dead skin cells which can clog pores and lead to the pimple formation. At first glance, skin purging can appear like a breakout but it is not. If you plan on incorporating a new active ingredient into your skincare regime, read this article to find out how you can best navigate a skin purge.


Skin Purging 101

“The term ‘skin purging’ refers to a reaction to an active ingredient that is increasing skin cell turnover rate,” explains Dr Deanne Mraz Robinson, a board-certified Dermatologist and Co-Founder of Modern Dermatology.

The presence of a new active ingredient causes the skin to shed dead skin cells quicker than usual. The build-up of skin cells, sebum and other impurities on the skin can clog pores and trigger the formation of papules, pustules, cysts, whiteheads or blackheads, depending on the individual.

Skincare ingredients that are known to trigger a skin purge include exfoliating acids such as Salicylic Acid and retinoids such as Retinol. Facial sessions that involve chemical peels and laser treatments may cause skin purging as well.


Skin Purging vs Breaking Out

Skin purging can be tricky to differentiate from a breakout as both skin conditions manifest as pimples. Knowing which skin woe you are dealing with will determine your next course of action.

If it is a skin purge you are experiencing, new pimples will form in areas where you typically break out. That is to say, if you usually have acne along your jawline, a skin purge will cause pimples to form in the same area. However, these inflammations tend to disappear faster than regular pimples.

On the other hand, pimples form as a result of a breakout can appear in new areas and typically take at least 8 – 10 days to heal completely. If you had introduced a new skincare product that is not a retinoid, acid, or a peel, chances of you experiencing a breakout instead of a skin purge is high and you should stop using the product as soon as possible.


What Should I Do If My Skin Is Purging?

Once you have established that you are indeed going through a skin purge, be sure to exercise patience! A full skin cycle takes around 28 days, therefore your skin condition should start improving within 4 – 6 weeks of starting a new skincare regimen. If skin inflammation persists beyond that, you may want to reduce the product dosage or application frequency.

Adopt a gentler skincare routine while your skin gets used to the new active ingredient. A cleanser that effectively clears out pores will be your new BFF during this tough period. End your skincare routine with a hydrating moisturizer and sunscreen to protect your complexion against external stressors. Definitely do not pick your pimples as doing so may extend the purge period and can lead to permanent scarring.

If your skin tend to have strong reactions to skincare products, you may want to consider starting with a small dosage before gradually increasing it as time goes by. Start with one application in the first week, followed by two applications in the second week, and so on.


Experiencing skin purging can be tough. Correctly identifying your skin’s reaction as skin purging is the first and most important step in managing your skin’s condition. Do not stop using the new product in the midst of your purge, your skin will get worse before it gets better so hang in there.  Post-purging clear skin is worth the wait!


Have a question on Lumipeau skincare or anything related to acne? Reach out to The Lumipeau Concierge via email at or Whatsapp at 6338 8183 and the team will be glad to assist!


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