What Is Skin Purging?

Curious about skin purging? This helpful guide tells you everything you need to know about skin purging and what to do when experiencing it.

If you’ve ever experienced a temporary acne or blackhead flare-up after introducing a new skincare product to your routine, you’ve probably experienced skin purging. When certain new skincare ingredients are introduced into your skincare routine, they can increase your skin’s cell turnover and cause temporary clogged pores and oily skin, which can lead to blackheads and breakouts.

Skin purging is most likely to happen when you’re using a product containing retinol or exfoliating acids, as these ingredients are known to increase cell turnover rates. Think of it like a clean-out of all the dirt, dead skin cells and excess sebum in your skin.

While this doesn’t sound like a super pleasant experience, the good news is that skin purging is temporary and often means a clearer complexion is on its way. If you persist with using the new product, new healthy cells will eventually emerge, and your skin will soon reap the benefits of this new fabulous formula.

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What Does Skin Purging Look Like?

When skin purging takes place, your skin may become dry or peeling and new whiteheads, pimples, cysts and blackheads may appear. This can happen during the first few weeks of using a new skincare product or ingredient, and usually lasts between four and six weeks. Once your cells have completed their turnover, FRESHER and HEALTHIER-LOOKING skin is on its way.

Skin Purging vs Breakouts

At first, you may think that skin purging is a breakout. But actually, there’s a big difference. Skin purging can last up to four to six weeks as a result of introducing a new high-performance skincare ingredient like retinol or exfoliating acids like AHAs and BHAs. But a true acne breakout will persist for much longer.

Another good way to identify what kind of spots you're experiencing is to pay attention to where on your face they are. Skin purging spots almost always occur where you regularly get spots, whereas breakouts occur in places you normally don't.

When skin purging takes place, be sure to keep using the product and wait it out. It won’t be long until you start seeing MAGICAL results and a GLOWY complexion!

What to do when Skin is Purging

If your skin is purging after introducing a new skincare product, it can be tempting to stop using it. But do persist! When you continue to use the product, your skin will be able to complete its cell turnover and you will soon see all the benefits!

But waiting for the effects of skin purging to stop can be frustrating. Here are Charlotte’s MAGIC tips and tricks to mitigate the consequences of skin purging...

  1. A collection of skincare items that include face creams in glass jars, facial cleansers, facial serums in glass jars, and face creams in bottles with pump dispensers.

    MAGIC TIP 1: Introduce New Products One at a Time

    Steer clear of introducing multiple new skincare products into your routine at once. Begin by introducing one at a time and wait 45 to 60 days before introducing others. That way, you’ll be able to get a good feeling about what’s working for your skin and you’ll be able to better determine whether your skin is indeed experiencing a purge.

  2. A thick and luscious dark champagne-coloured face cream in an open glass jar with a black and gold coloured lid next to it.

    MAGIC TIP 2: Introduce New Products Slowly

    If you plan to start using new products, do so slowly. Start with using the product every third night for a month and then slowly build up to using it every other night. Once your skin can tolerate the product, begin to use it nightly.

  3. A luminous, ivory-coloured facial serum in a glass bottle with a white and gold-coloured dropper lid,

    MAGIC TIP 3: Introduce Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

    Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir is a gentle and hydrating face serum that contains polyglutamic acid, a supercharged skincare ingredient that’s over 4x more hydrating than hyaluronic acid to help your skin retain its moisture.

    This face serum also contrains niacinamide, as it helps to reinforce the skin barrier and maintain oil production, which can help contribute to clearer-looking skin.

    When used every day as part of your regular skincare ritual, it can help to reinforce your skin’s natural barrier without disrupting its microbiome, which can help to mitigate the effects of skin purging.

    Shop Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

Now that you know the difference between a skin purge and breakout and you’ve discovered Charlotte’s MAGIC tips and tricks to help mitigate the effects of skin purging, FRESH, SMOOTH and HEALTHY-LOOKING skin is coming your way. Don’t forget to read Charlotte’s skincare guides including how to get smooth skin for a RADIANT complexion from morning through to night.

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Author Details

Charlotte Tilbury

Founder, President, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

With over 30 years experience, Charlotte Tilbury MBE is the world's number 1 makeup artist and British beauty entrepreneur. Charlotte established Charlotte Tilbury Beauty in 2013, which is now a record-breaking beauty brand that has won over 400 awards.