Have you ever started a new skincare treatment to help fight acne, only to find your skin suddenly breaks out? It can be very distressing and make you feel disheartened with your new regime.
Before ditching your new skincare products, it is worthwhile taking a moment to identify if your skin is having an adverse reaction to some of the ingredients or if it is temporarily ‘purging’.
‘Purging’ is the term given to breakouts triggered after starting a new skincare treatment containing active ingredients designed to boost skin cell turnover. It is temporary and if you persevere through it, you can achieve great results.
What Causes Your Skin to Purge?
It has to do with your skin renewal cycle.
Pimples and acne can develop when sebaceous glands produce too much oil or sebum. This oversupply mixes with dead skin cells and gets stuck in the pores (called the microcomedone). This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Once this occurs, our immune system activates and can result in skin inflammation. This process can take 4-6 weeks depending on our age.
Particular treatments help to speed up this process and shed our dead skin cells faster. In the short term, this acceleration of cell turn over can trigger more breakouts.
How do I Identify Skin Purging?
If your skin is purging you will see a temporary worsening of your pre-existing skin condition i.e. if you have clogged pores under the skins surface they may turn into acne and if you have small pimples, they may get larger.
It can be challenging to decipher whether your skin is suffering a reaction to a product or if it is indeed purging.
To assess which one it is, a simple first step is to look at the products you are using. If the products contain active ingredients, it is highly likely that your skin is purging.
Some of the common triggers/treatments that can cause your skin to purge are:
- AHAs – alpha hydroxy acids, like lactic acid and glycolic acid
- BHAs – beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid
- Exfoliants (scrubs, brushes, enzyme exfoliants)
- Vitamin C
- Topical treatments such as Benzoyl peroxide
- Laser treatments
- Chemical peels
If you are using a ‘regular’ non-activated product such as a new moisturiser, serum or cleanser it should not cause purging. If such products do trigger new clogged pores, intensify skin irritation or cause a rash, it will be beneficial to understand what ingredients are not agreeing with your skin, which you can do by a system of elimination or seeking help from a professional.
How Long Does a Purge Last?
You need to give active skincare products adequate time to work. For example, using retinoids, the purge may last up to 6-8 weeks, whilst for AHAs and BHAs the purge may only last a few weeks.
It is well known that retinoids, AHAs and BHAs will cause purging for most people but in the long term are incredibly helpful for acne. Therefore, your persistence can really pay off.
If you are not seeing an improvement in your skin after 2-3 months, it could mean the ingredients are not suitable for your skin type or maybe you are experiencing other factors such as hormone changes, stress or diet-related issues. In this case, it may be worth visiting the dermatologist for advice.
Can you Minimise Skin Purging?
When trying a new active skincare product it is a good idea to let your skin adapt gradually.
You can do this by:
- Introducing the products slowly. This may not stop your skin purging but may reduce the intensity.
- Spread out the usage of the products i.e. if you are using a few active products; apply them at different times of the day i.e. morning, noon and evening.
- Trying lower strength options or products designed for sensitive skin such as the AMPERNA® range.
The AMPERNA® range, developed by Kiri Yanchenko was developed to help address the gap in the market for active skin care, gentle enough for sensitive skin. Kiri pioneered for 5 years to develop the AMPERNA® range, working in conjunction with one of Australia’s most experienced skincare chemists and testing with people suffering relevant skin conditions.
The ingredients in AMPERNA® help create the perfect conditions for your skin to shine. They contain only the necessary base ingredients plus skin-changing actives, such as a probiotic complex, glycolic acid and vitamins B and C. All free from nasties, including but not limited to: sulfates, parabens, aluminium, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours and bleaches.
If you have just started using the AMPERNA® range or are considering doing so, you may have questions on how to best introduce the products into your skincare regime. Kiri can help you tailor the products to your individual needs and welcomes any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the AMPERNA® brand go to amperna.com
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. If symptoms persist, we recommend that you see your GP or dermatologist.