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Purging Or Breaking Out? How To Spot The Difference.

Have you recently gotten a facial or started using a new skincare product? You may have experienced a pimple or two pop up immediately after. Now, there are good pimples and bad pimples, the good kind is known as purging, the bad kind is known as breaking out. But how do you tell the difference? Keep reading to find out!

Let's Talk About Skin Purging.

What Is It?

Skin purging refers to your skin's reaction when you introduce a new active ingredient or advanced resurfacing treatment to the skin. These treatments and ingredients help to loosen up underlying congestion and speed up the cell turnover rate.

What Causes Purging?

- Using new products containing AHA or BHA, Vitamin A (retinoids) or Vitamin C

- Receiving professional treatments including hydro/microdermabrasion, laser treatments or chemical peels.

Common Forms Of Purging

Purging results in inflammatory acne, which is a type of acne that appears as a result of an inflammatory response from the body. Inflammatory acne includes:

  • Pustules: small red bumps with white or yellowish centers. They may be tender or sore to the touch.

  • Whiteheads: small, white, raised bumps on the skin

  • Blackheads: small, black bumps that appear on your skin due to clogged hair follicles

  • Cysts: large painful red bumps deep in the skin

When excess oil mixes with dead skin cells inside of a pore, they can create bacteria known as P. acnes. When your body detects this bacteria, it sends white blood cells into the area to attack the foreign substance. This is called inflammation, and this is why pimples look the way they sometimes do—red, swollen, and pus-filled.

How Long Does Purging Last?

Purging can last anywhere from a few weeks to two months BUT you should start seeing an improvement by the four week point, and possibly even sooner. Purging will result in clear skin, you just need to let it run its course.

How Do I Treat Skin Purging?

The best way to treat purging skin is to keep your routine simple by using a gentle cleanser, a hydrating serum and spf, and avoid touching your face! Typically once purging clears up, it should stay away as long as you continue to use the products or receive professional treatments.

Let's Talk About Breaking Out.

What Is It?

Breakouts are blemishes that reoccur on a regular basis. They appear most often where our skin has the most oil glands. During a breakout, the follicle fills with dead skin cells, sebum (oil), and sometimes bacteria. This leads to swelling, redness, and inflammation. Eventually, the pores become clogged and push their contents to the skin’s surface.

What Causes Breakouts?

  • Stress, hormones, improper diet, dehydration, smoking, poor sleep habits

  • Not changing your face mask or pillow cases

  • Using dirty makeup brushes

  • Incorrect use of skincare products/ingredients

    • Oils, silicones, emollients, fragrance or chemical sunscreen filters.

Stress and lack of sleep activate the overproduction of the hormone androgens, which encourages our sebaceous glands to create more oil leading to more inflammation in the body leading painful papules.

Indulging in processed foods and sugar including alcohol,soda, white pasta, bagels, baked goods, dairy and gluten tend to cause blood sugar levels to rise. This results in increased production and secretion of sebum (oil).

Using products or ingredients that don't agree with your skin, can cause clogged pores, leading to blackheads, papules and even pustules.

When our skin is dehydrated, it can increase the production of oil. If our skin has too much oil, it can trigger acne.

It Might Be A Breakout If:

  • You’re breaking out in new areas

  • The product does not contain active ingredients

  • Your skin burns or feels tight, dry or red (you may be having a reaction)

  • A pimple lasts longer than two months.

How Do I Treat Breakouts?

First, finding the root of the issue. Breakouts or acne will persist until you figure out the cause (see what causes breakouts above). Once you know why then you can treat your skin.

Depending on the type of breakouts you're experiencing, using some of our favorite ingredients including salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can help

If you're not sure if your skin is purging or breaking out, give your skin a break! You may be using too many new skincare products at once or a product that is causing a reaction. If you're still unsure, visit a local esthetician or dermatologist guidance.


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