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When To Blame Your Products: The Truth About Skin Purging

So, you know the age-old story, right? You get a new product, and you’re like, “This is going to fix everything!” A couple days later, you notice a few more zits than usual, then a few more after that, and then they multiply, and then you stop using the new product, having given up all hope completely. Well, maybe you should rethink that last move. Depending on the ingredients in your new product, you’ll need to get over a hump of less-than-ideal skin before you see the results you want. This is known as skin purging.

Skin purging is caused by exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and AHAs. Basically, your acids and acne-clearing ingredients. Your skin starts to freak a little when one (or more) of these ingredients is newly introduced into your routine. Because your skin isn’t used to the quick cell turnover, you may see blemishes form fairly quickly, but the good news is that the accelerated acne will heal just as fast as it came.

But how can you tell if a product is causing a skin purge or a just a good old-fashioned breakout? Start by looking at the ingredient list. Are one of the exfoliating ingredients in it? If so, then it’s probably a purge. Are you breaking out all over, or just in areas where you applied the product? Specific areas of breakouts point to a purge, but if your new product contains no exfoliant and you’re breaking out in random areas, you’ve got a breakout on your hands. Some common ingredients that might be the culprits of your breakout are mineral oil, comedogenic oils, and silicon. Always be sure to double-check your ingredients!

If you want to minimize the effects of a purge, add in new ingredients slowly. For example, if you decide to incorporate a retinoid serum into your routine, begin by using it once a week and then slowly build up usage. I know we all wanna go ham on our new products (guilty!), but if you prefer a slightly clearer complexion, add them in slowly.

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