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Is my skin breaking out or purging?

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Read the full article on Bustle! 

What exactly does it mean when your skin “purges?” The term refers to your skin reacting to an active ingredient in your skin care products that is increasing the cells turnover rate. These cells begin to shred at a higher rate than normal.  Before new healthy cells emerge the oil, sebum, dead skin cells and dirt need to come to the surface of the skin.

What causes one’s skin to “purge?” Are there specific ingredients or products that could trigger it? This happens with topicals such as glycolic acid, and retinoids such as retinol or tretinoin and chemical peels.

How does a “skin purge” differentiate from a regular breakout, say from hormones? Skin purging is a specific event related usually to a specific treatment or medication whereas acne breakouts are more commonly hormonal ply mediated and do not result after a facial treatment.

How can you differentiate between a purge and a breakout? Are they different, in terms of symptoms, at all? I.e. do they last as long, are they in the same locations on the face? Skin purging usually lasts for a few day or up to a week while true acne persists much longer. 

Do you treat skin purge blemishes the same way you would a regular breakout? Should you treat them or let them run their course? Treat your skin! There is no harm to cleansing the skin gently, apply benzoyl peroxide clindamycin compound to treat the white heads.  Inflammatory acne can also be helped by using Dapsone topically.

Is it possible to prevent skin purging, or is that not recommended? As in, are they a “normal” part of skin care, or are there ways to ease into using certain products/ingredients to prevent such major reactions? If you react to specific acid peels you may want to avoid these active ingredients to prevent the purge.

Do you have any product recommendations for preventing and/or treating skin purging? Sensitive skin patients beware. You may find yourself purging and be unhappy. Oil free gentle cleansers and moisturizers in addition to a low does tretinoin

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.