Is Your Skin Purging or Breaking Out? How to Tell the Difference

can retinol cause acne

When you begin adding fresh products into your routine It’s not always effortless. Sometimes, they make you feel uncomfortable!

There are “good” breakouts and “bad” breakouts.

The better ones are referred to by the term “purging” or an “initial breakout”-It’s well worth the effort through the process because there’s healthier skin. The negative ones are breakouts.

They won’t get better unless you quit using the product that is causing you problems.

But how can you distinguish between the two? Read on to learn more…

  • are the reasons for purging?
  • What can you tell whether you are experiencing skin purging
  • What is the cause of breakouts?
  • How do you know when your skin is flaking
  • If it is the result of purging or a breakout
  • What do you do if you cannot figure out what is occurring!

Must read :- can retinol cause acne

What Causes Purging?

Acids, Vitamin C serums, acidic substances and retinoids all can cause an increase in purging.

Purging is a first acne breakout that could occur when you’re trying an active skincare regimen which can cause your skin cells to change more rapidly.

Items that cause purging are:

  • Hydroxy acids (AHAs BHAs, AHAs, and PHAs) as well as fruit acids
  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C treatments
  • Peels and scrubs for exfoliation
  • Enzyme treatments
  • Cleansing brushes
  • Microdermabrasion instruments

There is also the possibility of the sensation of purging following professional microdermabrasion treatments, laser resurfacing treatments and chemical peels.

Purging occurs because these treatments and products make your skin cells shed more quickly, which helps to release trapped sebum and toxins. This speeds up the rate at which pores that have been blocked (also called microcomedones) appear on the skin and develop into blemishes.

Have you ever thought about the fact that it may take weeks, or even months for clogs to form in your pores to show up as obvious breakouts? !

When the process is speeding up it’s frightening, as you’ll notice many pimples appearing at the same time. It’s actually a beneficial aspect to eliminate. The pimples will have come in the end, and the sebum that was hardened kept settling within your pores, causing them to be blocked and inflamed.

If you’re cleansing, you should get rid of the waste and keep with the treatment because your skin will get better. It’s just a matter of things becoming worse before they can get better. Purge may take as long as 2 months. You should see improvement as early as the six-week mark at the earliest, if not earlier. The other benefit of a cleanse is clearer and healthier skin!

You’re not sure what’s happening to you? Beloware three indications that you may be experiencing the phenomenon of purging.

It Might Be Purging If…

  • It’s a new product which boosts skin cell turnover Any product that speeds up the rate that the skin cells are replaced can cause an expulsion. If you’re unsure if the product you’re using could be the cause, take a look at its list of ingredients. The five first ingredients comprise around 20% of the formulation and are therefore the ones that are most likely to cause you problems. If, for instance, you notice salicylic acid as the third ingredient, it’s likely to conclude that it’s causing you to eliminate… If it’s listed as the 19th ingredient, it’s probably not in sufficient quantities for it to be a significant influence.
  • The purging happens located in the usual “problem areas”: Usually it’s the regions of your face where you’re already susceptible to breakouts. Therefore, for the majority of people, this is in the more oily T-zone, such as your forehead, chin, and the nose. The areas you’re used to pimples, or places where you notice or feel bumps on the skin’s surface.
  • It will be cleared in two months. Purging does not take forever, but it is thankfully not! The process typically takes between about one to two months at maximum. If you’re truly experiencing a purge, skin will begin to turn in the next six weeks, and you should notice fewer and less pimples.

What Causes Breakouts?

Face oils, cosmetic moisturizers, sunscreens, foundations and other moisturizers may all trigger breakouts.

The breakouts may also occur due to a brand new product that’s part of your routine that doesn’t work for your skin.

It is possible that a specific ingredient can block your pores, which can cause acne-like spots.

However, it can also be the result of allergy or irritation.

These ingredients, which are allergenic and irritating, can cause pimples as they cause inflammation that can cause microcomedones to enlarge, which can turn to visible pimples. In addition irritation can weaken the skin barrier and allows germs that cause acne to enter the body.

There are a variety of potential ingredient families that could be problematic, such as:

  • Oils
  • Silicones
  • Surfactants
  • Emulsifiers
  • Emollients
  • Thickeners
  • Fragrances
  • Preservatives
  • Sunscreen filters

You’re unable to figure out if this is happening? Here are four indications you may be suffering from breakouts.

It Might Be a Breakout If…

  • The product isn’t “active”: If the new product you launched has no ingredient that speeds the process of cell turnover, then you’re likely not purging. A few of the types of products that could cause breakouts but aren’t likely to cause purging include: boring moisturizers; hydrating serums essences mists and toners sunblocks; face mists; tinted moisturizers BB or CC creams and foundations. These are, in other words, products designed to moisturize or protect instead of treating a skin problem. If you’re using any of these, it’s likely to contain an ingredient blocking your pores (like silicones or oils) and/or irritating (like fragrances or preservatives).
  • It lasts for longer than two months. With the purge, you’ll be able to notice a reduction in acne in 6-8 weeks. can retinol cause acne If your skin has become more sensitive after using a new product and continues to get worse for more than 2 months, you’re experiencing an acne breakout. Better to quit the product you’re using and try another one!
  • Your skin feels dry, tight and itchy. Dryness, redness and burning, itchy skin can be signs of irritation, or the result of an allergy. It’s common for products that have an acidic pH – think AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C and retinoids to initially cause your skin to appear irritated. However, if you’re not using a product that is active and it’s accompanied by breakouts, it’s a negative indicator and could indicate an allergic reaction.

There are a few scenarios which could be either the other way.

It Could Be Purging OR a Breakout If…

  • You already had products that boost cell turnover in your skin: Perhaps your skincare routine of skin care included some active ingredients such as acids, retinoids and vitamin C. Then you added another, and then you suddenly started to break out. What’s going on? can retinol cause acne It could be that your skin is purging because the product you are using is more powerful than the other actions you do in your routine. It could also be that the new routine could be the trigger that pushed your skin into a state of irritation. Perhaps it’s an ingredient in the product that isn’t a good fit for you. One way you can be sure is to stop all of your activities and then return to the problematic one by paying focus on your skin!
  • The product boosts cell turnover, and it also has ingredients that clog pores: Another issue is the case when you’re using an active skin care product which ALSO has ingredients that could cause pores to become blocked. It might be an acid, or vitamin C, which is high in silicones and oils. If you’re using a product like this and you’re experiencing breakouts it is possible to switch to a different formulation similar to the one you’re using that does not contain the ingredients that cause clogging. The breakouts that occur due to the substitute product will be more likely to be cleared.

What to Do If You Can’t Tell If It’s Purging or a Breakout

Making the switch to less active ingredients like niacinamide can help with breakouts and purging.

Still not sure about what you’re struggling with? Here are some suggestions to think about:

  • Take a breather from your skin for at least a moment, but not necessarily for a long time. can retinol cause acne You can try discontinuing the product in time to soothe any potential irritation. It is possible to reassess your skin after one week. If your skin appears healthier overall, then this isn’t the right solution for you.
  • Consider buffering. can retinol cause acne You could also dilute an active ingredient by applying it following (instead of prior to) moisturizer, mixing it in with moisturizer or by avoiding the normal wait time prior to applying moisturizing. In this way, the impact isn’t as severe.
  • Separate your actives from each other Beware of oversaturating your skin with excessive amounts of actives at one time. It is best to apply the activities at different times of the day.


Determining whether it’s purging or a breakout can take time and self-experimentation.

If you’re experiencing a flare-up of acne after using a new treatment I hope this can help you identify whether it’s a purge or an outbreak.

Often, it can take quite a lot of self-experimentation–like a skincare elimination diet!–to figure out exactly what’s going on.

Personally, I’ve been able to break out several times with different products (especially those that contain certain silicones and oils), )… but I’ve had a purge twice. And I’m glad I was able to do it! Without it, I wouldn’t have seen the smoother, better skin I have due to salicylic acid.

It was a bit of a hassle having to contend with a plethora of breakouts on my chin during the past few weeks. However, I’m glad I persevered, since my skin appears much more hydrated today.

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