How to Tell if Your Skin is Purging or Reacting

Trying a new beauty product is always exciting! However, it can also be anxiety-inducing…will your skin love it or negatively react to it?

Sometimes, you’ll try a new product and experience some negative reactions; this could range from slight irritations to full on breakouts all over. We’ve experienced it all before, too! Did you know that this reaction could actually be a good thing? 

That fresh batch of breakouts could indicate that your recent skincare introduction may become your next holy grail product. But this is NOT always the case, so it’s crucial to know the difference between your skin’s natural detox and an irritated reaction. Here’s the breakdown.

 

What does “purging” mean when it comes to the skin?

A purge is a process by which a new product leads pimples to form at a faster rate. This happens when the pore beneath the surface, known as micromedones, is blocked with bacteria or oil, but makes its way to the surface as a blemish. This movement is the direct result of increased cell turnover, which can be caused by new ingredients in your beauty products.

This is especially prone to happen when you use new “types” of treatments, such as organic or oil-based products. The bigger the difference between your previous products and new products, the larger the chance you’ll experience a skin purge. Not only is your skin getting used to increased cell turnover, but its pH could be temporarily re-balancing (especially if you’re used to using water-based moisturizers or foaming cleansers). New breakouts can be entirely normal; and these will lessen with the continued use of the product as your skin adjusts.

 

How is a purge different from a breakout?

Unlike normal pimples, acne that results from a purge will tend to grow, and heal, faster. This different life cycle indicates that your skin is currently detoxing. Additionally, the breakouts you’ll have are likely to be in areas you normally have clogged pores or blemishes.

If you start to break out or experience inflammation/redness in an area that you’re usually completely clear, this could indicate irritation rather than a purging. Also, if any symptoms (like breakouts or sensitivities) seem to be getting worse over time, this could also be an indicator that it is not the right product for you!

With products that are worth the wait and patience, while you may experience some breakouts, you should notice many positive changes too! This could come in the form of softer or more glowy skin, improved texture and hydration, and less inflammation. Even though you may experience some breakouts, you should at least be seeing positive changes too!

 

What about redness, burning, or tightness after using a new product?

Another common symptom when starting a new product is stinging or burning. If you’re using a new oil and it is stinging, this could be an indication that your skin is either very dry or having a reaction. If you know your skin is well-moisturized and pH-balanced, this could mean that you are having a negative reaction to the product and may not want to continue use.

As for redness, certain products, like facial masks, can cause some redness when you first start using the product. This could mean that it is increasing circulation or deeply cleansing (like our chlorophyll mask!). If you experience redness, wait 30 minutes to see if it persists. If it persists, this could mean that the product may be too strong for your skin.

If the product feels too tight on your skin, that could also mean that your skin is too dry and you may need to up the moisture content in your routine. For our chlorophyll mask, you can easily mix it with a facial oil (instead of water) to add in the moisture and relieve your skin from the tightness!

No skincare product should be painful or uncomfortable! Burning your acne off is not a real or sustainable thing!

 

How long will it take my skin to transition and not break out anymore?

While everyone is different, the transition period can take anywhere between 1-6 weeks. The amount of time for a full renewal of the skin is 4-6 weeks, so it’s good to keep that in the back of your mind as a benchmark. Your transition can depend on a mix of factors like your diet, hormones, previous skincare regimen (and how different it was), amount of sleep, etc.

To reduce the severity of a purge, it’s best to slowly introduce a new product. To do so, start with a lower concentration or smaller amount or use it less often that prescribed. We prefer to introduce new products into our routines at night, too, when you’ll have less environmental/external factors impacting your skin. For more tips on how to best introduce cocokind and facial oils into your routine and avoid breakouts, see our tips for beginners!

 

You’re not alone – this is a common question that arises when people switch to clean, oil-based skincare. We hope this post helps you distinguish between a positive-negative reaction or just a negative-negative reaction! While we think transitioning to oil-based skincare is SO worth any initial breakouts, ultimately, it’s most important to observe and listen to your own skin and body.