Have you ever tried a new skincare product, only to discover that it makes your skin flare up with pimples? This could be one of two things:

Purging: When your skin is adjusting to the new product, and persevering with the product will eventually make your skin better – in fact, the sudden crop of pimples means that it’s working as intended.

Breakout: When your skin is breaking out because it’s sensitive to something in the product. It could be clogging your pores, or causing an allergy, or just plain old irritation. Continuing with the product will just make the situation worse.

If your skin is purging, you need to keep going.

If your skin is reacting, you need to stop using the product.



Here’s how purging can actually work – if a product speeds up skin turnover (the rate at which skin cells are shed and replaced), then the entire cycle will be accelerated and microcomedone will turn into whiteheads/blackheads/pimples/cysts more quickly, so you’ll suddenly see a rush of blemishes rearing their ugly heads.


Purging should only last for about a month, since that’s the length of time it takes for your skin to completely renew itself. If your skin isn’t getting better after around 6-8 weeks with the new product, ditch it.


On the other hand, a reaction will occur when the product is either causing new clogged pores, or increasing irritation without an improvement in how your skin is functioning because you’re sensitive to it. New clogged pores mean more blemishes overall, while irritation means inflammation, which means a larger proportion of your microcomedone are flaring up.

There’s a small chance that your skin will get used to the product over time, but most of the time you’ll just cause further damage and it time to find a better product.

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