Is Your Skin Purging or Breaking Out?

So, you’ve added a new product to your skincare routine and woke up with a constellation of zits.

Yup, been there.

Before you chuck out your new cream or serum, consider this: your skin might not be breaking out, but purging.

Purging v breakout | No BS skincare

Exfoliating products and products with certain active ingredients like retinoids promote cell turnover while softening the look of lines, enlarged pores, and dark spots—yes, please!

While these ingredients act as a deep cleaner for your pores, the process can cause your skin to purge all the nastiness hiding inside your pores within the first few weeks of use.

With all of the gunk coming to the surface, your skin may look worse than when you started. Don’t freak out, it’s just a phasethink of it as the Marie Kondo method for your face.

Here’s how to tell whether your skin is saying “oh, shit!” or just “thank you, next.”


Epidermal growth factors work by promoting faster cell turnover, which is what creates the pesky side effect of purging.

This means that all of your little pimples and blackheads that would usually take weeks to come to the surface, will show up fast...and all at once!


Pimples that result from purging generally occur in your usual problem areas. A colony of whiteheads or blackheads that spring up all at once and look pretty much identical to each other.


Breakouts, on the other hand, are less organized. If you’re experiencing breakouts on a new part of your face, or have painful, cystic pimples, it’s most likely not a normal purging side effect, but a sign of an internal imbalance or an abnormal reaction to a new product.


Though the purge might feel dark, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You can expect a purge to last around 4-6 weeksso be patient and wait it out.

If you haven’t seen an improvement in 6-8 weeks, chances are your skin is unhappy for another reason.

If you want to decrease your chances of severe purging or want to keep it to a minimum, ease into using a product with an active ingredient.

Start by applying 1-2 times a week so your skin can start to build up a tolerance. Gradually work your way upthis way your skin has some time to adjust.


Purging may sound scary, but no one ever said change was easy. With a little patience, you can reveal your most radiant skin in a few weeks. Out with old pore impurities, in with the glow!


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